Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray (August 9, 1878 October 31, 1976) was an Irish retro furniture designer and architect and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. As a young adult, in order to develop her artistic sensibilities, she entered the Slade School for Fine Arts in London and from there moved to Paris where she would spend most of her working life. Paris at the turn of the century was a creative mecca for visual and performance artists, writers, scientists and philosophers.
Eileen Gray had begun to come into the fulness of her creative energy and had created opportunities for herself to explore her talent.. On a trip to London in 1905 Eileen wandered into a lacquer repair shop: a trip which was to change the course of her creative life. With new-found knowledge and some tools in hand, she returned to Paris, linked up with a master craftsman of lacquer, Sugiwara-san, and from there developed designer furniture and assessory iconic designs with striking colors and understated shapes.
Her boredom with the flowing, leafy lines of the Art Nouveau movement led to an artistic vocabulary which was more closely related to the De Stijl movement: clean lines and simple forms. The effect was stunning Eileen's lacquer work succeeded in bringing her into the world of furniture and interior design. Her creative genius combined with an innovative sense of form as well as sensitivity to color, were utilized in new and innovative ways, usually to stunning effect.
In 1921, Eileen opened a store at 217 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore as a direct outlet to the public for her designer furniture. The store met with relative success in spite of the owner's lack of commercial and marketing skills. She continued to hone her designs, building upon a growing reputation for design excellence.