Eileen Gray (1878-1976) was always ahead of her time. Thirty years after her death, she is still considered as the very essence of the Modern. Everyone has seen her furniture-including the famous Adjustable Table, the Lota Sofa, and the Tube Light-but most people don't really know the designer and architect who created them.
Born to an aristocratic family of Irish-Scottish heritage, Gray studied at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London before moving to Paris in 1902 where she continued her studies and, in a revolt against prevailing art nouveau conventions, mastered lacquer work and established the Galerie Jean Désert, where she sold her avant-garde, luxury furniture pieces intended both to fulfill a function and to inspire the spirit.
EILEEN GRAY-DESIGNER AND ARCHITECT also examines the history of her architectural creations, including E.1027, one of the most famous houses in architectural history, built in Roquebrune, France, in 1926. This modernist seaside villa-an L-shaped, flat-roofed building with floor-to-ceiling windows and a spiral staircase, utilizing natural light and ventilation-was designed, said Gray, for a "minimum of space and maximum of comfort." E.1027 has today been declared a French national monument and is presently being restored.
Using archival footage, excerpts from Gray's own writings, plus interviews with Jennifer Goff, Curator of the National Museum of Ireland, which houses a permanent Gray exhibition, Philippe Garner of Christie's auction house, and Zeev Aram, Chairman of Aram Designs in London, who today produces reproductions of Gray's furniture, EILEEN GRAY chronicles this resolutely independent designer's artistic formation and bohemian lifestyle, her extensive travels and influences, the development of her distinctive designs, and her relations with fellow artists and architects such as Jean Badovici, Seizo Sugawara and Le Corbusier.
"A wonderful introduction to the life and work of this important designer... would be most useful in collections supporting art, design, and architecture programs. The independent life Gray led makes this film of possible interest to women's studies students as well." —Sandy River, Educational Media Reviews Online
2008 Award for Best Portrait, International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) Montreal