Skip to content

Selected Works

Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16
Design Miami/Basel 16


Pierre Paulin | Verre Lumiere
Demisch Danant
Booth G10
June 14-19, 2016
Design Miami/Basel
Basel, Switzerland

New York, NY…Demisch Danant is pleased to announce that its stand (G10) at Design Miami/Basel 2016 will present a focused exhibition of rare objects designed by Pierre Paulin, complemented by a diverse selection of Verre Lumiere lamps created during the same period. Including exceptional examples from the 1970s, the works on view are all characterized by a distinctive combination of technical innovation, geometric rigor, and a uniquely French sensuality.

On view through June 19th, the exhibition continues Demisch Danant’s ongoing series of explorations in French design from the post-war period through the 1980s.

Currently the subject of a critically acclaimed retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Pierre Paulin (1927 – 2009) is regarded one of the most influential and innovative designers of the 20th century. For Design Miami/Basel, Demisch Danant will celebrate the designer with a group of rare and coveted pieces created between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s, a time when Paulin received a spate of significant private commissions. In small editions works, he achieved a remarkable mingling of traditional artisan techniques, abstracted historical references, and complex architectural expressions. “I started designing archetypes,” Paulin recalled of his work in the late 1970s and 1980s. A highlight of the exhibition is Paulin’s Cathedral Table (1981), composed of ingeniously attached aluminum panels that curve into a base suggesting the soaring arches of Notre Dame in Paris. Paulin said of this work, “It is one of the most poetic pieces I’ve ever designed…one of my favorite objects, it is an architectural expression on its own.” 

Also on view will be a group of works based upon Paulin’s two legendary Élysée Palace commissions, including an extremely rare example of the smoked Plexiglas, steel, and wenge Élysée Bookcase (1971) created for the smoking room in President George Pompidou’s private residence apartment, and the inlaid birds eye maple, leather, and walnut Desk (1984) based upon President Mitterand’s personal desk. Alongside these will be two lighting designs conceived for larger architectural installations, and a pair of the designer’s now-coveted Pacha Chairs (1975).

The Demisch Danant stand will also present an exceptional selection of 1970s and 1980s lamps produced by Verre Lumiere, as a continuation of a cabinet show that the gallery debuted at Design Miami last December. Verre Lumiere was the most prestigious and innovative French lighting design firm of second half of the 20th century. The company distinguished itself through exceptional technical skill and highly efficient prototyping of new models, and in 1968 became one of the first companies in the world to use halogen bulbs in lighting.

Verre Lumiere’s significance also derives from the firm’s creative sensibility, expressed through its collaborations with an extraordinary network of architects and interior designers. Several of the most iconic lamps of the 1970s resulted from these commissions. Highlights include Pierre Paulin’s Élysée Lamps, designed in 1972 for George Pompidou’s private apartment in the Palais de l’Élysée; and the Brasília Lamps designed in 1974 by Michel Boyer for the French Embassy in Brazil. 

On view in the Demisch Danant stand will be the Élysée Lamp (1983) by Ronald Cecile Sportes; a rare large Brasília Lamp (1974) in stainless steel by Michel Boyer; and a number of rare lamps by Pierre Paulin, Jean-Paul Vitrac, Ben Swildens, Étienne Fermigier, Pierre Soulié, Sabine Charoy and others.

About the Artists

Pierre Paulin (1927–2009) is perhaps best known for his innovative designs for Artifort of the 1960s – the famed Mushroom Chair (1959), the Ribbon Chair (1965) and the Tongue Chair (1968). He is widely regarded as one of the most significant designers of the 20th century. Though he was clearly influenced by his German roots as well as the work of early modernists, Paulin has said he was greatly inspired by the work of George Nelson and Charles Eames and the significance of the social component of modern design. In 1970, Paulin was invited by the Mobilier National to decorate the private apartments of George Pompidou in the Palais de l’Élysée, and to furnish the office of Francois Mitterand in 1984. Today, Paulin’s designs are found in the collections of major museums across the world such as MoMA in New York, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. A major career retrospective, Pierre Paulin, is on view at Centre Pompidou, Paris, through August 22, 2016.

Initiated in 1968 by designer Max Ingrand, Verre Lumiere produced lighting for many renowned French designers and served as French distributor for key designs by the Italian firm Fontana Arte, as well as such celebrated Italian figures as Gio Ponti. Through the efforts of director Jacques Vidal and his network of architects and interior designers, Verre Lumiere realized lighting for numerous prestigious commissions, including George Pompidou’s private salon at the Palais de l’Élysée in Paris (a project completed under the direction of Pierre Paulin and the Mobilier National), and the Embassy of the Republic of France in Brasília, Brazil, under direction of Michel Boyer. Some of the most significant lamps of the 1970s and 1980s were manufactured in the workshops of Verre Lumiere in Puteaux, where a group of 40 people worked under the direction of Sabine Charoy, head of the studio, and Ben Swildens, artistic director.

Back To Top