Eileen Gray Furniture

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Eileen Gray furniture remains some of the most interesting and idiosyncratic furniture to emerge from the modernist movement in European arts and architecture. Those idiosyncrasies--in particular the lush, extravagant look of many of her designs--offer sharp contrast from other early 20th century Modernist works. Perhaps the most well known pieces of Eileen Gray furniture are trio of daybed, table, and chair, designed at separate times over a ten-year period.

Three Milestone Eileen Gray Furniture Pieces

The first Eileen Gray furniture design to capture the public eye was the daybed that she designed in 1917 on a commission to decorate a Parisian apartment. Called the Pirogue bed, the organic curves in brown lacquer and silver leaf were more simple than art nouveau, but more organic than other proto-modern works such as De Stijl designs. Though the bed is not as currently produced as much as other Eileen Gray designs, it remains an important piece in the development of her unique style.

Seven years later, following Marcel Breuer's experiments in tubular steel, Gray produced the first Bibendum chair. The Bibendum chair has its closest relative in Le Corbusier's LC armchair series, though its large, round arms are far more embracing than Le Corbusier's low, wide blocky designs. Interestingly, Gray would later receive an invitation to work with Le Corbusier in Paris on the site of the 1937 Paris Exposition.

In 1927, Gray produced a design for a small, variable height table for her E-1027 house design. The table featured a round top that could easily be adjusted for a number of purposes, including eating in bed. The E-1027's tubular steel and glass construction is slightly reminiscent of the Bauhaus, which was at its peak during this time.


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