Extremely private and unprepossessing, Irish-born designer Eileen Gray (1878–1976) has remained an elusive subject despite her lasting influence. Known primarily for her highly original furniture and interior design, Gray realized nine buildings in her lifetime and recorded more than forty-five architectural projects in her archive, although until recently several of her built projects were attributed solely to her collaborator, Romanian architect Jean Badovici. After briefly studying art in London and Paris, Gray settled in Paris in 1907 and began designing sumptuous lacquer furniture, wool carpets, and draperies that reflected the sensual luxury of traditional French decorative arts. Beginning in the mid-1920s, and influenced by the Modern Movement, she turned to architecture. Her most renowned project, the villa E.1027 on the coast of southern France, interprets Corbusian spatial principles and forms and has become an important example of Modernist architecture. This book is the first in-depth study of Gray’s entire career, providing a generously illustrated analysis of her early designs as well as her work as an architect beginning in 1926. It draws on a wealth of archival material, plans, drawings and photographs, including many of Gray’s own, to place Gray in the context of contemporary movements in design and architecture as well as twentieth-century social and cultural history.
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