Demisch Danant X Paulin, Paulin, Paulin Present
FORMAL DISRUPTION | Pierre Paulin and the State commissions of the 1980s
With the participation of The Mobilier National
April 27 – Extended through June 3, 2023
Demisch Danant in collaboration with Paulin, Paulin, Paulin are pleased to present FORMAL DISRUPTION | Pierre Paulin and the State Commissions of the 1980s, an iconic showcase of the radical French designer Pierre Paulin’s lesser-known era, opening Thursday, April 27, 2023.
Paulin is one of the most influential French designers of the 20th century. Previously celebrated at Demisch Danant in 2011 as part of the Mobilier National group show, and in 2015 with the L'Homme Moderne solo exhibition, Paulin’s rich legacy is one of continuous innovation.
Revered for his influential, sculptural forms and modular developments of the 1960s and 70s, Paulin is often boxed into the first decade of his prolific career. However, it was the latter half of his creative trajectory that took many by surprise. Introducing some of his most avant-garde works and limited edition collections, he revived notions of classicism and savoir-faire, in materials and design alike.
Starting in 1970 Paulin became a regular collaborator of the Mobilier National, the national service agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, whose role is to administer state furniture by way of direct commissions to French designers. Throughout his career, he received public commissions to design the residences of multiple government officials and national institutions. He conceived furniture and interiors of private and public spaces including the presidential office of the Elysée Palace (for Presidents Pompidou and Mitterrand), the Denon Wing of the Louvre Museum, the Hall of Tapestries in Paris City Hall, the hypostyle room in the Iena Palace, the Economic and Social Council Assembly Room, and the Green Room of the state radio's Broadcasting House ('Maison de la Radio').
Given the exclusive nature of these historic commissions, the works have never before been produced for public viewing until now. It's with the considered partnership between Demisch Danant and Paulin, Paulin, Paulin that these pioneering pieces are being premiered for the first time for design enthusiasts to experience first hand.
At the center of FORMAL DISRUPTION is the beloved and astounding Mitterrand office set – a total of five pieces – commissioned by then French President François Mitterrand in 1985, now put into production for the very first time by Paulin, Paulin, Paulin. It’s with this series of works that Paulin redefined his practice, shifting his aesthetic from the industrial to the artisanal. Adorned in Tyrian pink and bleu de France – colors inspired by a Charles Le Brun tapestry hanging in the Salon Doré or ‘The Golden Room’ at the Elysée Palace – these works surprised and delighted the design world given their unique pairing with the likes of such a serious and official setting. This iconoclast character was synonymous with Paulin’s practice which was ever-evolving and non-linear, from his choices in material and use of artful color to the meticulously thoughtful and practical construction of his pieces.
FORMAL DISRUPTION will present pieces from the following collections:
Mitterrand Office Set (‘83)
Hôtel de Ville (‘86)
Musée des Arts Décoratifs (‘83)
Baker (late 80s)
At the heart of this exhibition is the recognition and reaffirmation of Pierre Paulin’s legacy in-full as an enduring figure in the history of modern design. A legacy that – hand in hand with the family’s estate, Paulin, Paulin, Paulin – Demisch Danant is committed to continue to support.
FORMAL DISRUPTION opens Thursday, April 27, 2023 and will remain on view through Saturday, May 27, 2023 at Demisch Danant in Manhattan, with Participation from the Mobilier National.