Kossi Aguessy

jord

Jord Armchair in Carrara marble

Born in Togo, raised in the New York, studied in London and worked in Paris, a self proclaimed artist with an engineering and architecture degree, Kossi Aguessy now lives and works in London and Toulouse.

His influence is global.  We are attracted to his perspective and attitude toward creation.  He says, “I am not a designer but a describer. I’m not a creator but a messenger – a bridge, a piece of a puzzle called evolution that started before me and shall continue long after.”

Damn chair

Damn Chair

 

Aguessy’s design aesthetic is inspired by antique cultures, and informed by contemporary technology.  He says, “The first question I ask myself at the very beginning of the design process is if this novelty is needed and what will be the human and environmental impact of it.  If the answer happens to be negative, I will not complete the process.”

Through his own studio – Aguessy Industry, established in 2004 – he charges himself, in Gandhi’s words, to “be the change you wish to see”. (source Design Indiaba: http://bit.ly/2bFNLYB)

Indeed his beliefs and methods have lead to very successful projects and collaborations leading to his inclusion last year in Vitra’s “Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design” exhibition. His work has also included projects for brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Cartier.

 

useless tool chair

Useless Tool Chair in Stainless Steel, Carbon and Nextel (Model acquired by the MoMA)

He recently began work with Galerie Vallois in Paris who will represent him at Art Paris Art Fair in Spring 2017 where he will present his Useless Chair (above), which is already in the collection of MoMA.

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L147 Table Lamp in Stainless Steel, Aluminum and Glass

 

Infinity Chair

Infinity Armchair in Aluminum

 

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Damn Chair in Laser Cut Aluminum (Model acquired by the Museum of Art and Design)

 

jord oak centre george pompidou museum

Jord Armchair in Oak

Le Don du Fel ceramic centre in the hills of Aveyron, France

Le Don du Fel in landscape

Le Don du Fel.Le Don du Fel ceramic centre in Aveyron

Founded by American ceramic artist Suzy Atkins (who shows her own work at the centre) and her English husband Nigel in the 1970s, Le Don du Fel has developed into an important centre for contemporary ceramics, exhibiting work from all over the world. There are six exhibitions annually. The building itself is breathtaking, perched high up on the hills close to the village of Fel with a spectacular panoramic view of the beautiful surrounding countryside. Designed by architects Lacombe & Florinié, the cylindrical shapes of the building are wonderful. The design was selected by the Forum d’Architecture Mondiale in 2008 as one of the most beautiful cultural projects in the world.

Among the many amazing pieces to see, here are just a few to inspire you!

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Work in porcelain by Simon Zsolt Jozsef

Hungarian potter Simon Zsolt Jozsef, who studied at the prestigious Moholy-Nagy School of Art and Design in Budapest, creates the most fantastic and mesmerizing shapes pulling your eye in all directions and creating a dynamic tension between the viewer and his work. ” I don’t want to catch the forms but the process of forming. Not the fruit or the flower, which are always changing and growing but the growth and change itself, which will form the material.” says Joszef. Fascinating and utterly covetable! (images above and below)

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‘Bouquet Projet’ in porcelain by Simon Zsolt Jozszf

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Jin-Eui-KIM-02-1024x1024South Korean artist Jin Eui Kim plays with illusion and space, as you can see in the image above, through the arrangements at varying intervals of bands of contrasting color.

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Vase by Duncan Ayscough

The work of British artist Duncan Ayscough (above and below) with its classical proportions is influenced by ancient Greek and Roman pieces. “Surfaces are constructed by layering five particled slips (terra sigillata) and subsequent length firings in combustible materials provide the pattern to the surfaces”, explains Ayscough. The gold leaf glimpsed in the interior draws your eye inwards to the centre of the piece. Each piece is wax-polished. Ayscough is a graduate of the Masters Program in Ceramics at Cardiff School of Art and Design.

Duncan Ayscough

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‘Capriccio’ series by Elke Sada

Look at the brilliant shot of color in this vibrant piece from the ‘Capriccio’ series by German-born artist Elke Sada who often paints using Chinese brushes. Sada completed her Masters of Arts in Ceramic and Glass at the Royal College of London and now has her studio in Leipzig.

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Vase by Suzy Atkins

Beautiful painted vase by Suzy Atkins, co-founder of Le Don du Fel.

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CF20-Pétale by Christine Fabre

‘Petale’, Christina Fabre

The work of French artist Christine Fabre is currently showing in an exhibition at the centre entitled ‘L’irrémédiable présence du passé’.  Fabre works in bronze as well as terra cotta and you can see an Eastern influence in her beautiful and minimal pieces. Exhibition runs through to 6 October 2016.

CF43-Opéra Mundi Bronze by Christine Fabre‘Opera Mundi’ by Christina Fabre

All images courtesy of Le Don du Fel

Very well worth a visit if you should find yourself in that part of France! If you’re interested in ceramics, click here to check out our post from a couple of weeks ago on a great exhibition in Villefranche de Rouergue.

Le Don du Fel

Wishing you all a good weekend!

Preview of Chinese Contemporary Design in Paris

We can’t help but peak ahead a bit even as we’re enjoying these wonderful summer days!

There are some great shows and sales coming to Paris this fall and one that looks exciting is the Piasa sale of Contemporary Chinese Design in October.

We have been intrigued by how this auction house is assembling themes sales, such and Brazilian Design or Italian design or focusing on a specific designer such as Pierluigi Ghianda or theme such as French avant-garde in the 1980s.

These sales create great learning opportunities for aspiring collectors!

Here are a few of the highlights for the sale in October. The official catalogue will be out mid September and the sale is 25 October.
design mvw 2009

Bookshelves, Design MVW, 2009

frank chou bold long table 2015 Bold Long Table, Frank Chou, 2015

shao-fan-chaise-mandarin-jie 1995

Chaise Mandarin, Shao Fan 1995 (detail below)

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shao-fan-round-backed-armchair 2000

 Round Backed Armchair, Shao Fan, 2000

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Bench, Song Tao, 2011

xiao tianyu cloud chair 2016 Cloud Chair, Xiao Tianyu, 2016

Art Deco furniture at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

La Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is the long building on the right hand side of the image

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One of the most beautiful small collections of Art Deco furniture in Paris is in the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris – and it is often overlooked or indeed unknown!  Nestled within this monumental 1930s building (built for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris), the collection includes pieces by such design legends as Ruhlmann, Printz, Adnet, Arbus, Chareau, Dufet and Dunand. The current museum, owned by the City of Paris and comprising the east wing of the Palais de Tokyo facing the Seine, was opened in 1961 and is predominantly known for its strong collection of 20th century and contemporary art.
The Art Deco style emerged and flourished in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s when rapid industrialization was transforming culture. It took its name (short for Arts Decoratifs) from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. Historian Bevis Hillier defined Art Deco as “an assertively modern style [that] ran to symmetry rather than asymmetry, and to the rectilinear rather than the curvilinear; it responded to the demands of the machine and of new material [and] the requirements of mass production”.
Chair in zebra skin by Michel DufetFauteuil in zinc and zebra skin by Michel Dufet, 1930s
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Desk in zinc and red lacquer by Michel Dufet. Made for La Compagnie Royale Asturienne des Mines (1936). Esquisses for ‘Rythme nos 1, 2 & 3’ (1938) in gouache on paper by Robert Delauney.
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Rosewood ladies desk by Albert GueniotLadies desk in rosewood (1937) by Albert Gueniot. Look at that great waste paper bin attached to the desk.
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Commode by Eugene Printz; Cubist composition c1910-1920 by Léopold Survage
Commode by Eugene Printz, ; Cubist composition c1910-1920 by Léopold Survage 
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Hexagonal shaped armchair, c1920 Pierre ChareauHexagonal chair by Pierre Chareau, 1920s
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During DDays Paris in 2014 there was an exciting exhibition at the museum pairing contemporary design with Art Deco. See below a few images from that expo and get inspired!
Exciting pairing! Bina Baitel floor lamp and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann commode at Ddays 2014

 Bina Baitel floor lamp and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann commode at Ddays 2014

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Inspired mix! Coiffeuse, 1930s by Paul Frederic Follot, porcelain vase 2014 by Guillaume Delevigne, Sputnik lamp 2014 by Francois Azambourg

Inspired mix! Coiffeuse, 1930s by Paul Frederic Follot, porcelain vase and shelf with mirror 2014 by Guillaume Delevigne, Sputnik lamp 2014 by Francois Azambourg

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Spectacular combination Michel Dufet chairs in python with carpet and blown glass mobile by Felipe Robin, DDays May 2014

Spectacular combination – Michel Dufet chairs in python with carpet and blown glass mobile by Felipe Robin, DDays May 2014
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Art Deco doors
Entrance doors to a side entrance
11 Avenue du President Wilson, 75116 Paris
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Wishing you all a good weekend!

Joris Laarman Lab

 

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“The red line that runs through all of my work [is that] everything I do has to have a functional reason for why it looks the way it does,” says Joris Laarmen. Combining functionalism, which is often associated with soberness and ornament, which is often seen as superfluous to create a functional heater is surprising and ingenious. Large surfaces best radiate heat and this design exploits the complexity (many surfaces) of the rococo style to create a high-functioning heater.

That was in 2007.

The evolution of the Joris Laarman lab was well presented at Design Miami Basel this June. The ornamental element is still in play within some incredibly challenging 3D printed sleek/minimal fully functional forms.

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in-situ shot of the Joris Laarmen exhibition at Friedman Benda Gallery’s stand at Design Miami Basel, 2016.

Above: The form on the left is a 3D printed screen (there were mesmerizing videos behind it showing the process). To the right is a 3D printed metal bench.

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Microstructures Gradients Chair (Dual Cell), 2014

Thermoplastic polyurethane (flexible 3D printed material)

70 x 77 x 72 cm (27.56 x 30.31 x 28.35 inches)

The first chair in the microstructures series was called the Soft Gradient Chair and elaborates on the use of polyurethane in furniture design, but now in the digital age. It was designed and 3D printed in thermoplastic polyurethane. Using generative design tools and new material research, they basically created foam that is engineered on a cellular level to address specific functional needs for different areas in the object.

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Above: Side view

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Above: Detail of the complexity of the design.

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Above: View from the top.

The solid cells in the design create structural strength and rigidity, while the more open cells create softness and comfort, all within one printing technique.

The Soft Gradient Chair is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 12.46.03 PMRendering of the bridge project that will take place during two months in 2017

Parallel to these small-scale domestic designs, Laarman has been commissioned to build a 3D printed steel pedestrian footbridge with MX3D over a canal in Amsterdam to open for public use in 2017.  MX3D is an R&D company working to develop cost-effective robotic 3D printing technology. The company has invented a 3D printing tool in the form of a six-axis industrial robot with an advanced welding machine that can 3D print metals and resin in mid-air, without the need for support structures. The tool adds small amounts of molten metal at a time, enabling it to print extremely intricate metal shapes.

The retrospective of Laarman’s work which debuted at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, will arrive at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in March 2017 and is scheduled to travel to points the US after that.

 

‘Ceramiques d’Artistes’ in Villefranche-de-Rouergue

Vase Arp3, 1956.Vase Arp3 by Jean Arp and Atelier Manufacture de Sèvres, 1956. Collection Cité de la Ceramique, Sèvres 

Curated by Bernard Bachelier, the exhibition shows us the ceramic works of several renowned artists and their personal approaches to the medium. Clay, a fundamental and sensual raw material has long been part of the history of mankind with its practical qualities allied to its vast creative and artistic potential. The forming of shapes and objects with the hands is a primeval form of expression. What interested Bachelier is how many artists explored ceramics alongside their principal art forms, be it painting or sculpture.
Juan Miro‘Carreau’, Juan Miro, edition Artigas, 1996, after an original by Miro dated 1970.  Private Collection
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Pichet by Pablo PicassoPichet by Pablo Picasso. Private Collection
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Picador bowl, 1955 by Pablo PicassoPicador bowl, 1955, Pablo Picasso. Private Collection
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Porcelain plate from the Uni Service, 2008 by Chu The-Chun
Porcelain plate from the Uni Service, 2008 by Chu The-Chun and Ateliers Manufacture de Sèvres. Collection Cité de la Ceramique, Sèvres 
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The exhibition runs through to 30 September and is well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in this corner of the world!  We’ll be posting more images on Instagram this week:
@your_design_link
@susan.boullier
@chase_elizabethw
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‘Ceramiques d’Artistes’,
Musée Municipal Urbain Cabrol,
Place de la Fontaine,
Villefranche-de-Rouergue.
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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Contemporary Living with Collectible Design

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Fernando Santangelo, interior designer for Bette Midler and for the Chateau Marmont curates the upcoming Contemporary Living Sale at Sotheby’ NY on 28 July.

He states: “I thought it would be in a way like working with gouaches or writing poetry … in which you sort of create a group of works or images to mean something beyond the actual objects themselves.”

In this statement he touches on a fundamental aspect of collecting material culture – the idea of creating a narrative through composition. We all collect design in one way or another. And what makes this ‘material culture’ collectible is the meaning we give it.

Very often it starts with an instinctual aesthetic experience, which compels us to explore other attributes … sometimes it’s about form and craftsmanship, sometimes it’s about supporting and aligning ourselves with the intention of the designer, it might be about associating ourselves with former owners of the same object, or a philosophy represented by the object.

There are many characteristics to every object. By combining objects we can create more elaborate and personal ideas and expression  … and our choices reflect our own characteristics!

For examples Santangelo seeks “the best of a period, concept, philosophy” … to create an eclectic interior.  Some ideas he mentions he is drawn to creating with interiors are expressed in the following images:

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He says, “There are shapes that relate and there is a moment there that is held still.” Can you fell this idea in the image above?

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There is a “musical” element to this ensemble he suggests. Do you experience this? Consider how the movement expressed in each object that tends to compel your eye to move from one object to the next creating a sense of movement.

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Dynamism and secrets are the themes he points out in this composition. With these two words the idea of a genie (suggested by the movement or ‘dynamism’ of the print) rising from chest of the silver flasks seems quiet obvious, tangible and magical.

Click on any of the photos above to watch a video of Fernando Santangelo speaking about this project.

 

Q & A with decorative artist, Emmanuel Bossuet

 

Emmanuel Bossuet in his stunning appartment. Image courtesy of The Socialite Family

Emmanuel Bossuet in his stunning appartment in Paris. Image courtesy of The Socialite Family

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with the charming and erudite decorative artist, Emmanuel Bossuet, artistic director of Maison Charles, recently in Paris. Enjoy our Q & A with him.

You describe yourself as a Decorative Artist. What is your philosophy in your design work? The term ‘decorative artist’ is a broad one and can suggest many things. I don’t dedicate myself to being a mere ‘surface designer’ or solely an ‘ornamantist’ but rather I commit more widely to a graphic oriented approach whatever the subject, be it pattern or a piece of furniture. In practical terms it means, I guess, that I somehow prioritize the visual rendition and optical aspect of a piece, and how it will behave in a given environment – within of course a much broader array of criteria….

My commitment definitely has something to do with being an ‘auteur’, whatever the medium may be. And for me discipline is not a theme in itself (which would mean remaining bound to an academic definition of any given medium…). Rather I believe that the theme of any work, any place and perhaps any time is what I can actually bring to it.

Dandelion screen by Emmanuel Bossuet for Armel Soyer. PAD Paris 2016.

Gold and black ‘Dandelion’ screen by Emmanuel Bossuet, PAD Paris 2016, on Armel Soyer’s stand.  Image courtesy of Emmanuel Bossuet

Dandelion wallpaper with embossed paper on Velin d'Arche 300grs, by Emmanuel Bossuet. Edited by Armel Soyer Gallery

‘Dandelion’ wallpaper with embossed paper on Velin d’Arche 300grs, by Emmanuel Bossuet. Edited by Armel Soyer Gallery

Have you always been interested in the decorative arts? And how did you become involved in that metier? What drew you to it? As a child I always regarded the decorative arts with a suspicious eye to say the least…mainly perhaps because I had long found myself surrounded by lesser quality artefacts which were impoverished copies of the grand styles. Most of them Louis XV style… These copies were speaking a very mysterious language to me : totally irrelevant, full of inner and irresolute contradictions.

Years later, my interest in fiction and story telling brought me to a serious study of the graphic arts, drawing and photography which then led me, after a few curvy creative detours to work as as industrial product designer. Incidentally I also got involved at the same period in the field of fashion where I personally focused on pattern making for prints or embroideries. Up to now, most of my close friends are people working in the fashion industry. However, it became clear to me that on the one hand, the aim of the electronic industry (as an industrial product designer) was not to conceive the best products possible and this was a total denial of my commitment as a designer. And on the other hand, the fashion pace seemed far too frustrating in its essence : Why renew your proposals every season, quite often artifically, when you actually seek to invent instant classics rather then obsolescent novelties ? Where is the Grail in all this ?

My attitude towards this analysis was then to look for a more perennial playground, involving lifestyle and artistry alike : and that is why I declared myself a ‘decorative artist’, quite wittily at the time because the word ‘decorative’ was seen as a pejorative, if not provocative term then. Only ten years ago, the term was regarded as a declaration of war on intelligence. Especially in the art field. In the art market, if ‘decorative’ could be added somewhere in the boiler, it was considered the best thing to appeal to a clients actual criteria. It became a widespread essential feature.

Appolonius lustre by Emmanuel Bossuet for Maison Charles. Seen here at AD Collections Quai d'Orsay 2015

Appolonius lustre by Emmanuel Bossuet for Maison Charles. Seen here at AD Collections Quai d’Orsay 2015

From where do you draw inspiration? What inspires you? Strangely enough mostly from reading : memoirs in the first place, then essays and technical or scientific literature. I don’t really look much at other people’s work, except when I want to look more closely at why a certain type of project failed or, in my opinion, simply didn’t manage to reach its underlying goal (its always more pleasant to learn from others’ misconceptions than from yours, right ?…)

But what inspires me the most on an everyday basis is the creative process in itself and the many notions you should beckon or dismiss in the creation. And the rhythm thus involved. Let me draw you a picture : after a finely-tuned study I often end up saying that I foresee ‘one solution and a half’ regarding a specific project : which basically means not exactly two…

Plates by Emmanuel Bossuet.

Plates designed by Emmanuel Bossuet

Ceramic bathroom tiles by Emmanuel Bossuet.

Ceramic tiles in a bathroom by Emmanuel Bossuet. Just love the dynamism of the spectacular design! Image courtesy of Emmanuel Bossuet

How do you see the design market in France now? There is basically strictly no product design now in France. We don’t have Ikea here, and the car industry is much more about styling. What we call ‘design’ here is more a matter of dedicated galleries, interior design studios and luxury brands looking to express themselves in a certain environment. This is a strongly flourishing milieu, mostly because creation is still tightly linked to a centuries old tradition here in France of exceptional savoir-faire. Whatever the technique involved you’ll always find here the best craftsmen or companies to realise a project. This is what makes France stand apart in this field from other countries in Europe.

And we can’t deny that Paris in itself attracts the attention of so many people which means that endeavours and creations here are projected onto the international stage and always looked at under a particular spotlight. This is definitely the place for creation.

Desert Rose light by Emmanuel Bossuet or Maison Charles. AD Collections 2016.

Desert Rose light by Emmanuel Bossuet for Maison Charles. AD Collections 2016. Image courtesy of Emmanuel Bossuet

You became Artistic Director of Maison Charles in 2014. Can you tell us about your role there? Charles is a particularly splendid signature mark and a genuine reference for anyone interested in interior design, be it bronzesmithing or simply lighting. The name ‘Maison Charles’ itself has always been a reference point to describe high-end 60’s and 70’s fixtures. Which is true even now perhaps.

When I started as artistic director of Maison Charles, I had to seriously immerse myself at once in its history and know-how, and as is the case for any venerable house, there is always an intricate mix of these elements with the bare realities of production and market focus. As in everything, there are always many exceptions !

My role there is now mainly to focus on special projects and editions which will lead towards defining Charles in terms of aesthetic innovations for the future. I tend to play the role of forerunner in a way – from quicksand to thin ice, the objective being at my level to help the brand play an ever more prominent yet singular role in the decorative arts field, but on our new grounds. In practical terms, this can take the form of exhibitions, collaborations and special orders. For example, we recently exhibited the first models of the ‘Desert Rose’ range, which I designed, at the event held by AD magazine in Paris – a chandelier, table and tableware. And we are now setting up an exclusive collaboration revising an all-time Charles classic with a top-end department store for the end of the year in Paris.

Art direction is of course not similar to PR work on an every day basis, but if you consider the goals through the scope of creative opportunities for a brand, it should all really be viewed in the same way.

Close-up of Desert Rose low table by Emmanuel Bossuet for Maison Charles. AD Collections 2016.

‘Desert Rose’ low table by Emmanuel Bossuet for Maison Charles. AD Collections 2016.

Can you tell us about one of the favorite pieces you’ve designed and why it is important to you.  As they all belong to the same string it may be difficult for me to pick up any from the flow ! In some ways I always have a special regard for the ones that escaped from me by reaching a kind of autonomous life by themselves.

Among the most particular projects I would perhaps mention the work we did with Stockman, the famous French bustform manufacturer for couture, a few years ago. These intensely graphic pieces were first created for a one-shot exhibition organized by friends in a commercial showroom. But soon afterwards they were shown at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, then at Centre Georges Pompidou and finally landed at Musée Grevin where ten of them are exhibited as stand-alone pieces. I guess that is what I consider “escape”…

Stockman busts by Emmanuel Bossuet in the Musée Grevin.

Stockman busts by Emmanuel Bossuet in the Musée Grevin.

Stockman busts by Emmanuel Bossuet. Musée Grevin, Paris

Emmanuel Bossuet

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Wishing you all a good weekend.

Dimore at the Delacroix for Paris DDays 2016

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Entrance to Musée Eugene Delacroix

 Dimore Studio’s latest installation for DesignDays2106, which took place this past week in Paris, is particularly provocative in the context of the current trend of curators to create shows based on ‘Big Art History’.  Big Art History, part of the Big History Project, is an idea invented by David Christian and supported by Bill Gates – which promotes exhibitions and learning opportunities that span large periods of time and often include numerous media categories for example art, design and fashion all in one show that spans 500 years – in an effort to aggregate history. It’s the big data approach that is influencing these ambitious projects.

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progetto NON FINITO – Pouf 042 (above and below)

As you can see from these photos, the exhibition entitled Conversations entre Couleurs, explores the correlation between the paintings of one of France’s most celebrated romantic painters, Eugène Delacroix  and the contemporary work of Emiliano Salci e Britt Moran of Dimore Studio.

While small in scale, and a conversation between just two parties the dialogue that ensues across 200 years between paintings and furniture gives the viewer visual access to the past in a way that is fresh and exciting. It’s perhaps opening up the idea of drawing macro conclusions about the success of certain color patterns. The idea of culling this type of information (conclusions?) from of our material culture past is quite fascinating.

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progetto NON FINITO – Pouf 042 (detail)

Here are a number of images from the exhibition that explore similar colors used in these two different mediums.

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progetto PALMADOR – Deconstruction Table

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progetto PALMADOR – Big One Table

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progetto PALMADOR – Penta table (above and below)

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progetto PALMADOR – Totem screen

 Drawing connections over time is a beautiful and rich exercise that seems to create the possibility of bringing history alive and  into focus in a way that is very relevant to our lives today.

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Some other photos of Dimore Studio’s work the illuminate their masterful and carefully edited use of color and texture:

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This is what the Seine looked like this morning … no boats passing through Paris at this point.

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Here’s hoping for a little sunshine! Bon weekend!

 

 

First Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou of the work of Pierre Paulin

 

Pierre Paulin Retrospective at Pompidou Centre. Image courtesy of Wallpaper magazine

Pierre Paulin Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Image courtesy of Wallpaper magazine

Pierre Paulin (1927-2009) was a true innovator in the world of design. Always interested in the dialogue between comfort and the body, he created a new art de vivre where comfort, glamour and style co-existed in perfect harmony. In his exploration of forms, techniques and new materials, he opened up groundbreaking possibilities, working with polyester foam and stretch jersey, and creating pieces with joyful flowing lines and uninhibited bright colors. He said “my work is at the junction of technique and a bit of poetry”.

300paulin-6bc2aSome of Paulin’s iconic chairs, (Tongue chair, Mushroom chair, Tulip chair), Centre Pompidou

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Sieges 577 (Also called La Langue)

Tongue chairs, stacked

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Bureau de Dame, C193, Edition Thonet. 1959. Galerie Pascal Cusinier

Bureau de Dame, C193, Edition Thonet. 1959. Image courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier

He graduated in 1950 from the Centre d’art et de Techniques (the institution which eventually became Ecole Camondo). His first designs for Thonet-France were financed by his father in 1954 and he went on to work with la maison de’édition de meubles Artifort in the 1960s where he developed his groundbreaking series of chairs with wooden structures, Pirelli foam and stretch polymer jersey material. Paulin originally gave his work identity numbers and found the names later added “perfectly ridiculous”!

Ribbon chair (Fauteuil F852), 1966. Steel tube, latex mousse and jersey polyamide cover.Ribbon chair (Fauteuil F852), 1966. Steel tube, latex mousse and stretch jersey cover

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Chauffeuse F598, named 'Groovy', 1972. Metal, polyster mousse, stretch jersey

Chauffeuse F598, named ‘Groovy’, 1972. Metal, polyster mousse, stretch jersey

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Banquette 'dod à dos', 1967. White metal, polyester mousse, red jersey

Banquette ‘back to back’, 1967. White metal, polyester mousse, red stretch jersey

Some major high-profile commissions confirmed his prodigious talent. In 1961 he designed the entrance foyer of the Maison de la Radio in Paris, the Denon wing of the Louvre in the 1970s (working with the Mobilier National), the private apartments of Georges and Claude Pompidou in the Elysée Palace in 1971, and François Mitterand’s office in 1984.

Drawing of Foyer of the Maison de la Radio, Paris, Pierre Paulin, 1961.

Drawing of Foyer of the Maison de la Radio, Paris, Pierre Paulin, 1961. Paulin Archives

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Elysées Palace, Pierre Paulin. Image courtesy of New York Times magazine

‘Fumoir’ designed by Paulin, Elysées Palace, 1970-71

'Fumoir', Elysées Palace, Pierre Paulin.‘Fumoir’ in the Elysées Palace, 1970-71. Look at the beautiful ‘Rosace’ low table in smoked glass

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Rosace low table in smoked glass

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Fauteuil from the Elysées Palace 'Salon des Tableaux', 1971-72. Steel tubing, mousse and leather. Edited by Mobilier National.

Fauteuil from the Elysées Palace ‘Salon des Tableaux’, 1971-72. Steel tubing, mousse and leather. Edited by Mobilier National.

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Dining room in private appartments of George and Claude Pompidou.Dining room for George and Claude Pompidou, Elysées Palace, 1971

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Presient Mitterand's office at the Elysées Palace, designed by Pierre Paulin.President Mitterand’s office in the Elysées Palace, designed by Pierre Paulin. 1984

The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, the first retrospective there of Paulin’s work, is an absolute must-see. With over 70 pieces of furniture and around 50 drawings, it covers 40 years of his work. The Paulin family generously donated furniture, archives, documents and drawings to the Pompidou last year. In the spirit of Paulin’s pre-occupation with the human body and comfort, several re-editions of his chairs on which you can sit are placed in front of a screening of the great master discussing his work. And the chairs are very comfortable, cocooning the body while looking sensational.

Arranged chronologically,  his iconic pieces are on view – the Mushroom chair (1960), Tongue Chair (1967) and the Ribbon Chair (1966) – along with lesser known pieces from the Fifties and various prototypes.  Also exhibited are projects which Paulin produced himself and which never went into large-scale production (the Tapis-siège carpet seat, the Déclive recliner and the Tente).

Tapis siége, 1970. Pierre Paulin.

Tapis-siége, 1970. Image courtesy of Paulin, Paulin, Paulin

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Déclive lounger. Structure of aluminium slat, covered with polyester foam and removable covers in wool. 1966-1968. Edited by Autoédition. Image courtesy of T magazine, NY Times.Déclive lounger. Structure of aluminium slat, covered with polyester foam and removable covers in wool. 1966-1968. Edited by Autoédition. Image courtesy of T magazine, NY Times

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Tent, 1969-70. Model created for Artifort in material and metal.

Tent, 1969-70. Model created for Artifort in material and metal

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Pierre Paulin, Centre Pompidou. Exhibition runs through to 22 August 2016

Wishing you a great weekend.