Eileen Gray was born into an aristocratic family in Ireland in 1878. She would become an artist, architect and designer inspired by Bauhaus and De Stijl principles, whose houses and furnishings were fluid and multi-functional.
Educated at London’s Slade School of Fine Art, Gray developed an interest in furniture making and Japanese lacquering techniques. She began making lacquered screens in Paris circa 1910, and progressed to bold and sometimes scandalous interior designs. Drawn to asymmetry, geometric forms and what she saw as the superior rationality of the De Stijl movement, she started designing her own furniture to outfit the modernist houses she designed. These included the Non-Conformist Chair, the Bibendum Chair (named after the Michelin mascot) and the now-iconic steel and glass E-1027 table.
After falling out of fashion for some time, Gray lived to see a renewed appreciation for her work in the 1970s, an appreciation that has only grown in the years since.