Black Lane Studios welcomes New York architect (and former Torontonian) Jan Greben as the speaker for a presentation of the documentary Gray Matters about the Irish-born modernist designer Eileen Gray (1878-1976). Gray created the metal and glass table for a white cuboid holiday house she built on a rocky promontory near Monaco. Perhaps bringing the practical sensibilities of a woman to a design project, she maintained, contrary to her avant-garde contemporaries, that the interior “should not be the incidental result of the façade; it should lead to a complete harmonious, and logical life.”
About the Film
The documentary by director Marco Antonio Orsini was released in 2014. Gray Matters explores the long, fascinating life and complicated career of architect and designer Eileen Gray, whose uncompromising vision defined and defied the practice of modernism in decoration, design and architecture. Making a reputation with her traditional lacquer work in the first decade of the 20th century, she became a critically acclaimed and sought after designer and decorator in the next before reinventing herself as an architect, a field in which she laboured largely in obscurity.
Apart from the accolades that greeted her first building – persistently and perversely credited to her mentor – her pioneering work was done quietly, privately and to her own specifications. But she lived long enough (98) to be re-discovered and acclaimed. Today, with her work commanding extraordinary prices and attention, her legacy, like its creator, remains elusive, contested and compelling.