I love old buildings. I love history and I love beauty. I’ve never really ‘got’ modern architecture and design though. So when it comes to the subject I know very little. I’d never even heard of Eileen Gray, let alone being aware of her work. By the time I finished watching Marco Orsini’s Gray Matters, a documentary about her life, not only was I fully appraised of her importance and legacy of her art, I was genuinely interested to discover more.
Coming from an affluent background, Eileen Gray began making a name for herself around the turn of the century. After moving to Paris, a city where she spent most of her life, Gray began amassing a formidable reputation working with lacquer. Her designs are today as well know as Le Combusier, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe and other famous designers from the early twentieth century. Her work in the decorative arts is as renowned as her modern architecture.
Gray Matters does what all great documentaries do. It takes a subject which is little known and not only paints a fascinating portrait of a talented artists but actually ignites interest in the work of the subject. Marco Orsini has created a great film which rattles by at the pace of a thriller. Whilst Gray herself never really received the plaudits she deserved as an architect during her lifetime, today, her work is much sought after and commands mind-boggling prices.
Gray Matters is out in cinemas from Friday.