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.

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