Day 123/365 of Steel – Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray (born 9 August 1878 – died 31 October 1976) was an Irish architect and furniture designer who became a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. Her most famous work is the house known as E-1027 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. A contemporary of Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer and J.J.P. Oud, Gray was a pioneer of tubular steel and glass furniture and her architecture projects, including two houses in the Alpes Maritimes in southeast France, are now considered among the most outstanding examples of modernism from the interwar period.

Interior design
In 1917, Gray was hired to redesigning the Rue de Lota apartment of society hostess Juliette Lévy. The furniture included some of Gray’s best known designs – the Bibendum Chair and the Pirogue Day Bed. The Bibendum chair was a take on the Michelin Man with tire like shapes sitting on a chromed steel frame.

The critical and financial success of the project prompted Gray to open her own shop in 1922. Early on Gray used luxurious materials like exotic woods, ivory and furs. In the mid-1920s, her pieces became simpler and more industrial. This reflects her growing interest in the work of Le Corbusier and other Modernists, who valued utility and mathematical principles over ornamentation.

E-1027 house by Eileen Gray

Eileen Grey's E-1027 Villa
Fig 2: Eileen Grey’s E-1027 Villa
© Manuel Bougot

In 1926, she started work on a new holiday home near Monaco to share with Romanian architect Badovici. The house was given the enigmatic name of E-1027. It was code for the lovers’ names; the E standing for Eileen, the 10 for J, meaning Jean, the 2 for B standing for Badovici and the 7 for G standing for Gray. E-1027 is described as a modernistic masterpiece. By this point, Gray was fascinated by lightweight, functional, multi-purpose furniture which she called “camping style”. 

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

You May Also Like

Day 19/365 of Steel – The Gherkin

On the 28th of April 2004, The Gherkin was officially inaugurated. Norman Foster (architect) and Ove Arup (engineering) created a true masterpiece in skyscraper engineering. The Gherkin is an example…
Read More

Day 2/365 of Steel – Roy Hofheinz

Roy Hofheinz was born on the 10th of april 1912. As co-owner of HSA (Houston Sports Association) he was the driving force behind the construction of the famous Astrodome. The…
Read More

Day 29/365 of Steel – Menashe Kadishman

Menashe Kadishman (21/8/1932 – 8/5/2015) I discovered Kadishman’s work during our visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.The Memory Void, one of the symbolic spaces on the ground level of…
Read More