The Great French furniture designers
Our furniture is constantly reinventing itself. And even though, nowadays, tables, beds and other comfortable armchairs often have Scandinavian accents, historical pieces of French design always seduce the pupils. We propose to you to return to the great names of French design, men and women who have been able to revolutionize the interiors while democratizing access to furniture.
Le Corbusier (1887, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1968, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin)
This is undoubtedly one of the most famous names in architecture, urban planning and French design. Switzerland of origin, Le Corbusier, born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, is a naturalized French in 1930. It owes it a new concept of collective housing where the equipments are combined in one and only building and whose radiant city is a proud example. But he also designed pieces of furniture. Architecture and furniture work in concert, both complementing each other.
It was mainly in the 1920s that Le Corbusier, in collaboration with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and his disciple Charlotte Perriand, conceived a whole range of furniture. Some of this furniture is still published by Cassina. Among the most iconic pieces of Le Corbusier's furniture are:
-The LC2 armchair, made of padded cushions and covered with leather, all resting on a tubular steel structure
-The lounge chair LC4, in the shape of swing to marry the body and made of chromed steel and leather or cowhide skin
Jean Prouvé (1901, Paris – 1984, Nancy)
He wanted to create a "work for all", modern houses and furniture accessible to as many people as possible. Jean proved is a French architect and designer who first formed the ironworks. The steel sheet naturally becomes one of these preferred materials. It makes many metal elements for buildings, such as stair ramps or elevator protections.
Jean Prouvé also produces furniture in series thanks to industrial machines. One example is the Compas office, created in the years 50, whose metal foot reminds the narrow and pointed legs of the measuring instrument and which is one of the emblematic forms of the designer. The Antony beds with their sheet metal structure are also representative of his work.
A Disciple of Le Corbusier and a major figure in the design of the years 50, Charlotte Perriand invented a style as poetic as minimalist, especially inherited from her stays in Japan. It has its sights on wood, paper, straw... Charlotte Perriand is the creator of many pieces of always iconic design furniture, including:
-Chair Ombra Tokyo, made of a single piece molded in curved plywood. It seems to bend like an origami paper in a simple and purified style.
-Petalo Low tables: At the number of 5, they all offer a different coloured tray and can retract each other to open in a flower with triangular and rounded petals.
Andrée Putman (1925, Paris – 2013, Paris)
It is one of the great names of interior design and architecture. Andrée Putman, a true ambassador of luxury and French chic, has made herself known all over the world from New York to Hong Kong, for her sober and minimalist conception of design. Andrée Putman owes her international reputation first to her noted intervention at the Morgans Hotel in New York, where she imagines a geometric bathroom dominated by a black and white checkerboard tile. It is also who draws the office of Jack Lang in 1982, while furniture of wood purified, geometric, without artifice...
She also talks about her design of interior architecture through the development of many hotels, restaurants, tea rooms and luxury boutiques around the world. It is also André Putman who, the first, popularized the open and ventilated "loft" type of design.
Pierre Paulin (1927, Paris – 2009, Montpellier)
His creations are exhibited in museums all over the world: at the MoMA in New York, the Pompidou Centre and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, at the Victoria Art Museum in London... And we no longer count the number of retrospectives, exhibitions and books that explore the work of French designer Pierre Paulin. The armchairs and chairs he imagines, with organic and colorful shapes, whose cushions are covered with a cover in stretch fabrics, are always as popular. Let's mention some of the iconic seats signed by Pierre Paulin:
-Orange Slice Chair
Philippe Starck (1949, Paris)
Let's finish with the best known contemporary French designers: Philippe Stark. Since the years 80, he has revolutionized design codes, bringing about a new dimension that is both ecological and democratic. He collaborates with major publishers, such as Kartell, Alessi and Vitra. Some of the most popular pieces of furniture include:
-Louis Ghost Armchair, a colorful and transparent plastic chair that combines the classicism of a Louis XV armchair with the modernity of plastic.
-The armchair Mi Ming-Xo: It is times, it is the ancestral China that is summoned, in a polycarbonate armchair all in curves and transparency.
-The armchair Costes: a seat that combines the elegance of mahogany and leather with the robustness of lacquered steel.
Notice to amateurs and collectors: Some creations signed by these great French design names are regularly republished. And original copies do not fail to fuel auctions and online shops.