Eileen Gray

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Irish-born designer and architect Eileen Gray (née Kathleen Eileen Moray) (1878-1976) settled in Paris in 1902 and became a leading figure in the French decorative arts of the 1910s and 1920s, creating luxurious lacquer furniture and carpets and opening a retail shop on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré. She went on to create highly innovative furniture and architecture that combine the pure, minimal lines of Modern Movement aesthetics with a sense of comfort, practicality, and wit. Her work influenced a number of renowned designers of the period, including Pierre Chareau, Charlotte Perriand, and Robert Mallet-Stevens. Gray's career is pradigmatic of the major shifts in aesthetic taste and theoretical concerns that rocked the design world after World War I. Elusive and extremely private, Gray realized nine buildings in her lifetime and recorded over forty-five architectural projects in her archive, though she once denied ever having had clients. Her best-known work, a villa named E1027, on the sea in Roquebrune-Cap Martin in France, interprets the spatial principles and forms of Le Corbusier and has become an important example of modernist architecture. This volume provides an in-depth portrait of Gray as a significant contributor to the Modern Movement, placing Gray's work in the context of contemporary movements in design and architecture as well as twentieth-century social and cultural history. Here for the first time, Gray is credited as the co-architect, of four houses that until recently had been attributed solely to her collaborator, Romanian architect Jean Badovici. Author Caroline Constant examines the motivations and influences behind Gray's œuvre and provides crucial reference information, including a chronology, a complete list of her realized and unrealized projects, and new translations of her important writings.

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An Elusive Subject
From Decor to Architecture
The Art of Dialogue

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About the author (2000)

Caroline Constant is Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan.

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