Eileen Gray’s E1027 Adjustable Table

Irish-born, French-based architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray is best known for the E1027 house she designed in 1929 for herself and partner architect Jean Badovici. “E1027” is a cipher for their intertwined initials: the E is for Eileen, and the numbers 10, 2, and 7 represent the alphabetical order of the letters J, B, and G, respectively. The house, located on the French Riviera, has a long and interesting history filled with death (including the washed-up body of Le Corbusier) and drugs, and was even used for target practice by the Nazis (but that’s a subject for another article).

The majority of the furniture that Gray designed throughout her life had a modern, refined aesthetic using unique materials. Her original lacquered furniture is highly sought after and has set world records at auctions (Gray’s “Dragons” armchair sold for $28.3 million in 2009, becoming the most expensive twentieth-century decorative art ever sold at auction). But the most recognizable piece she ever designed was the E1027 table for her E1027 home. Gray was inspired by her sister to design the table: when she was visiting and eating her breakfast in bed, crumbs would get in the sheets. The table is formed using two steel tube circles with an open base that fits perfectly around a bedpost and has a glass adjustable top that can hover over the user’s bed, sofa, or chair.

There are numerous copies of the E1027 table on the market. Today the company ClassiCon still produces the original design, and the table is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

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