on November 21, 2011
Daniel Ostroff has been diligently researching and documenting, in great detail, the rich design contributions of Charles and Ray Eames.
His new book is an essential look at one specific family and the intimate effect of the Eames furniture on their living environment over many years. It is particularly valuable in that it gives the reader an idea of how the Eames' furniture was originally intended, not as products for the Modernist elite but as affordable, functional objects that contribute to a higher quality of life. A brief but most comprehensive and valuable read which adds greatly to the emerging and important Eames lore. We owe a debt of gratitude to Daniel Ostroff for this new contribution to the history of design in America.
R, Roger Remington
Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design
Rochester Institute of Technology
on May 9, 2012
Ostroff and his team have created a book as unpretentiously elegant and utilitarian as an Eames design. The Valastros' childhood recollection of their parents' involvement with the Eames aesthetic in a representative American family of the Fifties and Sixties ('representative' in the Emersonian sense) lets us see Eames furnishings in their natural environment, a household rather than a museum/exhibition or art house auction setting where most of us have discovered them. The book's every feature displays a deep respect that's as intent on avoiding the fetishization of the Eameses work as it is in celebrating it. Nice work, all.
on December 9, 2015
As a furniture dealer one of my favorite parts of the job is talking with the original owners of very old pieces of furniture. I love furniture that is lived in and hearing the stories about how people used it, why they bought it, where they took it with them. This book is nothing short of GOLD. Daniel Ostroff asks thoughtful questions of two sons, whose parents bought myriad early Eames designs, and their conversation is fascinating. While not the largest of my Eames books this one speaks directly to me and will always be prominently displayed on my bookshelf!
on February 14, 2012
Movie producer and Eames scholar Daniel Ostroff has authored a lovely gem of a book about one mid-Century family's collection of Eames furniture. The book is of obvious interest to design and furniture geeks, bit it is also of more broad interest to anyone interested in how Americans lived mid-Century.
Gladys Valastro, who went on to become an anti-TV mom, got married on Valentine's Day 1954 and she and her new husband Sal lived in a one and a half room apartment in Brooklyn. The Valastro's didn't have a lot of money, but they were intoxicated by good design and spent their wedding money buying Eames' pieces. The furniture then followed them and their two small boys around the country as they moved for Sal's jobs. Growing up in the '60's and '70's, the Valastro boys gradually learned to appreciate the unusual furniture in their home, which was quite different than the colonial furniture that they saw when they went to visit the homes of their playmates.
Baby boomers will find plenty in this book to be nostalgic about -- a time before everything for the home was manufactured cheaply disposable and available at your nearest superstore, only to be replaced in a year or two. Those of us suburban baby boomers who grew up surrounded by Sears' furniture, not Eames, will enjoy this book as well -- this baby boomer still remembers her eyes popping wide open as a teenager when she saw her first modern furniture pieces and realized there was a whole wide world out there beyond the overstuffed chairs and fake French provincial that filled the track houses in her suburban neighborhood.
Buy the book if you love Eames furniture. Buy the book even if you don't love Eames furniture and you just want to read an engaging story about one mid-Century couple who, without a lot of money, had an eye for design and were able to pass that on as a legacy to their sons.