August 03 2011
Lucia van der Post
Anybody with the smallest interest in interior design will know the name of Eileen Gray. She’s a great heroine of mine. Born in Ireland in 1879, she studied painting at the Slade before moving in 1902 to Paris, where she worked with Le Corbusier and began creating furniture made of glass, chrome and steel tubing – very avant-garde for the day.
By the time Zeev Aram came upon her designs at a Royal Institute of British Architects exhibition in 1973, Gray’s work had rather fallen out of favour. He immediately recognised the quality of her work and did a deal to produce precise re-editions of her designs.
While Aram has long stocked a good collection of her designs, her iconic folding lacquered Brick Screen (pictured) hasn’t been available until now. Designed in 1930 (and it is amazing how modern her designs seem until this day), it is made up of 28 panels, each made from gloss-lacquered perforated steel with solid lacquered beech frames. Originally she offered it in black, grey or red lacquer, but for now the Aram Store is only selling it in black.
It’s a real collector’s piece, part of the permanent design collection at MoMA in New York, but has never in recent times been manufactured. Its scarcity, and the labour-intensive lacquering process, partly explains its price tag – £39,750. Though the screen isn’t arriving in the shop until next month, you can place your order now.