Annotations | Maria Pergay: Master of Stainless Steel

After designing objects and furniture in silver for over a decade, in 1967 Maria embraced stainless steel, an unconventional, new material that soon became her trademark. Gérard Martel of Ugine-Gueugnon, France’s leading steel manufacturer, first introduced her to the metal, the third to so serendipitously capture her interest. In the spring of 1967, he paid her a visit and asked if she would consider fabricating in Uginox, the company’s brand of stainless steel, the small objects and accessories for which she by then had become well known. He even offered to provide the industrial material, quite expensive at the time, free of charge. Martel, a savvy businessman, was interested in cultivating an untapped market. Maria informed him that stainless steel could not possibly be used for making things on such an intimate scale, and “technically speaking they would not be beautiful.” At the same time, she revealed that she had certain ideas for furnishings, and Monsieur Martel immediately encouraged her to try and realize them. Determined to stimulate interest in the use of Uginox in interior design and decorating, he extended the same invitation to other designers, like Michel Boyer, Jacques Charpentier, Françoise Sée, and François Monnet, all of whom accepted the proposition. 

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