A smartly designed and beautifully illustrated look at the life and work of an elusive and influential designer and architect
Eileen Gray (1878–1976) was a versatile designer and architect who navigated numerous literary and artistic circles over the course of her life. This handsome volume chronicles Gray’s career as a designer, architect, painter, and photographer. The book’s essays, featuring copious new research, offer in-depth analysis of more than 50 individual designs and architectural projects, accompanied by both period and new photographs.
Born in Ireland and educated in London, Gray proceeded to Paris where she opened a textile studio, studied the Japanese craft of lacquer that would become a primary technique in her design work, and owned and directed the influential gallery and store known as “Jean Désert.” Gray struggled for acceptance as a largely self-taught woman in male-dominated professions. Although she is now best known for her furniture, lighting, and carpets, she dedicated herself to many architectural and interior projects that were both personal and socially driven, including the Villa E 1027, the iconic modern house designed with Jean Badovici, as well as economical and demountable projects, such as the Camping Tent.
Published in association with the Bard Graduate Center
Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York
(February 28–July 12, 2020)
“[This] book reveals Gray to be more than a privileged purveyor of rarefied homewares. She emerges as a creator of strange, haunting interiors, unrealised designs of housing for the homeless and the author of an animal-themed ballet.”—Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian G2
“This essay collection…explores the prolific career of a celebrated Irish modernist. Each facet of Gray's work is covered in depth, including her fascination with Japanese lacquerware and her experiments in weaving.”—Sophie Devlin, House & Garden
“This is more than just a book, it is a catalogue, a collection of essays, a research document, an inventory of Eileen Gray’s works, a timeline in design and a visual feast and references for any designer.”—Chartered Society of Designers Newsletter, June 2020
“[A] kaleidoscopic perspective of Gray’s life and work. Details that are missing from Gray’s own archives are filled in by accounts in other archival material, and as such it forms a particularly rich account...This book is a welcome step towards evolving our understanding of her contributions to design and architecture.”—Johanna Agerman Ross, Journal of the Decorative Arts Society Newsletter
“As well as essays from the Pompidou catalogue, which had previously only been available in French, the essays in this well illustrated volume consider Gray’s early life in Ireland, as well as examining her career as a designer of furniture, rugs and interiors.”—The William Shipley Group for RSA History Bulletin