Free form table from Tempe à Pailla
Eileen Gray first employed the bois brule, or scorched wood, technique in the late teens. Taken from the Japanese sugiwood method, the wood is first scorched with fire or acid, and then the soft grain is reduced with an abrasive material such as wire brush. This table comes from Tempe à Pailla, a house Gray built for herself between 1932 and 1934 outside of Castellar, France. The name of the house comes from an old French proverb referring to the need for time and straw for figs to ripen. The interior of the house was based on form following function, and each piece of cabinetry served a dual purpose. Local craftsmen, in collaboration with carpenter Andre-Joseph Roattino in Menton, brought Gray's organic, experimental designs to fruition.
Textured wood with cut-out monogram cipher, chromed metal
18 x 39 x 20 1/4 in.
(45.5 x 99 x 51.5 cm)
Eileen Gray, Tempe à Pailla, Castellar
Sotheby's Monaco, May 25, 1980, lot 272
Christie's New York, March 29, 1990, lot 170c
Eileen Gray, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1979
Peter Adam, EILEEN GRAY: ARCHITECT/DESIGNER, New York, 1987, p. 289 (see also Catalogue Raisonne, p. 387, no. 127)