Design Moment: Blue Marine Rug, 1926-29

Eileen Gray’s rug is like a modernist painting, vivid in colour and rich in abstract detail

Eileen Gray designed the Blue Marine Rug   for her coastal house E-1027 at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France

Eileen Gray designed the Blue Marine Rug for her coastal house E-1027 at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France

 

Eileen Gray (1878-1976) designed the Blue Marine Rug – or Marine d’Abord – for her coastal house E-1027 at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France.

Every detail in that landmark modernist building – now beautifully restored – was thought through by the Irish designer who by that time already had a stellar track record as an interior designer.

This rug, one of several designed for the house, is like a modernist painting, vivid in colour and rich in abstract detail. Marine themes are reflected in the colour and in the short strip of undulating lines like gentle waves, while the circles and stripes are pure abstract modernism.

Weaving

The palette is limited to shades of blue, and black and white. Gray had been designing and successfully selling carpets since visiting Morocco in the early years of the 20th century and where she became interested in weaving and dyeing.

She often incorporated the number 10 into her rug designs – representing the letter J for Jean Badovici, her collaborator on E-1027 and much else, and it’s here, subtly, in white against the black circle. The rug is still in production – under licence – by Aram.