Eileen Gray, avant-garde artist, designer and architect, was one of the leading members of the Modern Design movement. While not as well known, she was a progressive pioneer in the execution of multi-purpose, built-in furniture and use of plywood, tubular steel, cork, plastic and other industrial materials.
Born in Ireland in 1878, the youngest child of a wealthy Anglo-Irish family, her father encouraged her in the study of the arts. She attended the Slade School of Fine Art in 1898 and traveled to Paris with her mother to attend the Exposition Universelle. It was a “world’s fair” of sorts and it provided her much inspiration.
What is often unknown about Gray is that she studied for years in Paris with the Japanese lacquer artist Seizo Sugawara. There she mastered the art of lacquer and pushed the envelope of this craft adding gold, using silver and experimenting with texture in the finishes of cabinetry, moldings and screens, earning her a well respected name for her works.
The E-1027 Villa, the vacation retreat of Gray
She spent a career designing in much the same way as Frank Lloyd Wright ~ designing every element of the spaces.
Glass partitions, zinc-covered cabinets, corrugated sheet metal, transparent celluloid fabric used as mosquito netting. Gray used all those materials which resulted in a refined environment of comfort, utility and above all, beauty.
But it would be her design of one table that most know her by. This multipurpose piece is officially known as E-1027 Table, a piece she designed for her vacation house in southern France.
The Classic E-1027 Adjustable Table.
The cliff-side retreat was an L-shaped building with a flat-roof, floor to ceiling windows and a spiral stairway to the guest room. It was both open and compact. And the E-1027 tables moved about the house as needed, changing heights easily, sliding under furniture to save space.
Today, from classic traditional to modern contemporary interiors, the classic form and shape of these tables are used in every room and for a variety of purposes. Bunched together and adjusted to different heights, they make great bunch tables.
We carry a very fine reproduction of the E-1027 table. For us, it makes a great side table near one's favorite chair as a place for a drink, the remote control and the daily reading. But we've seen them used as night tables in a master bedroom.
Color trends come and go along with the end of each year. And with start of the new year approaching, several "color" sources like paint companies, fabric vendors and even the fashion industry are coming out with their forecasts for 2013.
For example, Pantone LLC, revealed their Color Of The Year.
Drum roll please.
It is: Emerald - 17-5641.
This global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries commits to a meticulous selection process and arrives at the decision by drawing inspiration from artists, popular travel destinations, and art collections among other influential aspects. This color is a “lively, radiant, and lush” green, which will make the transition into interior design for work and home environments, new products, home décor, and more, including the kitchen and bath industry.
Since being in Palm Springs, I have discovered much about this desert resort village at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains and just how much design plays a role in the culture of this community.
Recently, a colleague asked me to write a short article about the "modern" style of Palm Springs. It really is amazing how much design, architecture and the arts are a part of the local DNA. It is not a trend but a way of life here. Truly amazing.
CLICK HERE to read the short story.
I recently wrote a blog post on my website www.iageinplace.com. In that blog, I provide simple concepts to keeping a home safe and secure that readers here would enjoy learning how easy it is to keep our independence no matter age or ability. Great design solutions will help to keep one's independence despite age and ability.
CLICK HERE to read all about the ideas.
As a Boomer myself, I have concerns about many things. If I live longer than my parents, how will I support myself when retirement resources dwindle? Will I become a caregiver for those I care about? Will health be an issue? What about health care costs?
A new poll says that my concerns are not unlike many other Baby Boomers who are facing the elder years with both positive expectations and a reflective sadness. According to the Associated Press survey, Boomers are amazingly confident about growing older, much more than the previous generation including watching their family grow up and be successful, doing more with family and friends that anticipated, and having the freedom to explore favorite activities in more depth such as traveling, even exploring a second career.
Among the top concerns, physical ailments that would take away their independence, losing their memory, and being unable to pay the health care costs. And as they look back on their own parents, many of which became less active in their later years, Boomers appeared determined not to follow the same path.
Other surveys including one by ASID, the American Society of Interior Designers, clearly indicates that boomers would prefer to stay in their home as they age. And with the right design changes made in advance of need, it is possible to not only "age-in-place" but do so with a higher measure of safety and security. Some are simple adaptations made like swapping out knobs for pulss, others require a weekend or two like installing a taller toiler while others such as creating a curbless shower - one without that nasty step-over - requires a bit of planning, design and expertise.
But imagine one client who "permitted" me to create a curbless shower for the master bathroom we were renovating who said directly after unexpected hip replacement surgery kept him off the golf course and in the hospital for nearly two weeks, "I can't believe that this would make such a difference in my life. I was able to come home early from the hospital and move quite easily into and out of the shower." That reaction is gratifying because for this Boomer, he was able to retain a measure of independence at a moment when he thought that he would need much more assistance from others like his long time companion or home health care aide.
And that's why developing a forward thinking master design plan now for the home is critical to one's independence and for Boomers, it adds to the peace of mind and comfort, resulting in a happier, healthier state. And speaking of happy, the AP pole found that 1 in 5 would consider cosmetic surgery.
To Lean More About The Design Concepts of Aging In Place, CLICK HERE.
To Read More About The Associated Press Poll, go to www.LifeGoesStrong.com
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Springs, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.