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International Symposium: Examining Eileen Gray takes place at IMMA

An international symposium examining the life, work and legacy of Eileen Gray, one of the most celebrated and influential designers and architects of the 20th-century, will be held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday 13 May and Wednesday 14 May 2014. The symposium is presented in association with the Centre Pompidou, Paris in advance of the much anticipated opening of the restored villa E-1027 in 2015 and following the recent successful exhibition Eileen Gray Architect Designer Painter attended by some 80,000 visitors to IMMA.

The symposium investigates the extraordinary achievements by Gray that went unrecognised until her 90s and focuses on the collaborations and friendships that most shaped her design concepts. Amongst the speakers taking part are: Peter Adam (Filmmaker and Author, Eileen Gray Her Life and Work, 2009) who will discuss his close working friendship and memories of Eileen Gray; Beatriz Colomina (Architectural Historian and Professor of History and Theory of Architecture, Princeton University, USA) who will discuss her research into the unique circumstances of villa E-1027’s creation, history and controversy; Philippe Daniel Garner (Director of Christie’s Auctions and Sales, London) will explain how research into Gray’s work was the impetus into his design interests (In 2009, Christie’s sold a Gray armchair at auction in Paris for €21.9 million, setting an auction record for 20th-century decorative art) and Joseph Rykwert (Architectural Historian, Critic and 2014 RIBA Gold Medalist) who will explore how Gray’s  all-embracing work remains a puzzle in the history of architecture, and is one of the most fascinating episodes in the development of European Modernity. All speakers will look at the importance of and critical role women have played within the evolution of architectural theory and design of the 20th and 21st Centuries. 

See full programme and a list of speakers for the symposium below.

Tickets  €25.00. Purchase tickets from showclix at  
Concessions €15.00, Seniors, Unwaged and Students; valid ID required. Email your concession requests to [email protected]                                                                                                                                
Ticket lines close Monday 12 May 2014.

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected]

28 April 2014


Tuesday 13 May 2014

6.00pm Wine Reception + Registration
6.30pm Prelude Discussion My friend Eileen Gray
Peter Adam (Filmmaker and Author, Eileen Gray Her Life and Work, 2009) opens the symposium.

Screenings of documentary on Eileen Gray, Lecture Room  

Wednesday 14 May 2014

9.30am Tea/Coffee and Registration 

10.00am Chairpersons Address
Kathleen James-Chakraborty (Professor of Art History, University College Dublin) introduces Gray’s work within the historical framework of Bauhaus design.    

10.15am Presentation on Eileen Gray, Architect, Designer, Painter – new discoveries                                         
Cloé Pitiot (Curator of Design, Centre Pompidou, Paris)           

10.45am Presentation on Seizo Sugawara, an enduring collaborator                                                
Ruth Starr (lecturer, Arts of Japan in the History of Art and Architecture, TCD)  

11.05am Presentation on Eileen Gray’s Irish Roots
Jennifer Goff (Curator, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin)

11.25am Panel Discussion and Questions & Answers                                                                                                         
Kathleen James-Chakraborty steers a discussion with Cloé Pitiot, Ruth Starr and Jennifer Goff looking at Gray’s formative years, creative paths and social challenges as a Total Designer.

11.25am Coffee Interval

11.45am Presentation on Gray at auction – 40 years of discovery
Philippe Daniel Garner (Director of Christie’s Auctions and Sales, London) tells of how his professional activity in the auction world has given him unique opportunities to engage with works by Eileen Gray, including the selling of the Dragons chair.

12.10pm Presentation on Gray’s Participation in the commercial design worlds
Daniel Aram (Managing Director of Aram Designs Ltd, London and worldwide License Holder of Eileen Gray designs) discusses why Gray’s last tasks in the early 1970s included working with Zeev Aram on introducing her designs into the world market.

12.30pm: Discussion and Questions & Answers
Philippe Daniel Garner, Daniel Aram and others discuss the various impacts of commissioning, client partnerships, collecting, manufacturing and the marketplace has had on the evolving reception of Gray’s work over the years.

12.50 – 2.00pm Lunch Break and Screenings, Lecture Room

2.00pm Presentation on E-1027 – A House of ill Repute
Beatriz Colomina (Architectural Historian and Professor of History and Theory of Architecture, Princeton University, USA) on Le Corbusier’s role in the controversy of E-1027.

2.30pm Presentation on E-1027- A house by the sea
Renaud Barrès (Architect and Director of CAUE, Carcassonne, France) discussed how E-1027 suffered greatly in the 1980s, when looted and abandoned, explaining why the subsequent restoration is equally as problematic.

3.00pm Discussion and Questions & Answers       
Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Beatriz Colomina and Renaud Barrès on what we can learn from E-1027 in terms of preserving a modern building’s history and memory.      
3.45pm In Conversation – Memory and Modernity
Joseph Rykwert (Architectural Historian, Critic and 2014 RIBA Gold Medalist) and Shane O’ Toole (Architect, Historian, Writer and Campaigner for threatened buildings) discuss Rykwert’s infamous article Domus 469 and the architectural community’s rediscovery of Eileen Gray. Questions & Answers. 

4.30pm Final Words
Kathleen James-Chakraborty (Professor of Art History, University College Dublin) and other guests pay their tributes to Gray’s extraordinary achievements, and her legacy as a role model for today’s architects, designers and visual artists. 

4.50pm Close
This event is kindly supported by Dylan Hotel, the French Embassy in Ireland, Centre Pompidou, Paris and Aram Stores, London.

With the support of the French Embassy in Ireland

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June. A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. There are three exhibitions to visit  Hilary Heron: A Retrospective; Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s shop, café and gardens are all open.