Friends of E.1027 — Statement of Purpose
March 8, 1999 at 7:02 pm #704573
We are pleased to announce the formation of “Friends of E.1027”, a committee created specifically to refurbish and maintain the vacation house which was designed and built by Eileen Gray in association with Jean Badovici in Roquebrune, Cap Martin. The goal of this committee is to assist in the purchase and much needed renovation of the house, its grounds, and the famous Le Corbusier murals that are an integral part of its interior. After the renovation, the committee aims to maintain the house as a public museum, including an exhibition space created specifically to showcase other work by Eileen Gray as well as that of contemporary architects working in her spirit.
As Caroline Constant and Wilfried Wang note in “Eileen Gray: An Architecture For All Senses” — “Eileen Gray (1878-1976) came to architecture via painting and the decorative arts. Her spatial sensibilities, developed on the basis of her experience with laquer techniques and furniture design, gradually led her to engage in the design of interiors and buildings. The breadth of her skills permitted Gray to make fundamental contributions towards modern architecture by absorbing the ingenious luxuries of past centuries within her ownconception of particular architectural elements as well as general spatial notions. Gray’s buildings and furniture engage both the user and their surrounding space. She designed her houses with the sun in mind: offering selective light and variable protection, for example, by means of mobile shutters, screens and window panes.”
E.1027, as the house is formally known, was built between 1926 and 1929 by Gray as a vacation residence for Jean Badovici in the south of France on the western side of Cap Martin, facing Monaco across a small bay of the mediterranean. She chose this site for the beauty of its view and built the house directly into the terrain. The view is further enhanced by balconies and a large open terrace on one side of the house, creating an open facade. A circular staircase connects the two levels, and extends to the roof. The main level consists of a large open living room, a study/bedroom, kitchen and bath. The lower level consists of a large covered sitting area, guest bedroom, maid’s quarters and WC. The design of the house is a maison minimum; simple and efficient, with areas of built-in furniture and no wasted space. Its movable walls and windows, as well as the extensive terrace, create a harmony between the outside and the interior. The house will also feature many pieces of furniture and textiles originally designed by Gray, as well as many other surfaces and finishes. There is also a garden which includes an outside kitchen connected to the interior kitchen, and a small area for sunbathing. A particular focus for this villa was to create an open and flexible design while maintaining a feeling of intimacy and privacy.
E.1027 is a beautiful example of Eileen Gray’s architectural and design skills, as well as a clear example of her importance as a world-renowned figure in architecture. For many architects the house is a pilgrimage, and it will soon be a destination for anyone interested in the history of modern archtecture.
To be placed on the Friends of E.1027 mailing list please contact:
Sandra Gering Gallery
476 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
Tel. 212 226 8195 Fax. 212 226 7186
Most recent update on the Committee’s progress:
We are in contact with the Mayor of Roquebrune, who is aware of our efforts and is very grateful for our assistance. E.1027 was given Historic Monument status in late 1998, but considerable funds are now needed for its purchase. We are organizing a fund raising event to be held this spring. Further notification about the event will be sent out as the specifics are determined.
March 13, 1999 at 11:59 am #711643
Friends of E-1027 has officially obtained not-for-profit status as a sponsored project of The New York Foundation for the Arts, allowing them to proceed with all plans for raising funds.
They have planned the first event to support the purchase of E-1027. As reported previously, the French Government has asked us to raise $150,000 to help them with the initial purchase of the house. The benefit event will be an elegant cocktail party on Monday, May 24th from 6-8 pm at Pucci International in New York. Pucci represents Ecart, the design firm which produces Eileen Gray’s designs (once headed by Andre Putman), and they will be donating their fabulous space for the event.
The highlight of the evening at Pucci will be the auctioning off of one of Gray’s Satellite Mirrors. A special honored guest will be the Mayor of Roquebrune – Cap Martin, Jean Louis Dedieu, a respected musician who will give a performance during the event. He will also speak about the project and about the government’s involvement with E-1027. Tickets for the event will cost approximately $150 (not yet determined). Of course, donations for any amount will be solicited and much appreciated. Checks will be made out to The New York Foundation of the Arts, and all contributions will be tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
March 24, 1999 at 7:20 pm #711644
It is great that at last efforts are being made to save the house. I also managed to visit the house last august while travelling around Europe.My reaction on visiting the house was one of utter disbelief. It felt so surreal to be walking around the decaying remains of a house that had looked so beautiful and pristine in original photographs of it.
The place was a mess with most of the windows smashed.The little entrance piece – where you hang your coat was smashed up and lying in bits on the floor, the wooden louvres were either smashed or were very rotten.The kitchen was so appalling I could not bring myself to photograph it although I did manage to take slides of most of the house.
However one could still just get a sense of the spirit of the designer such as when I entered the guest bedroom. The main wardrobe still remains, although slightly altered. I opened the wardrobe and much to my surprise the glass shelves were still there. It was such a joy to open, that wardrobe, the door opened out and was hinged at the centre. And then there were the built in presses in the stairs, especially the one with the constructivist motifs on the outside, how one opened it only to find another set of doors to open. And then there was the view.
Oh it would be such a great pity if nobody else were able to experience this, really it would.
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