In the late 1920s, Irish-born furniture designer Eileen Gray was convinced by her architect friend/lover Jean Badovici to design her first house. The name of the house, E-1027, was a code: E for Eileen, 10 for the letter J, 2 for B, and 7 for G – their initials.
The result, built over three years in the South of France, was a modernist landmark, and the furniture within – including the Daybed, Adjustable Table E1027 and Tube Light – were design classics that greatly influenced today’s furniture. Unfortunately, things didn’t stay clean and minimal for long.
Le Corbusier, a fan of the house, painted eight murals on the walls, that he said “burst out from dull, sad walls where nothing is happening”, but which Gray considered to be vandalism. Le Corbusier later died swimming in the seas beneath the house (unrelated to Gray’s anger, we hope).
Through subsequent sales of the house and it’s contents, the house deteriorated rapidly, with squatters, vandals and ransackers gaining easy access to the forgotten building. It didn’t help that Eileen Gray was largely neglected during her lifetime: it wasn’t until her death in 1976 that her name was first mentioned in a radio broadcast.
Today the monument still faces an uncertain future. Previous restoration plans have fallen through, and it now seems reliant on a not-for-profit group – Friends of E-1027 – to raise awareness and funds for the building.
E-1027 photograph by its_daniel