Friday, July 17, 2009

Design Icon of the Week: Eileen Gray

Above: Rue de Lota apartment designed by Eileen Gray.
The tubular shaped Bibendum chair is shown, one of her most recognizable designs.

Eileen Gray has always been a favorite of mine. Maybe it's the fact that she was a woman in a male dominated field, or maybe because flexibility and function were at the forefront of her furniture designs. Here is an excerpt from the Design Museum about Gray:

Neglected for most of her career, EILEEN GRAY (1878-1976) is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century and the most influential woman in those fields. Her work inspired both modernism and Art Deco.

In the August 1917 issue of British Vogue magazine a writer described the work of Miss Gray, a lacquer artist who had fled her home in Paris to seek refuge in London during World War I. “Influenced by the modernists is Miss Gray’s art, so they say,” it began. “But is it not rather that she stands alone, unique, the champion of a singularly free method of expression.”

Her design style was as distinctive as her way of working, and Gray developed an opulent, luxuriant take on the geometric forms and industrially produced materials used by the International Style designers, such as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Mies Van Der Rohe, who shared many of her ideals.

Her voluptuous leather and tubular steel Bibendum Chair and clinically chic E-1027 glass and tubular steel table are now as familiar as icons of the International Style as Le Corbusier and Perriand’s classic Grand Confort club chairs, yet for most of her career she was relegated to obscurity by the same proud singularity that makes her work so prized today.

Above: The adjustable E-1027 table, a modern classic. Reproductions now available at DWR.

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1 comment:

Norine said...

I think I saw someone use that room as an inspiration room -- maybe it was in Domino? Great to have more details on this person.