he story behind E-1027, Eileen Gray’s villa in Roquebrune, is a tale which touches architecture, design, emancipation, love, envy and maybe even something else. In what sense? Let’s proceed in order.
Architecture, because E-1027, Eileen Gray’s first project, is a splendid example of modernist construction. Gray was inspired by the teachings of Le Corbusier and the help she received by Jean Badovici, architect and client of this project.
Design, because all the furniture was designed and arranged by Gray herself, this time around breaking free from the strict and cold rules of modernism. The interior is indeed on a manageable scale. However, it’s planned for an occupant who first of all needs comfort, space and intimacy: this is a house for living and not just inhabiting. Certainly, design enthusiasts will spot several well-known pieces among the furniture.
Emancipation, because Eileen Gray was a professional woman, which was something of a rarity in the twenties.
Love, because she was in a relationship with Jean Badovici. And this explains the meaning of E-1027: E for Eileen, 10 coincides with J for Jean, 2 with B for Badovici, 7 with G for Gray.
Envy, because people speculate that Le Corbusier, one of Badovici’s closest friends and regular visitor to his home, was envious of this project. For this reason, it’s also believed that Le Corbusier, unbeknown to the owners, painted several murals making fun of the couple’s relationship and of Eileen’s bisexuality. Needless to say, she didn’t take it well. Even so, there are some of these restored frescoes among the treasures at E-1027.
War, because during the Second World War, E-1027 was used by the Germans as a target for shooting practice. And this was just the beginning of its downfall. This decline came to an end only in 2015, with the building’s final renovation and opening for guided tours.
Now you know what you can expect at E-1027. And the only thing left to do, is to see it for yourselves and to find out all the secretes of a place, which is both intimate and extraordinary.
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