A House by the See
A true icon of modernist architecture, Villa E-1027, Eileen Gray’s first architectural creation, testifies to the thought and attention that she put into every detail of the design. It is tantamount to a manifesto both for its architecture and for the fixed and mobile furniture, lamps and decorations that are inseparable from it. Gray (1878-1976) spent three whole years between 1926 and 1929, designing the furniture and working with her partner Jean Badovici (1893-1956) on the plans. The name of this holiday home was derived from the interlinking of their initials: E for Eileen, 10 for the J of Jean, 2 for the B of Badovici, 7 for the G of Gray, the name of the villa thus interweaves their initials.
Eileen Gray Most recent IH Lecture tour 2018
The Villa is small but for Eileen Gray everyone ‘must be able to remain free and independent’ and store everything in a minimum amount of space. For this purpose, she designed elegant, functional and highly ingenious furniture, paying the utmost attention to every detail. On view are the ‘Transat’ deckchairs, inspired by those found on cruise ships, the ‘Bibendum’ chair, black leather bench seat with a chrome steel tube frame, floating tables, the ‘Marine d’abord’ rug in the guest room and the cleverly designed chrome circular bedside table ‘Table E-1027’ the height of which is adjustable using a metal chain.
Crowdfunding Campaign Video: Help us restore Eileen Gray’s Modernist villa, E-1027
Often ill treated by its successive owners, one of whom was murdered on the spot, the villa, emptied of its furniture, was in a severely degraded condition when it was acquired in 1999 by the Conservatoire du Littoral, a coastline conservation body that is part of France's Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, which already owned the Cabanon. A decade later, a decision was made to restore the villa, which had been modified by its interim owner and fallen into disrepair. In 2014 the Conservatoire du Littoral called upon Michael Likierman, a retired British businessman and former chief executive of Habitat France who had previously renovated a historic house and garden in Menton to oversee the renovation and return the properties to their original state. Likierman set up the Cap Moderne Association, of which he is president. Launched in 2015, the restoration project has unfolded for six months at a time from October to April each year; in the summer months, the properties have remained open to visitors. According to an agreement signed in 2017, the Centre of National Monuments is managing the visits and will take over the site in 2020 once the final renovations have been completed.Now an outstanding cultural and natural site know as Cap Moderne and consisting of Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027, Le Corbusier’s Cabanon and Unité de camping, and the bar-restaurant Etoile de Mer, all of them mythical architectural icons in surroundings of outstanding natural beauty. Like the villa, the gardens and land is a listed historic monument.
Take the Tour in our extensive Special on Cap Moderne.
E-1027 Eileen Gray
Editors Wilfried Wang, Peter Adam
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