Eileen Gray During the Modernism Movement

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Well known designer and architect Eileen Gray's nonconformist and brilliant mind led her to a uniquely creative life at the turn of the century in Paris. Born to an aristocratic family in Ireland, she first studied at the Slade School for Fine Arts in London and then settled in Paris in 1907 where she developed her talents as a painter and ultimately as a great designer. Gray was first to become known for the lacquer technique she developed, a technique that combined the Asian lacquer tradition and its motifs with a contemporary modernist aesthetic. By 1912-1913 she was already becoming a name, and her luxurious screens, tables, and door panels sold well and were exhibited. Throughout this time she was also designing striking rugs decorated with geometric shapes and patterns. Like her early lacquer work, these rugs, and later her famous chairs - particularly the Transat chair, the Lota sofa, and the Bibendum - secured Eileen Gray's place as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century (www.e1027.com).

In 1922 Gray opened her own shop, Jean Désert, where she exhibited her furniture and designs as well as those of her contemporaries. At around the same time she met Jean Badovici, a Romanian architect and editor of the influential journal L'Architecture Vivante, with whom she formed a very close personal and professional relationship. Her friendship with Badovici dramatically affected the course her artistic practice, as it was he who suggested to Gray that she try her hand at architecture. It was also for him that she built her first house and one of her most enduring achievements, the villa E.1027.

E.1027 was built by Gray between 1926 and 1929 as a summer vacation residence for her and Badovici. The name of the house was a code for their intertwined initials: E stands for Eileen, and 10 for J, the10th letter of the alphabet and first initial of Badovici's name. Following this logic, 2 stands for B, and 7 for G. Though the...
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