KATHLEEN EILEEN MORAY SMITH, aka EILEEN GRAY (1878-1976)
By 1921, Gray was romantically involved with Romanian architect Jean Badovici who was 15 years younger. He encouraged her growing interest in architecture. She studied theoretical and technical books, took drafting lessons, and arranged to have Adrienne Gorska take her along to building sites. She poured all this into the creation of E-1027, see entry below.
Badovici took credit for E-1027 but it was Gray's work all the way. Unfairly,
her six-year collaboration with Badovici, Gray create nine buildings and
renovations, 4 of which were credited erroneously to Badovici. Renewed
interest in Gray's work began in 1967 when historian Joseph Rykwert published an
essay about her in the Italian design magazine Domus. At a Paris auction of
1972, Yves Saint Laurent bought Le Destin and revived interest in Gray's career.
The first retrospective exhibition of her work, titled Eileen Gray: Pioneer of
Design, was held in London in 1972. In 1973 Gray signed a contract to reproduce
the Bibendum chair and many of her pieces for the first time. Gray was bisexual
and was associated with Romaine Brooks, Loie Fuller, Marie-Louise Damien, and Natalie Barney. Marco Orsini's documentary,
Gray Matters, was released in 2014. A biopic on
Gray's life by Mary McGuckian, The Price of Desire, opened in 2016. A 2020 short
film by Michel Pitiot, In Conversation with Eileen Gray, was based on an
unreleased 1973 interview with Andrew Hodgkinson. Bio adapted from Wikipedia.
1929 - The Jean Badovici House aka the E-1027 House, E-1027 Sent. Massolin, 06190 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. Commissioned 1926. Designed with her partner at the time, Romanian architect Jean Badovici, who owned the house. E stands for Eileen, with the couple's initials – J, B and G – signified by their alphabetical positions – 10, 2 and 7. Because a foreigner in France couldn't wholly own property, Gray bought the land and put it in Badovici's name, making him her client on paper. Construction of the house took three years and Gray remained on site while Badovici visited occasionally. The couple broke up soon after the house was completed and Badovici stayed on. During World War II, Gray was interned as a foreign national, and her houses were looted. German soldiers used the walls of E-1027 for target practice. Badovici's friend and fellow architect, Le Corbusier was a frequent long-term visitor eventually building a small cabin, Cabanon, next to the house in 1951 (last photo). He stayed in the cabin every August and Le died there in 1965 while swimming. In 1996, Heinz Peter Kägi, Marie-Louise Schelbert's gynecologist, was stabbed to death during an altercation with two men in the living room. Five other Le Corbusier houses were built next door. After falling into disrepair, it was purchased by the French government in the 1990s. In 2016 the Association Cap Moderne began a restoration led by Claudia Devaux, Renaud Barrès, Burkhardt Rukschcio and Philippe Deliau. Owners of included Marie-Louise Schelbert, a friend of Corbusier's, Heinz Peter Kägi, and architect Renaud Barrés. Opened to visitors in 2021. Photos and information from Dezeen.
1931 - The
Jean Badovici Due Chateaubriand Apartment Renovation. Status unknown.
1934 - aka Tempe à Pailla, above the town of Menton in France. It was a small two bedroom house with a large terrace. Panoramic views. Status unknown.
1934 - aka House for Two Sculptors. Unbuilt.
Ellipse House. A small
structure designed for workers on remote sites, prefabricated from asbestos cement and fiberglass, it
could be easily shipped on trucks and erected and dismantled) quickly fast on
almost any site with unskilled labor.
The modular units, roughly 2.5 x 3 meters in size and elliptical in section,
could be combined in different ways. Unbuilt.
1937 - The Vacation and Leisure Centre, a cultural and social center. Unbuilt.
1946 - The Jean Badovici Ville de Hellemmes-Lille Nord. Unbuilt.
1961 - aka Villa Lou P'erou, Chem. des Bastidettes, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France. Commissioned 1954. Eileen's personal home she built in her 70's. She designed a table with the same name (last photo) which is still being produced. Video. Information.
Sources include: Wikpedia, Dezeen.