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The Present Tense

Pierre Paulin

June 01, 2016

French designer Pierre Paulin’s work has an undeniably seductive quality, as anyone who has reclined into one of his plush, oversized sofas will attest. In recent years the seminal French furniture designer, who once trained as a sculptor and ceramicist, has been increasingly celebrated. Paulin has been rediscovered for his blend of modernism and organic sensuality, reestablished as an exemplar of the sexy low-slung French modern look, which has returned to vogue.

Opening at Galerie Perrotin in New York on June 22, Pierre Paulin surveys some of the designer’s archetypes and limited editions. Pieces include new editions of the 1984 Diwan carpet (from Paulin’s French mountain retreat), sofas he custom-designed in 1968 for a cultural center, and other rare prototypes that never made it to production.

Meanwhile in Paris, The Centre Pompidou is holding its first retrospective of Paulin (who died in 2009) presenting a selection of 100 Paulin chairs. The show chronicles the designer’s wild creativity and material versatility with a vast variety of seating: from ultra-cool pop art inspired modular seating for Artifort to a handsome, never-produced residential concept for Herman Miller. Alongside the ultra-cool conceptual work are plenty of chairs that would look right at home in any cool contemporary interior, including classics such as ‘Tongue,’ ‘Ribbon Chair’ and Mushroom Chairs. Pierre Paulin: cool as only the French can do it.