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Eileen Gray

Designer's Work

2 Design Studio
Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni
Alberto Meda
Aldo Cibic
Andries Norgaard
Andries Van Onck
Anna Castelli Ferrieri
Antonio Citterio
Baldanzi and Novelli
Bertero, Panto and Marzoli
Bianchi and Fauciglietti
Bob Anderson
Bruno Rainaldi
Ca'nova Design
Carlo Columbo
Casamania by Frezza
Catherine Beyens
Charles Eames
CRS Lema
Delineo Design
Design Group Italia
Dudley Edwards
E. Arosio
Eero Aarnio
Enzo Berti
Erik Bagger
Eileen Gray
Emaf Progetti
Eoro Koivisto
Fabio Bortolani
Ferruccio Laviani
Flemming Bo Hanson
Gabriele Pezzini
Gastone Rinaldi
Gino Colautti
Gruppo Grafite
Harry Bertoia
Isamu Noguchi
J. M. Ferrero
Jane Dillon
Janne Kyttanen
Jasper Morrison
Jean Nouvel
Jiri Evenhuis
Joe Colombo
Johan Verde
John Ash
Jon Russell
Jerszy Seymour
Karim Rashid
Kay Bojesen
Kim Almsig
Le Corbusier
Lievore Asociados
Lievore, Altherr and Molina
Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
Ludovica and Roberto Palomba
Luigi Recalcati
M. Manzoni and R.Tapinassi
Madeleine Edwards
Marc Newson
Marcel Breuer
Marcel Wanders
Maria Bernsten
Mauro Lipparini
Michael Young
minottiitalia in-house
Nella Recalcati
Olav Eldoy
Ole Peter Wullum
Oliver Low
P.G. Castiglioni
Paolo Cattelan
Paolo Lazzarini
Paolo Rizzatto
Per Oie
Philippe Starck
Piero Lissoni
Pietro Arosio
Raul Barbieri
Ray Eames
Roberto Barbieri
Rodolfo Dordoni
Ron Arad
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
Sam and Jude
Scan Globe
Sebastian Wrong
Silver Studio
Stefano Giovannoni
Studio Futura
Studio Kronos
Studio MB
Sven Ivar Dysthe
Terje Ekstrom
Tim Power
Timorous Beasties
Toan Nguyen
Todd Bracher
Tom Grieves
Tom Kuhne
Toshiyuki Kita
Toshiyuki Yoshino
Valerio Bottin
Veronique Watticant
Verner Panton
Vico Magistretti
Werner Aisslinger

Architect and designer of furniture and ornamental objects, Eileen Gray (1878-1976) boasts a body of diverse pieces inspired by an international assortment of traditional craft processes. Although her work emerged from an appreciation for French decorative arts, after studying Le Corbusier and the artists exhibiting in early 1900s Paris she developed a unique modern aesthetic with no apparent roots in any specific movements. A superior craftsmanship and this chameleon-like style have established her as one of the classic modern designers. Gray grew up in Ireland and moved to London in 1898 to attend the Slade School of Fine Arts. After graduating, she moved to Paris and soon became apprenticed to Seizo Sugawara, a Japanese master of the art of lacquer. She learned the technique from him and spent several years meticulously studying the process and hand making lacquered furniture, folding screens and bowls in order to hone her skill. With her work in lacquer, she became interested in manipulating the dimensional aspects of a single surface, as lacquering involves blending many layers of color together for the desired tonal interplay. Gray had her first exhibit in 1913 at the Société des Artistes Décorateurs and, as a result, received a commission to design an interior for a Parisian collector named Jacques Doucet. Out of this job came a number of other commissions to do interior design, launching her professional life. The interiors featured remarkable flourishes like exotic animal prints and eggs, and visual icons inspired by mythology and African art. She also designed a number of rugs after a trip to Morocco during which she learned to weave and dye wool in natural colors. A number of experimental one-off pieces came out of this period, some of which were later reproduced. A 1915 table, the "Lotus," is an obvious extension of Sugawara's eastern influence, and has a decorative pendant at each corner. Her 1919 "Pirogue" daybed, a dramatic canoe shape supported on short legs, became an enduring symbol for her early style. Another daybed, from 1920, was executed in sumptuous lacquered wood and had deep blue, shiny upholstery. In 1922 Gray opened a store in Paris to sell some of her work. During the late 1920s and early 1930s Gray designed some of her best-known furniture. A bedside table from 1926 had a circular top supported on a stand by a u-shaped base, a form that she also used for the "Bibendum" chair whose backrest was made from two stuffed u-shaped pieces. Her minimalist standing lamp from the 1930's had a column of tubular steel alongside a long tube light. The "Transat" chair had an upholstered seat with an adjustable headrest suspended within an angular wooden frame and was probably inspired by the form of Marcel Breuer's "Wassily" chair from the same period. In the 1930s she created the unusual folding "S" chair, a simple upholstered seat between a dramatically curved metal frame. Gray also began focusing on architecture, designing several boxy, modern houses for herself in Paris and near St. Tropez. Her collaboration with Jean Badovici, editor of the journal L'Architecture Vivant, led to a published dialogue between themselves, one of her only forays into architectural writing and theory. The house they designed, E1027, was his private residence, and is probably the best-documented example of her work.

The Designs of Eileen Gray


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