Friends of e.1027 is a New York-based, non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the restoration and preservation of e.1027, the modernist villa designed and built by Eileen Gray in conjunction with Jean Badovici on the southern shore of France in Roquebrune-Cap Martin. Built between 1926 and 1929, E.1027 was a unique experiment in architecture and design. Eileen Gray combined built-in furniture with ingenious spatial planning to engage the user with the building and site, incorporating the sun and the sea into the very experience of the house.
The organization was first conceived in 1998, shortly after Sandra Gering’s visit to the site, when the building was in a state of disrepair after years of neglect and vandalism. Sandra had read Peter Adam’s biography on Eileen Gray and fell in love with her spirit and work. She decided that this seminal piece of modernist architecture needed to be shared with the world. Friends of E.1027 earned not-for-profit status as a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts in 1999. Largely thanks to Sandra’s efforts, this often overlooked and highly under-appreciated cultural and architectural treasure was purchased by the Conservatoire du littoral, a coastal conservancy agency. E.1027 was subsequently classified as a Monument Historique (a French National Cultural Monument) in 2000.
To date, Friends of e.1027 has donated $35,000 towards the restoration efforts, with our most recent donation contributing to the purchase of a replica Transat chair and a Satellite mirror, the originals of which were designed by Gray and included in the original furnishings at e.1027. We are currently seeking further fundraising opportunities, with immediate donations contributing to the repair and restoration of the villa. In particular, our goal for 2015 is to raise $25,000 to help restore the solarium (the little bathing area that sits alongside the villa). Our long-term goals are centered around the creation of a study center and travel grant for architecture and design students.
In addition to helping restore and preserve Gray’s villa, we also see the opportunity to expand her reputation to the architecture world; while Gray has gained an enormous following in design, she is not very well known as an architect. We have been thrilled with the recent outpouring of public interest and support, as evidenced by the increasing presence of Eileen Gray in museum collections (The National Museum of Ireland) and retrospectives (Centre Pompidou, IMMA) as well as the ever-growing number of publications that support her work, including board member Dr. Jennifer Goff's recent book. This is not to mention the hundreds of visitation requests that we receive each year from journalists, photographers and devotees from all around the world. More recently, Marco Orsini's documentary Gray Matters premiered at the Architecture & Design Film Festival in TriBeCa, New York, creating a whole new wave of awareness by introducing new audiences to the life and work of Eileen Gray. And Irish director Mary McGuckian's biopic film The Price of Desire premiered at the Jameson Film Festival in Dublin, Ireland at the end of March 2015.
Over the past 15 years, we have remained dedicated on our quest to save this unique achievement of modernist architecture and creativity, designed and realized by one of the most famous female Irish artists of the 20th century. Friends of e.1027 has worked closely with our French counterparts to save e.1027, and we will continue to support our colleagues as we look forward to achieve one of our goals that has been many years in the making – the grand re-opening of e.1027, currently set for Summer 2015.
Sandra Gering, President*
Frederieke Taylor, Vice President*
Steven Estok, Treasurer
Michelle Brown, Administrator & Liaison
*founding board member