“(Our furniture is) suited to our existence, in proportion to our rooms and in accordance with our aspirations and feelings.” -Eileen Gray
Unlike most of the other women who made an impact on early 20th century design, Irish-born Eileen Gray did not have the advantage of working with a powerful male mentor. As a woman, Eileen Gray was also denied access to the supportive networks from which her male contemporaries benefited.
Even facing such challenges, Eileen Gray distinguished herself and is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century. In addition, she has been one of the most influential women in these fields. Her distinctive design style has inspired both modernism and “Art Deco”.
Eileen Gray initially sought after a career in drawing and painting. When she was 20 years old, she attended classes at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. After several years, and moves to Paris, Ireland, then back to London, Gray found that her drawing and painting courses were becoming less satisfying. She took an interest in lacquer work after coming across a lacquer repair shop in Soho.