Come on Eileen

Friday, 17 September 2010

We thought we'd do a piece on Eileen Gray because, well, she's quite something.  Gray is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century and the most influential woman in these fields.  At a time when other leading designers were almost all male and mostly members of one movement or another she remained stalwartly independent.

Here are some of our favourite pieces by the late, great, Ms Gray.

Around 1925, Gray turned her attention to Modernism and the so-called Transat Chair (1925-1929) shows her continuing interest in beautifully finished materials but the geometry of its design indicates her new direction.


Gray's Day Bed (1925) is directly attributed to the work she accomplished while commissioned by Madame Mathieu-Levy for her Parisian apartment in Rue de Lota.  It was regarded as one of the most sensational examples of French interior architecture of the 1920's.

Gray commented quite pragmatically on the Non-conformist Chair (1926) describing her work in typical understatement: "An armrest was omitted in order to leave the body more freedom in movement and to allow it to bend forward or to turn to the other side unrestricted".

Gray's voluptuous leather and tubular steel Bibendum Chair (1929) was inspired at the time by the tubular steel experiments of Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus and is now a familiar icon.


Designed in 1932, the Roquebrune Chair was named by Gray after the house in Roquebrune for which it was originally created.

Conceived as a piece for drawing rooms, Gray found the Bonaparte Chair (1935) so pleasant that she used it for decades as her desk chair in her Paris home at Rue Bonaparte.

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