Design C & A

Since first being introduced to Design Q & A—a short interview of industrial designer Charles Eames—I have wondered about how other designers may have responded to those same questions.

Carter answers questions meant for Charles Eames

Charles Eames, best known for his architecture and furniture, explored film extensively with wife Ray. Design Q&A consists of 29 clever and concise statements about design, part of Eames’ contribution to the “What is Design” exhibition at the Louvre in Paris. Madame L’Amic of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs interviewed the designer for the piece.

The five-minute film is not available online, alas, and even the transcription of the interview can be difficult to find. It remains part of a multi-volume collection of short films by Charles and Ray Eames that include a personal favorite, Powers of Ten.

Carter did two takes answering these same 29 questions. In the first, I read the questions verbatim, getting a string of similar responses (“Yes, sometimes.”). In the second take, I paraphrased the intended meaning of the question into more accessible terms, prompting Carter not only to answer but to explain why he answered as he did. The resulting video, edited for content, more than doubled the length of the original film and had to be further trimmed to get under the YouTube limit of 10 minutes.

To prepare for her part, Amy did some research to practice her French accent, ultimately channeling Inspector Clouseau and the visiting dignitaries in The American President. Il était parfait.

My favorite response was to the question, “Is there a design ethic?” Carter replied:

“One code that they must follow is that they can’t go beyond needed.”