Eileen Gray

Invitation to an Intellectual Journey

Authored by: Carmen Espegel

The Routledge Companion to Women in Architecture

Print publication date:  June  2021
Online publication date:  June  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367232344
eBook ISBN: 9780429278891
Adobe ISBN:


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Eileen Gray (1878–1976) worked outside the mainstream of modernity. She avoided schools and movements although her work reflected on the trends, debates, and architectural dilemmas of the early decades of the twentieth century. Her artistic activity did not develop around clearly established patterns; it rather manifested her personal self-search. Eileen began in the artisan world and later became a designer, interior designer, and architect. From making lacquers and creating furniture and objects for a wealthy clientele to practicing architecture after turning almost fifty years old, she built very little, primarily for herself. The logistics of her work can inevitably be emphasized through the lens of her intuitive approach based on the Hegelian concept of the Zeitgeist. Her creative vocabulary can be considered a result of an artisan and architectural production achieved by way of her reflective, time-bound, spiritual and practical experiences. Her staggering designs proved a practical extension of her thorough investigations of functionalities of daily live. Her attention to detail bridged the gap between architecture and interior design. She appropriated ergonomics for domestic life, avoided clichés, and materialized her ideas of various scale with remarkable intensity and perfection.

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