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.
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.
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 bought and restored by the Conservatoire du littoral in 1999. 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. And if you have an interest in gardens, also visit the close by masterpiece by Ferdinand Bac at Les Colombières, in Menton (only 4 km).