Photo: © Manuel Bougot
The E1027 moniker, humorously made to sound technical and avant garde, was a clever code for the intertwining of Gray and her lover’s names: E for Eileen,
10 (the tenth letter of the alphabet ) for Jean, 2 for B and 7 for G.
Gray's concept was to create a retreat open to sea and sun, but closable in bad weather, with spaces for both socializing and privacy. Also, according to writer Eve Martin, Gray "intended her getaway to look like an ocean liner docked on the craggy hillside; cubbyholes, cleverly folding drawers, a blue and white colour palette and a funnel-like glass staircase up to the roof reveal her nautical intentions." The E-1027 house came to be considered the pinnacle of Gray's architectural work.
Living room of E1027
Eileen Gray designed all the furniture and rugs.
The mural on the far wall was Le Corbusier’s creation.
Photograph: © Manuel Bougot
The E-1027 was a three-year project, and a supreme embodiment of the principles of Modernism. The L-shaped house — white, flat-roofed, with both fixed and freestanding walls, built of reinforced concrete and steel, with horizontals dominating — was set into a naturally-terraced landscape. Its expansive windows faced the Mediterranean; a tidy spiral stairway led to the guest room, and terminated in a glass-enclosure on the roof. It was an elegant maison minimum — open yet compact, minimal yet functional. As a capper, Gray created for the house her now-ubiquitous circular steel-and-glass adjustable E-1027 table — inspired, she said, by her sister’s love of breakfast in bed.
The classic E1027 table
E.G. Blue Marine rug -- my favorite of her designs
To read a full-length article about Eileen Gray's fascinating life and work, you can
link to my Spring 2011 Modernism magazine article
From Shadow to Light here.
Originally posted on