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Artsy Selects "Élysée Bookcase" from Demisch Danant

Pierre Paulin Élysée Bookcase, 1971
Smoked Altuglas, steel, wengé base
60.24 H x 68.5 x 14.57 inches
153 H x 174 x 37 cm
Signed "Paul"

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This modular, smoked plexiglass bookshelf by late French designer Paulin evokes the French modernism of its time. In 1970, France’s President Georges Pompidou and his wife commissioned Paulin to design the interior architecture of their private apartment in the Palais de l’Élysée, with the stipulation that the renovations must be reversible. Following this order, Paulin covered the walls and ceilings with stretch jersey and created an extraordinary, exhibition-quality interior that marked a turning point in his career. The commission included bespoke design pieces, among them a bookshelf for their smoking room. A matching shelf (though slightly smaller) is part of the designer’s solo booth with Demisch Danant and is the only other version made. “What makes it special is there was only one, as far as we know, that was produced,” said Suzanne Demisch. “We discovered it recently; it uses his more personal and confidential signature so we can only surmise that he made another at the same time.” 

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