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Eileen Gray, Furniture Designer and Architect

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The Nonconformist Chair by Eileen Gray

The Nonconformist Chair by Eileen Gray

Photo courtesy of ModernClassics.com

Born:

August 9, 1878 in Ireland

Full Name:

Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray

Died:

October 31, 1976

Education:

  • Painting classes at the Slade School of Fine Art
  • Académie Julian
  • Académie Colarossi

Furniture Design by Eileen Gray:

Eileen Gray began her career as a lacquer artist. She is best known for her furniture designs.

Houses by Eileen Gray:

In the early 1920s, architect Jean Badovici encouraged Eileen Gray to begin designing small houses.
  • 1927: Collaborated with Romanian architect Jean Badovici on Maison en bord de mer E-1027, Roquebrune Cap Martin, on the Mediterranean Sea in southern France. Modernist architect Le Corbusier infamously painted the interior wall murals, without Gray's permission.
  • 1932: Tempe à Pailla
  • 1954: Lou Pérou, near Saint-Tropez

About Eileen Gray:

Eileen Gray's contributions were overlooked for many years, but she is now considered one of the most influential designers of modern times. Working with geometric forms, Eileen Gray created plush furniture designs in steel and leather. Many Art Deco and Bauhaus architects and designers found inspiration in Eileen Gray's unique style.

Bloggers have written extensively about Eileen Gray's influence. Canadian designer Lindsay Brown's blog Eileen Gray’s E-1027 house is an astute review with photographs of Gray's maison en bord de mer. Brown suggests that "Corbusier had something to do with Gray's obscurity."

Learn More:

  • Eileen Gray: Her Life and Work by Peter Adam, 2009
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  • Eileen Gray by Caroline Constant, Phaidon Press
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  • Eileen Gray, Freed From Seclusion by Alice Rawsthorn, The New York Times, February 24, 2013
  • Eileen Gray and the Design of Sapphic Modernity: Staying In by Jasmine Rault, 2011
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  • Eileen Gray: Objects and Furniture Design, By Architects Series, 2013
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  • Friends of E. 1027
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