Roundup: Lacquer Revival

Roundup: Lacquer Revival

Lindsey Roberts
Apr 14, 2009

Reading a biography on the 1920s lacquer artist, designer and architect Eileen Gray inspired us to look at lacquer in a whole new way — accessories painted with this material are now one of our favorite Gray-inspired ways of adding a high-gloss modern accent to any home — whether it be modern or traditional in nature.

Gray left Paris for London in World War I, where she learned the ancient Japanese and Chinese art of lacquering. As her career progressed, she moved into furniture and architecture design.

True lacquer is done painstakingly, with layers and layers — sometimes twenty or more — of resin-based material applied to wood and pumiced. Gray applied them in different patterned layers, which is what made her pieces particularly artful.

While we certainly covet a licensed Eileen Gray screen, we are also particularly partial to lacquer trays on coffee tables and side tables. They help group disparate objects together and make sophisticated vignettes. Here are some lacquer pieces on our wish list:

1 four-piece folding screen by Eileen Gray, at M2L in Georgetown
2 black tray with red edge from Pearl River
3 turquoise bath box by Jonathan Adler

4 candleholders from Crate and Barrel

5 Parsons cube side table from West Elm

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