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Cabinet with pivoting drawers
When not in use, Eileen Gray’s 1920s cabinet appears to be a smooth, undisturbed unit, its straight lines finessed into a pleasing curve at one end. When opened, it performs an elegant choreography, each drawer swinging out elegantly from the frame. The wooden cabinet, designed for the pioneering Irish designer and architect’s famed E-1027 villa in the south of France, epitomized her design ethos: modernist but not machine-like. Its four drawers, contained within a white-painted body, pivot outward to reveal their contents, creating a new dynamic between user and object: not the abrupt pull that traditional drawers require but a smooth, quiet, serpentine glide.
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Eileen Gray was born in Ireland in 1878. She grew up in London and was one of the first women admitted to the Slade School of Art in 1898. She moved to Paris in 1902 and after training in Japanese lacquer work she quickly established herself as one of the leading designers of lacquered screens and decorative panels. During the 1920s and 1930s she became one of the leading exponents of revolutionary new theories of design. She worked closely with many of the outstanding figures of the modern movement, including J J P Oud, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret - names now synonymous with the concept of designer furniture. One of Eileen Gray's last tasks in the early 1970s was to work with Zeev Aram on the introduction of her designs onto the world market. In 1973 Eileen Gray granted the worldwide rights to manufacture and distribute her designs to Aram Designs Ltd, London. Aram holds the worldwide head license for Eileen Gray designs, and is the only UK source for the authentic products.
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