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July 2016
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Eileen Gray's house

E.1027. une halte E.1027 la Maison en Bord de Mer d’ EILEEN GRAY juillet 2016 PLUMEVOYAGE @plumevoyagemagazine © SPIEKERMEIER

Could modernity baptize a house “The Little nest ” or “The dream of my life”? Not really, especially when it is a revolutionary residential unit. This required a futuristic code name. It would be E-1027: “E for Eileen, 10 for the J of John, 2 for the B of Badovici, 7 for the G of Gray.” Through this code she imagines, Eileen Gray nests forever her initials with those of the man she loves, Jean Badovici, to whom she will offer the house just after their break up. If Eileen Gray never put again a foot in this house designed to live, create and love, Jean Badovici will remain the owner until his death in 1956.
Eileen Gray was born to an aristocratic Irish family. Independent and adventurous, she is enrolled at the Slade School of Art in London at 20 years-old. She moved to Paris in 1902, where she spent most of her life. She meets Seizo Sugawara, a Japanese master of lacquer, who introduced her to this laborious and potentially toxic art, that she will use to create lacquered screens to modern patterns, and the Art Deco style furniture that will ensure her prominence in the Parisian galleries until the end of the 20s. In the mid-1920s, under the influence of Jean Badovici, and Le Corbusier in particular, she becomes a supporter of modernism. Fallen into oblivion after the thirties, rediscovered in the 1970s, the designs of Eileen Gray are now considered the best parts of the Modern period. Inspired by the small house in Lake Geneva that Le Corbusier designed for his parents, Eileen Gray was thinking of building a “safe haven” to work in complete relaxation with her lover. She designs a fixed and mobile furniture, in continuity with the architecture of the place, this furniture is inseparable from the villa. The concept of E.1027 is that of a habitat model envisioned as a living organism, where space is an extension of the human body.

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