Eames living room moved for LACMA's California design show
A full-scale replica of the Eames House living room is a key component of the exhibition “Living in a Modern Way: California Design 1930-1965,” opening Oct. 1 at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Just how did the museum pull it off? Conservators descended upon the Eames House last month, cataloging the living room's contents — all 1,864 items — and then transported them across town for the show.
With its 17-foot-high ceiling, panels of glass opening to the grove of eucalyptus outside, and a vast range of objects collected over a lifetime, the Eames House living room is where two of the most influential designers of the 20th century spent hours talking, entertaining friends and playing with collections that informed their work. After the Eameses died (Charles in 1978 and Ray 10 years later), magazines of the day were left out for reading, fresh flowers were still changed out -- the entire scene kept tidy by a caretaker whom the Eameses hired more than three decades ago.
The ambitious effort to transport this world to the museum has been epic in scope: To ensure nothing in the house was damaged by insects, the museum placed all books, magazines, rugs, blankets -- anything made of organic materials, about 1,500 objects in all -- in a freezer truck for five days.
Almost four weeks after LACMA art handlers first arrived in the Palisades to pack up the living room, the museum was still meticulously installing the Eames collections in the Resnick Pavilion for "Living in a Modern Way." Times photographer Bryan Chan documented the move, consolidating hour upon hour of careful packing and unpacking into the time-lapse footage above.