If I were to mention the name Eames, those of you with even the slightest knowledge of design would probably think 'chair'. The husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were designers who made a huge impact in the fields of modern architecture and furniture in the 1950's and 60's. This is a picture of their home in Los Angeles (which they designed). This pair didn't just have style, they pioneered it.
Probably most famous for their contribution to the evolution of the plywood chair, Eames also designed toys. The duo featured toys in many of their films, attracted by the concept of objects designed purely for pleasure, but which held the possibility of opening doors to further discovery, such as movement.
Surely their most fantastical and whimsical design is the 1957 Do-Nothing Machine, a toy which, as the name suggests, is designed to do absolutely nothing at all, and yet was to prove hugely important in the development of solar power.
The Do-Nothing Machine, as well as being a total joy to watch, was one of the first devices to convert solar energy to electricity and drew attention to an untapped, cheap and renewable source of energy - the sun. It also explored new uses for that 1950's wonder material - aluminum. In 1958 Life Magazine described the machine as a “forerunner of future solar-power machine” and was subsequently touted by the Aluminum Company of America as “an enchanting harbinger of more useful sun machines for the future.”
It was the future, disguised as a toy. I think it's pretty spellbinding.