Secret Sources: Llisa Demetrios


While Llisa Demetrios isn’t a household name—yet—chances are good that you’ve heard of her grandparents, Charles and Ray Eames. This third-generation artist creates bronze outdoor sculptures that are at once muscular and elegant. As a Bay Area-based archivist for the Eames Office, her job description is to keep her family heritage alive, which means preaching the gospel about authentic pieces. “Reproductions try to capture the look of, say, an Eames chair,” she says. “But upon closer inspection you’ll see that there is no comparison between the original and the replica.” According to Demetrios, a vintage Eames chair is more than 25 years old and going strong with all of its original parts.

Demetrios will be speaking about her grandparents’ legacy tomorrow, Aug 22, at San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design. Expect personal stories, as only a family insider could divulge. Here, Demetrios reveals a no-frills list of the best places to purchase, examine or learn about authentic Eames furniture (besides the MCD, of course). Take heed: if you’re contemplating a reproduction, let Charles Eames be your conscience. “The details are not the details. They make the product,” he once said.  “It will, in the end, be these details that give the product its life.”

Northern California:

1) Steve Cabella has loaned several Eames pieces to a furniture exhibit at SFO’s International Terminal, and to the Schulz Museum’s Midcentury Modern show in Santa Rosa.

2) In Berkeley, there is a very serious Eames enthusiast at Just in Modern.

Southern California:

1) In Los Angeles, Joel Chen who has been in business for 40 years has exceptional pieces in his Eames collection. Dan Ostroff has worked with Joel Chen as the collection has continued to grow.

2) Linda Gershon of Skank World in LA has a large selection of vintage Eames furniture but also authentic, vintage mid-century upholstery fabric.  She has been in business for 30 years.

3) Gerard O’Brien in LA works with private collectors, museums and art galleries.


Lounge Chair: 1950-1953. Design by Ray and Charles Eames. Brown and white calfskin over molded plywood with chrome legs. Dining Chair: circa 1947. Design by Ray and Charles Eames. Molded plywood, ash veneer. Photo by Mia Nakano. Courtesy of Museum of Craft and Design.

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