Eileen Gray Tables

Written by Sarah Provost
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When one looks at the contemporary chic of Eileen Gray tables, it can seem almost impossible that they have been around for eighty years. These spare, witty designs look as though they were created just yesterday. Like the designer herself, Eileen Gray tables defy time and age.

Born into an aristocratic family in Ireland in 1878, Gray chose a bohemian life in Paris after the turn of the century. She first gained attention for her astonishing work in lacquer, then turned to furniture and eventually architecture. She was influenced by the Dutch art movement De Stijl, and by her friends Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Jean Badovici, editor of Architecture Vivante.

After World War II, Gray and her work sank into obscurity, though she continued her design research up until her death at age 98. She lived long enough to see her ideas once again embraced when her work was displayed in a traveling exhibition in the United States in 1975. Her resurgence was solidified by the spectacular MoMA exhibition in 1980.

Find Eileen Gray Tables on the Web

Many of Gray's designs, such as the Bibendum chair, the Nonconformist chair and the Transat lounge are available in reproduction today, but it is Eileen Gray tables which have become icons of contemporary design. Her "flying" end tables, particularly, are so popular that they would be in danger of becoming a cliche, were they not so absolutely themselves. In another eighty years, they will still look fresh and contemporary.


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