|Friends of E.1027|
|Eileen Gray (1878-1976)
Eileen Gray was born into an aristocratic family in Ireland in 1878. Interested in art and wishing to live beyond the boundaries of conventional expectations, Eileen left home for Paris in 1902. She had already attended art school in England, and in Paris she continued her education, developing her talents as a painter and ultimately as a great designer. Gray was first to become know 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 non-conformist chair, the Lota sofa, and the Bibendum - secured Eileen Gray's place as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century.
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 Rumanian 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 was to dramatically affect the course her artistic practice was to take, for it was he who suggested to Gray that she try her hand at architecture, and it was for him that she built her first house and one of her most enduring achievements, the Villa E.1027.
Friends of E.1027