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Pierre Paulin designed the teal desk, blue sofas, and burgundy task chair for Francois Mitterrand's office in the Elysee Palace. The red modular sofa was for Jacques Chirac. Photography by William Jess Laird.

A Museum’s Pollinator Garden, Rare Pierre Paulin Furniture, and More Finds
by Diana Budds

French Seats of Power at Demisch Danant

Pierre Paulin is a pop icon: His Ribbon chairs furnished the “Blade Runner 2049” sets, his topographic Dune sofa is in Frank Ocean’s living room, and Kanye chose a few of the late French designer sofas for his Yeezy showroom. But he was also entrusted with the very serious and prestigious work of furnishing rooms for French political leaders. Paulin’s work for Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac in the 1980s is the focus of “Formal Disruption,” a new exhibition of state-commissioned tables, desks, chairs, and sofas at Demisch Danant. When Paulin got the call to design Mitterrand’s office in the Elysee Palace, he was experimenting with traditional craftsmanship and historic silhouettes. These references showed up in the office set he designed. There are Empire-style and Art Deco shapes, but Paulin toned down the flourishes and dialed up the color with deep-blue upholstery and teal lacquer adorned with coral stripes. The details are exquisite, from the burgundy caning on a desk chair to the checkerboard marquetry on a coffee table. But you might not immediately recognize them as Paulin designs, unlike the 15-foot-long Maraschino-red sofa Paulin made for Chirac that’s also in the exhibition. Through May 27.

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