Eileen Gray


Eileen Gray: A House Under the Sun is the story of an architect and interior designer only recently accorded the respect and attention she deserves. While she was born in Ireland, Gray’s training and work took her to Paris, where she was feted as the creator of Jean Désert in Rue de Fauborg- St- Honoré. Her companions and lovers included Gertrude Stein, Gabrielle Bloch and Damia. Meanwhile she trained in such intricate work as lacquer making with Seizo Sugawara.

However, it was with Romanian born architect, Bado, that Eileen Gray collaborated in life and design upon E-1027, her Côte d’ Azur project. Although he contributed the roof ‘that they never used‘, it was Eileen Gray’s ‘sensibility, taste, passion‘ and vision that formed their ‘refuge’. Yet, what happened when others intruded upon and marked this space? E-1027 was something personal, unique and precious, Thereafter, what if Le Corbusier, one of the most famous architects of the day, felt compelled to embellish this space with his imprint?

E-1027, the house at Roquebrune- Cap-Martin, stands as an historic monument and celebrated piece of design and architecture. Furthermore, its real architect and designer is recognised and given her rightful attribution. Eileen Gray: The House in the Sun is a fascinating, satisfying and beautiful graphic history of the house and its creator. Bookwagon recommends this title as suitable for older readers because of its subject and approach.


Eileen Gray

A House Under the Sun

Charlotte Malterre- Barthes & Zosia Dzierżawska

(Nobrow)- hardback

Eileen Gray began building the house at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the early 1920’s. In A House Under the Sun we learn her story alongside that of E- 1027, now’ listed as an historical monument‘.  While Bado was her partner in life and in this conceptual building, the inspiration was Eileen’s alone. So, what were the markers that formed this acclaimed Irish architect and interior designer? Might it be her early years, wherein her father left the family to seek freedom and life in Europe? Or perhaps it was something more? Maybe her years training, including with Seizo Sugawara, that formed her vision and definitions? Thereafter, what was so special about E- 1027? Furthermore, what had Le Corbusier to do with this house? How did he leave his impression so deeply?
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes and Zosia Dzierżawska collaborate upon an intricate graphic history. We move between time frames and settings, realising Eileen’s early years, against those she spent in the salons of Paris and the Côte d’Azur. Thereafter, we witness the long-lasting effects of Le Corbusier’s residence in E- 1027. Finally we have a glimpse of the woman, described to Bado as ‘so intense.. so quiet sometimes and then, so wild.’
Eileen Gray: A House Under the Sun is an outstanding book. Not only is it an historical biography, but also a story of equality, design and sensibility and innovation. The scorched sepia photographic images fit perfectly with the seemingly introspective, ‘recalled’ narrative. Bookwagon recommends this title as suitable for our older, YA readers.


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