The site and the context
When she built Villa E-1027 during the interwar period, on a plot of land overlooking Monaco Bay at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Irish-born designer and architect Eileen Gray (1878-1976) was experimenting with a new style of architecture.
Between 1949 and 1952 Thomas Rebutato (1907-1971) became her neighbour when he opened his small bar-restaurant and Le Corbusier (1887- 1965) built his Cabanon. A little later on, Le Corbusier built the Unités de Camping for Thomas Rebutato.
Now owned by the Conservatoire du littoral conservation agency, and renamed ‘Cap Moderne’, this now protected 2,970 m2 site is home to an important chapter in the history of 20th century architecture.
Under the stewardship of the Conservatoire du littoral, a first restoration campaign was undertaken from 2007 by Pierre-Antoine Gatier, chief architect of historic monuments. As well as some structural consolidation, research uncovered a polychrome composition on the north wall of the living room. Before the appearance of her villa in a special edition of Architecture Vivante in 1929, Eileen Gray had already covered up this first decor theme, preferring white.
Following transfer of the management of the site to the Cap Moderne Association in 2014, further restoration has been undertaken, and this continues under the direction of Claudia Devaux with the aim of returning the villa, inside and out, to its 1929 state, plus Le Corbusier’s wall paintings, by the end of 2018.
A new Visitor centre is now being developed at the nearby Roquebrune-Cap-Martin station using the station buildings and a converted railway waggon. The current reception area and boutique and temporary exhibition space will become a polyvalent exhibition centre and auditorium, reception area, boutique and café, and research centre for architecture and design students and researchers, opening in the summer of 2017.