Eileen Gray (1878-1976) and contemporary furniture design

Eileen Gray (1878-1976) and contemporary furniture design



Eileen Gray is one of the most influential figures in the history of the decorative arts. She is an emblematic architect of modernism, interior designer, designer and creator of original works.
A look back at an iconic work from the collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

"What is needed is to give the object the form that best suits the spontaneous gesture or instinctive reflex to which it corresponds by its destination". It is precisely this idea that we find in the Transat armchair designed by the artist in 1924. The geometric structure in varnished sycamore wood and its suspended seat in supple leather are a reference to the modernity of the transatlantic liner. The whole piece is linked by the headrest which tilts to accompany the movement of the head and the needs of the body.
The manufacture of the armchair began in the 1920s. It is one of the few pieces by Eileen Gray to be mass-produced by hand. There are twelve variations of the original version of the object that combine various materials (blond sycamore and black leather, black lacquered wood and celadon green coated fabric or black lacquered wood and natural leather). One of them was chosen by the architect Eckhart Muthesius for the room in the residence of the Maharajah of Indore. This armchair is also present in the living room of the villa E 1027 of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.
The Villa E 1027 or Villa Eileen Gray was built between 1926 and 1929 by Eileen Gray, assisted by her former companion and architect Jean Badovici. Considered as a place of extreme beauty and elegant modernism, this residence was notably presented in 1929 in the first issue of the avant-garde magazine "l'Architecture vivante".

Fallen into oblivion, Eileen Gray was rediscovered at the beginning of the 1970s and her pieces of furniture with lacquered finishes have today become a must in the world of design and Art Deco.
The MAD (Museum of Decorative Arts) also welcomed a dressing table designed for her Villa E 1027 in the south of France into its collections last December.

By Noémie Dumanois

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