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Info

Dec 5 – 9 2018
Booth #G10
Meridian Avenue & 19th Street
Adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center
Miami Beach, USA

Official website

CHARLOTTE PERRIAND

Opening: Thursday, November 1, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Venus Over Manhattan
980 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075

Laffanour / Galerie Downtown, Paris is pleased to present an exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Charlotte Perriand, organized in collaboration with Venus Over Manhattan, New York. The presentation will represent the largest exploration of Perriand’s production to be staged in New York, comprising some fifty works that span the full breadth of Perriand’s nearly eight-decade career. Staged in advance of a number of major institutional exhibitions dedicated to her career, and presented on the heels of the Centre Georges Pompidou’s “L’UAM, Une aventure moderne”, which prominently featured Perriand’s work, the presentation will be on view beginning November 1st.


PHOTOS

FIAC 2018

18 – 21 Octobre 2018
Grand Palais

FIAC Hors les murs

Jean Prouvé, Institut Fénelon Class Room, 1958
October 16 – November 16, 2018

Place de la Concorde, Paris

 


PRESS KIT

-> FIAC Hors les murs 2018, Jean Prouvé, Institut Fénelon Class Room, 1958 – Press Kit (PDF)

 

More info: http://www.fiac.com


 

PHOTOS (FIAC – GRAND PALAIS)


PHOTOS (FIAC Hors les murs – Place de la concorde

Laffanour Galerie Downtown, Paris
18 rue de Seine, 75006. Paris


PRESS KIT

–> Download the press kit


PHOTOS


Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel, Messeplatz
Basel, Switzerland
Booth: G05

Juin 12 – 17 2018.

More infos: http://basel2018.designmiami.com

 

Download the press kit (PDF)

 

LE JAPON À L’HONNEUR

BOOTH #05

CHARLOTTE PERRIAND
KENZO TANGE
ISAMU NOGUCHI
IIZUKA ROKANSAI

DESIGN AT LARGE

À L’OUVERTURE DU SALON
GAETANO PESCE


Charlotte Perriand, Bench, 1966
Structure with two legs in polished steel, seat and back in wooden slats
H. 73 x L. 143 x D. 80 cm

 


Iizuka Rokansai, Hanakago (vase for ikebana), Ca. 1930
Bamboo susudake (smoked bamboo) Tomobako (original box signed by the artist)

 

 

 

Le Japon à l’honneur

CHARLOTTE PERRIAND – KENZO TANGE – ISAMU NOGUCHI – IIZUKA ROKANSAI

DESIGN MIAMI / BASEL 2018

For Design Miami / Basel 2018, which gathers the biggest international design galleries in Basel, François Laffanour will present a selection of furniture.

Among the exceptional masterpieces will be presented a rare bench with a steel structure, designed in 1966 for the private residence of the ambassador of Japan in France (circa 1966), a Kenzo Tange’s chair (1957), Akari the lighting fixtures (1960) desiged by Isamu Noguchi and Hanakago d’IIzuka Rokansi (1930).

 


Kenzo Tange, Chair, 1957
Chair moulded in beech, back in headband, seat upholstered with the original fabric in green/yellow woolblend
H.77 xW.52 xD.54cm

Isamu Noguchi, «Akari» suspension set, Ca. 1960
Circular paper shade from Mino tree pulp (mulberry) Sun Red and Moon Ideogram
Edition Ozeki Company, Gifu, Japan

 


Charlotte Perriand, «En peau» armchair, Ca. 1946
Wooden structure, seat and backrest upholstered in cowhide
Dimensions: H 81 x W 66 x D 56 cm

 

 

DESIGN AT LARGE

LAFFANOUR–GALERIE DOWNTOWN PRÉSENTE ‘DUJARDIN’ PAR GAETANO PESCE

 

 

In 1994, the talented italian designer Gaetano Pesce is commissioned to create the architecture and the interior for Dujardin children store on the Belgian coastline Knokke-Le-Zout. This opportunity allowed Pesce once again to combine utility with joyness, Art and Design, aesthetics with functionality.

In the heart of Deauville of the North, the architect offers us the essence of his artistic research with a succession of colors, lines, shapes and materials perfectly representative of his work, his sense of humor, his style and innovative ideas.

This playful, rich and colorful architecture retains its usefulness, but is armed with a new function. It is no longer just about designing industrialized forms, for Gaetano Pesce design becomes the real support for an artistic, political or social discourse.

Always eager to shake up the codes and common ideas, Pesce continues to surprise us almost 24 years after the creation of Dujardin store.
Galerie Downtown-François Laffanour is delighted to make you discover for the first time his interior architecture for Dujardin Store during Design/Miami, Basel.

 

 

Photographies

 

Du 4 au 8 mai 2018
New York, USA.


Press Kit

–>Press kit (PDF)





Du 10 au 18 Mars 2018.
Maastricht.

 

 

Photographies

 

Forthcoming Exhibition

Freeform

2 February – 29 March 2018

Timothy Taylor is honoured to present Freeform, an exhibition of works by Jean Dubuffet, Simon Hantaï and Charlotte Perriand. Presented is a meeting of art and design through a dialogue of formal structure and organic forms, as defined by three French pioneers working across mediums of painting, sculpture and furniture.

Driven by egalitarian and populist ideals, Charlotte Perriand believed that considered design could have a positive impact on everyday life and, in turn, on society at large. Having rejected the established Beaux-Arts style as a student, Perriand joined Le Corbusier’s studio at the age of 24, which allowed her to pursue an approach to Modernism that brought together both intellectual and material values.

It was following her work with Le Corbusier that Perriand started to develop her ‘Free-Form’ furniture, which harnessed a powerful new approach to design. Taking forms inspired by objects in nature, Perriand generated furniture that was functional, true to raw materials, and responsive to human gestures and interactions. The wooden tables from this period were de ned by organic contours, or geometric shapes softened with rounded corners, which avoided collisions in small spaces. The positioning of the legs closer to the centre also took into consideration the ergonomics of people’s knees when sat at the table.

 

 

The first ‘Free-Form’ table emerged in 1954, shaped in response to Perriand’s small Montparnasse studio. As Perriand’s biographer Jacques Barsac explains, “the Free-Forms themselves demonstrated a poetic functionalism on the human scale in which each form was rigorously tailored to its use and its production method, while retaining a freedom of composition.”

Whilst Perriand was compelled by conscious design and an awareness of surroundings, Jean Dubuffet’s output was largely driven by a productive unconscious. Each of the sculptures exhibited is connected to Hourloupe, Dubuffet’s longest cycle, which first appeared in 1962 and continued through to 1974. Initially executed on paper, Dubuffet’s adventures in automatism resulted in drawings and paintings made up of multiple cells, where each space comes to life both as an individual element, and as a component within a larger structure.

As the Hourloupe series progressed, the images became more corporeal and quickly developed into vast polystyrene sculptures, a material which Dubuffet favoured as it allowed “the light to emanate from the strata”. Though denying an apparent thought process in the initial design, Dubuffet explained how he wanted to give “monumental dimensions to these unrestricted graphics, these graphics that escape from the paper’s surface which usually serves as a support”. In this translation of works on paper into three-dimensional space, Dubuffet wanted to activate a cerebral response where the viewer was not only in front of but inside the image; being integrated in, and directly confronted by, the forces of fantasy and reality. The resulting sculptures engage with notions of nature and artifice. The clean colours and linear outlines retain a connection to graphic drawing, whilst the physical presence engages a hybrid aesthetic that sits between landscape and architecture.

A defining characteristic of the Hourloupe cycle was the manifestation of a belief that there is continuity between objects, places and figures, much like Simon Hantaï ’s Meun paintings which were developed through his ‘pliage’ technique and resulted in bold, amorphous, images of chance.

In 1960, Hantaï first developed ‘pliage’, a technique where the canvas is crumpled and folded, then doused in colourful paint. Later, as the canvas is unfolded, the work is revealed for the first time, with areas of positive and negative space having been determined by the element of chance inherent to this technique. Hantaï explained how he tied the canvas “in the four corners, big knots, and in the middle of the crude bag a string which strangles it”. Unlike the initial ‘pliage’ works, there is no centre or axis in the Meuns; the form is liberated and left open to interpretation with the bold resulting images hinting at a figure, whilst also carrying the spontaneity of their conception.

The Meun paintings followed a year long ‘silence’ during which Hantaï retreated from the Parisian art world, and abstained from painting. In 1966, a move to Meun – a small village in the Fontainbleau Forest – broke this hiatus through the regenerative impact of a new environment, an unfamiliar studio and excellent light, allowing for a surge in energy to develop ‘pliage’. As Hantaï explained, “folding came out of nothing. You simply had to put yourself in the place of those who had never seen anything; put yourself in the canvas. You could ll a folded canvas without knowing where the edge was. You have no idea where it will stop.”

Notes to Editors

Charlotte Perriand

Considered one of the most influential figures in design and architecture from the early Modern movement, Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999) was instrumental in introducing the ‘machine age’ aesthetic to interior design through the steel, aluminium and glass furniture she created at Le Corbusier’s studio in the late 1920s and 1930s. Following this, Perriand continued to experiment with different materials; developing functional furniture for the masses which perfectly balanced utility and beauty.

Perriand’s acclaimed designs include the LC2 Grand Comfort chair and the B306 chaise longue. She has been celebrated through retrospectives at the Design Museum, London and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Simon Hantaï

Born in Bia, near Budapest, in 1922, Simon Hantaï emigrated to France in 1948, where he lived and worked until his death in 2008. Hantaï enjoyed great success in France during his lifetime, culminating in his representing France at the Venice Biennale in 1982. In 2013 the Centre Pompidou, Paris, mounted a major retrospective of Hantaï’s career, which brought his significant artistic contribution to a new and responsive audience. In 2014 further retrospectives were staged in Europe – at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest and the Villa Medici in Rome.

Hantaï’s work is held in public and private collections internationally, including the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington.

Jean Dubuffet

Well-known for founding Art Brut – art produced outside of the confines of academic art – Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) championed the need to continually question the established conditions of art, culture and society. Throughout his life, Dubuffet consistently challenged the canon and convention, and for this reason, his work and ideas remain compelling and relevant.

In his lifetime, Dubuffet was the subject of twelve major museum retrospectives including The Museum of Modern Art (1962); Tate, London (1966); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1966); and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1973, 1981). Dubuffet’s work can be found in more than fifty public collections worldwide.

Laffanour Galerie Downtown, Paris, specialise in furniture by European and American pioneers of design from the 20th Century, and have contributed to this exhibition with a selection of original pieces by Charlotte Perriand.


Intérieur de la galerie Steph Simon, ca. 1960

 

PHOTOGRAPHIES DE L’EXPOSITION

Image credit: Sylvain Deleu. Courtesy Timothy Taylor London/New York.

 

Forthcoming Exhibition

Freeform

2 February – 29 March 2018

Timothy Taylor is honoured to present Freeform, an exhibition of works by Jean Dubuffet, Simon Hantaï and Charlotte Perriand. Presented is a meeting of art and design through a dialogue of formal structure and organic forms, as defined by three French pioneers working across mediums of painting, sculpture and furniture.

Driven by egalitarian and populist ideals, Charlotte Perriand believed that considered design could have a positive impact on everyday life and, in turn, on society at large. Having rejected the established Beaux-Arts style as a student, Perriand joined Le Corbusier’s studio at the age of 24, which allowed her to pursue an approach to Modernism that brought together both intellectual and material values.

It was following her work with Le Corbusier that Perriand started to develop her ‘Free-Form’ furniture, which harnessed a powerful new approach to design. Taking forms inspired by objects in nature, Perriand generated furniture that was functional, true to raw materials, and responsive to human gestures and interactions. The wooden tables from this period were de ned by organic contours, or geometric shapes softened with rounded corners, which avoided collisions in small spaces. The positioning of the legs closer to the centre also took into consideration the ergonomics of people’s knees when sat at the table.

 

The first ‘Free-Form’ table emerged in 1954, shaped in response to Perriand’s small Montparnasse studio. As Perriand’s biographer Jacques Barsac explains, “the Free-Forms themselves demonstrated a poetic functionalism on the human scale in which each form was rigorously tailored to its use and its production method, while retaining a freedom of composition.”

Whilst Perriand was compelled by conscious design and an awareness of surroundings, Jean Dubuffet’s output was largely driven by a productive unconscious. Each of the sculptures exhibited is connected to Hourloupe, Dubuffet’s longest cycle, which first appeared in 1962 and continued through to 1974. Initially executed on paper, Dubuffet’s adventures in automatism resulted in drawings and paintings made up of multiple cells, where each space comes to life both as an individual element, and as a component within a larger structure.

As the Hourloupe series progressed, the images became more corporeal and quickly developed into vast polystyrene sculptures, a material which Dubuffet favoured as it allowed “the light to emanate from the strata”. Though denying an apparent thought process in the initial design, Dubuffet explained how he wanted to give “monumental dimensions to these unrestricted graphics, these graphics that escape from the paper’s surface which usually serves as a support”. In this translation of works on paper into three-dimensional space, Dubuffet wanted to activate a cerebral response where the viewer was not only in front of but inside the image; being integrated in, and directly confronted by, the forces of fantasy and reality. The resulting sculptures engage with notions of nature and artifice. The clean colours and linear outlines retain a connection to graphic drawing, whilst the physical presence engages a hybrid aesthetic that sits between landscape and architecture.

A defining characteristic of the Hourloupe cycle was the manifestation of a belief that there is continuity between objects, places and figures, much like Simon Hantaï ’s Meun paintings which were developed through his ‘pliage’ technique and resulted in bold, amorphous, images of chance.

In 1960, Hantaï first developed ‘pliage’, a technique where the canvas is crumpled and folded, then doused in colourful paint. Later, as the canvas is unfolded, the work is revealed for the first time, with areas of positive and negative space having been determined by the element of chance inherent to this technique. Hantaï explained how he tied the canvas “in the four corners, big knots, and in the middle of the crude bag a string which strangles it”. Unlike the initial ‘pliage’ works, there is no centre or axis in the Meuns; the form is liberated and left open to interpretation with the bold resulting images hinting at a figure, whilst also carrying the spontaneity of their conception.

The Meun paintings followed a year long ‘silence’ during which Hantaï retreated from the Parisian art world, and abstained from painting. In 1966, a move to Meun – a small village in the Fontainbleau Forest – broke this hiatus through the regenerative impact of a new environment, an unfamiliar studio and excellent light, allowing for a surge in energy to develop ‘pliage’. As Hantaï explained, “folding came out of nothing. You simply had to put yourself in the place of those who had never seen anything; put yourself in the canvas. You could ll a folded canvas without knowing where the edge was. You have no idea where it will stop.”

Notes to Editors

Charlotte Perriand

Considered one of the most influential figures in design and architecture from the early Modern movement, Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999) was instrumental in introducing the ‘machine age’ aesthetic to interior design through the steel, aluminium and glass furniture she created at Le Corbusier’s studio in the late 1920s and 1930s. Following this, Perriand continued to experiment with different materials; developing functional furniture for the masses which perfectly balanced utility and beauty.

Perriand’s acclaimed designs include the LC2 Grand Comfort chair and the B306 chaise longue. She has been celebrated through retrospectives at the Design Museum, London and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Simon Hantaï

Born in Bia, near Budapest, in 1922, Simon Hantaï emigrated to France in 1948, where he lived and worked until his death in 2008. Hantaï enjoyed great success in France during his lifetime, culminating in his representing France at the Venice Biennale in 1982. In 2013 the Centre Pompidou, Paris, mounted a major retrospective of Hantaï’s career, which brought his significant artistic contribution to a new and responsive audience. In 2014 further retrospectives were staged in Europe – at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest and the Villa Medici in Rome.

Hantaï’s work is held in public and private collections internationally, including the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington.

Jean Dubuffet

Well-known for founding Art Brut – art produced outside of the confines of academic art – Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) championed the need to continually question the established conditions of art, culture and society. Throughout his life, Dubuffet consistently challenged the canon and convention, and for this reason, his work and ideas remain compelling and relevant.

In his lifetime, Dubuffet was the subject of twelve major museum retrospectives including The Museum of Modern Art (1962); Tate, London (1966); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1966); and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1973, 1981). Dubuffet’s work can be found in more than fifty public collections worldwide.

Laffanour Galerie Downtown, Paris, specialise in furniture by European and American pioneers of design from the 20th Century, and have contributed to this exhibition with a selection of original pieces by Charlotte Perriand.


Intérieur de la galerie Steph Simon, ca. 1960

 
 

Image credit: Sylvain Deleu. Courtesy Timothy Taylor London/New York.

 

PHOTOGRAPHIES DE L’EXPOSITION

 


Galerie Downtown François Laffanour, in partnership with Dior Homme and The Webster, hosted a private dinner to celebrate the launch of Black Carpet collection and Art Basel Miami Beach.

The dinner was held in the presence of Kris Van Assche, Laure Hériard Dubreuil and François Laffanour.
To mark the event, the Webster had welcomed an installation of the original Akari Light sculptures by American-Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi. Belonging to Galerie Downtown, six of the lamps have been customized using photographs of flowers taken by Kris Van Assche, applied on the lamps in the style of an urban street collage. The lamps are now displayed in the Dior Homme boutique in Miami’s Design District for the duration of Art Basel Miami Beach.

The guests of the dinner included Asap Rocky, Woodkid, Ricky Martin, Jwan Yosef, Cordell Broadus, Mia Moretti, Olivier Dwek, Hubert Bonnet, Rodman Primack, Adam Lindemann, Alexandra Roos, Stefano Tonchi and Amy Astley.

Photo credit: Saskia Lawaks and Emilio Collavino

Info

Dec 6 – 10 2017
Booth #G13
Meridian Avenue & 19th Street
Adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center
Miami Beach, USA

Official website


Press kit

–>Press kit (PDF)


Photos

 

Ettore Sottsass, mobilier

Laffanour Galerie Downtown, Paris
18 rue de Seine, 75006. Paris


PHOTOGRAPHIES DE L’EXPO

 

FIAC 2017

19 – 22 Octobre 2017
Grand Palais – Stand 0.D46

 


Communiqué de presse/Press kit

–> Communiqué de presse (PDF – français)

 


Plus d’infos : http://www.fiac.com


PHOTOGRAPHIES DU STAND

 

Grand Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill
Paris, France

From September 11th to September 17th 2017.

More infos: http://www.biennale-paris.com

 


During the year 2016, the architectural work of Le Corbusier was recognized as World Heritage of UNESCO. For the Biennale des Antiquaires 2017 at the Grand Palais, François La anour, presents a speci c scenography in tribute to Le Corbusier.

It will feature an exceptional sculpture by Le Corbusier surrounded by important pieces by Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé and Pierre Jeanneret.

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret known as Le Corbusier (1887-1965) is identi ed above all as an architect, through all his international work that has recently been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage. He was also a great painter who was the leader of the Purist movement. From his furniture, there are very few pieces edited. Most of them are editions made from the 1920’s to 1950’s, which are added furniture designed for special orders, often in series.

After exhibiting two rare tapestries designed around 1950, the gallery exhibits the sculpture ‘Ozon Opus I’, made in 1947 and kept in the family of his cabinetmaker and friend : Joseph Savina. Polychrome wood, monogrammed and dated, this masterpiece is named as the Pyrenean village: Ozon, where Le Corbusier had step down in 1940. Jean Prouvé (1901-1984), broad mind, both engineer and builder, worked on the industrialization of prefabricated building elements. He was also very interested in creating furniture that is functional and accessible to everyone, creating standard furniture as well as special orders. A oor bookcase designed in 1951, forming a desk for Villa Dollander, will be presented. Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), one of the main gures of 1950s design, a free and committed woman, was devoted to creating furniture combining modern lines with traditional materials and techniques. One of its agship furniture: the table of «Free- form» of which a model is exposed. It belonged to a great architect of the Reconstruction, which acquired it in 1960 from the Steph Simon gallery.

Several iconic pieces by Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967), Le Corbusier’s right-hand man but also his cousin, and also contemporary pieces, such as a sculpture by Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) or lighting by Serge Mouille (1922-1988) are exhibited.

All the pieces will be presented in a very attractive setting, in the architectural tradition that has made the reputation of the displays at Downtown gallery.

 


Communiqué de presse/Press kit

–> Communiqué de presse (français)
–> Press Kit (english)

 


PHOTOS OF OUR BOOTH

 







We are happy to announce our collaboration with Nicholas Hall gallery, a major dealer of Old Master Paintings in New York. Although the combination of 20th-century furniture and Post-War painting has been popular for some years, this is the first time a dealer has juxtaposed European Master paintings and sculpture with modern furniture. This way of displaying both art forms will show that old paintings of real quality look timelessly impressive in a modern setting and, conversely, the enduring, classic qualities of design furniture are reinforced by their dialogue with master paintings and sculpture.

NICHOLAS HALL
17 East 76th Street
New York, New York 10021
+1 212 772 9100
info@nicholashjhall.com

Website: http://www.nicholashjhall.com

Photos

Basel-Miami-2017

Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel, Messeplatz
Basel, Switzerland
Booth: G05

From June 13th to June 18th 2017.

More info: http://basel2017.designmiami.com

 

Communiqué de presse/Press kit

–> Communiqué de presse (français)
–> Press Kit (english)

 

PHOTOGRAPHIES

couverture-catalogue-wilson

Robert Wilson : Glass Work

Par Françoise Guichon

Robert Wilson passionné par le verre…, désireux de s’y essayer… C’est ce que m’apprenait en 1994 un message de Paula Cooper, contactée pour un autre projet.
Robert Wilson occupe une toute première place au panthéon des artistes qui, au début des années 70 ont, en France, changé le regard d’une génération, et cela bien au delà du théâtre. Il fut, avec Trisha Brown, l’un des premiers contacts marquants que nous ayons eu avec l’avant garde américaine.
Invité par Jack Lang en 1971 il crée à Nancy « Le Regard du Sourd », spectacle de sept heures présenté quelques mois plus tard à Paris. Pour ma part, c’est à Annemasse que je le découvrais en 1974 avec « Lettre à la Reine Victoria ». C’était deux ans après la « Documenta de 72 ». Les chocs intellectuels et émotionnels ressentis à Kassel trouvaient dans la dimension onirique du temps et espace propre à son univers comme une mystérieuse et fascinante résonnance intérieure. En 1976 ce fut, à Avignon, l’éblouissement de « Einstein on the Beach » et, depuis, et jusqu’à ce jour, tant de créations inoubliables qui ne cessent de surprendre là où, comme c’est le cas pour un vieil ami, nous pensions déjà tout connaître. Car si Bob Wilson est le maître des structures les plus simples, il est aussi celui des variations, des nuances infinies que l’on peux y apporter, de la subtile alliance des contraires et des renversements, ce que nous verrons dans son travail avec le verre.
Lorsque j’appris que Bob Wilson était intéressé par le verre au point de souhaiter s’y confronter ma surprise fût grande et je m’empressais de lui dire que, quoi qu’il désire faire, et même s’il n‘en avait aucune idée, le CIRVA serait heureux de se mettre sans réserve à sa disposition. Pendant plus de dix ans, de 1994 à 2005, il fréquenta avec assiduité l’atelier, autant que ses déplacements incessants aux quatre coins du monde le lui permettaient, quelques jours, un week end, parfois presqu’une semaine et cela une ou deux fois par an. L’ensemble des pièces furent réalisées en sa présence et si elles sortaient du four après son départ, sans qu’il ait pu les voir, il les découvrait à son retour, en dirigeait la finition jusqu’au dernier détail, la coupe, le polissage, le traitement de surface. Enfin, lorsqu’elles purent être toutes rassemblées, il les examina très longuement avant de prendre la décision de les garder ou non.
Avant sa venue à Marseille, il avait eu l’occasion de voir travailler Lino Tagliapietra, le plus célèbre de part le monde des maîtres verriers originaires de Murano. Il en admirait l’extraordinaire virtuosité, appréciait la légèreté et la tension des formes qu’il avait crées et qui, aujourd’hui, sont copiées sans réserve comme si elles faisaient partie du patrimoine de Murano depuis toujours. La précision des gestes et des déplacements de Lino, alliée à une concentration extrême, avait tellement impressionné Bob Wilson que parfois il se plaisait à l’imiter faisant ainsi entendre en un éclair à son interlocuteur là où se situait sa connivence avec le maestro.
Lino Tagliapietra venait alors régulièrement travailler au CIRVA. Sa collaboration était pour notre petite équipe comme pour les artistes invités une immense joie et un appui infiniment précieux.
Les premières séances de travail de Bob Wilson virent donc la rencontre, pleine de respect réciproque, de deux « monstres sacrés » venus de domaines apparemment bien éloignés l’un de l’autre. Face aux fours, royaume de Lino, Bob avait planté son sketch board. Armé de pastels gras de couleur il dessinait des vases ou plus exactement des tourbillons de lignes qui, autour d’un axe invisible concentraient l’énergie de spirales qui finissaient par faire corps.
Pour Bob Wilson la danse est au cœur du vivant comme de son œuvre. Observant les déplacements de Lino et de ses assistants, leurs va et vient incessants du four au banc qui dessinaient au sol comme une arabesque invisible, les mouvements de la canne balancée dans l’espace, dressée, puis abaissée avant d’être remise entre les mains du maestro assis à son banc de soufflage pour pouvoir tourner horizontalement la paraison de verre, les gestes, incompréhensibles pour un profane, de sa main calfeutrée de papier mouillé ou prolongée d’outils de bois ou de métal, les moments d’attente et d’immobilité qui soudain viennent rompre l’extrême vivacité du tempo, la répétition des mêmes gestes, enfin tout dans ce ballet, portait Bob Wilson a s’approprier cette matière inconnue, par le biais du geste et du mouvement.
Avec ses premiers dessins, tourbillon de lignes générant une forme comme sui generis, sans doute pensait-il pouvoir transcrire directement dans la matière, l’énergie émanant de cette grande mécanique. Il ne mesurait pas que chacun de ces gestes précis, s’inscrivaient avec la même précision dans la matière sans qu’aucune place ne soit laissée à la spontanéité. Il ignorait alors qu’introduire de la liberté dans ce processus parfaitement réglé est la chose la plus invraisemblable que l’on puisse envisager de réaliser et de réussir. La part de liberté autorisée par le verre soufflé se cantonne à des interventions de détail ou de décor. Introduire de la dissymétrie, là où règne la symétrie, déstabiliser l’intégrité d’une forme que tout tend à porter à sa perfection demande des trésors de ruse et d’invention.
Bob Wilson fut déçu par les résultats obtenus. Les enroulements de verre avaient perdus toute spontanéité, leur mouvement s’était crispé, était devenu maladroit et, de l’accumulation des lignes, naissait l’idée d’une confusion et non l’élan d’énergie attendu.
Il abandonna sa première approche réalisant que les règles imposées par la matière et par le métier devaient être prises pour ce qu’elles sont. Pour arriver à ses fins il fallait les apprivoiser ou les contourner. C’est ce que fit lorsque, plus tard, il trouva, avec le « concept n° 7 », une solution toute wilsonienne à son projet initial.
Il demanda au souffleur d’enrouler un large ruban, et non plus un mince fil de verre, autour d’un cylindre creux puis de l’écraser, en le faisant rouler sur une plaque de métal, pour faire entrer cet enroulement sauvage dans l’épure parfaite d’un plus grand cylindre. La tension entre liberté du geste et stricte géométrie était là, rendue à son maximum.
Entre temps, grâce à cette première tentative infructueuse, Bob Wilson avait compris ce qu’est l’essence du travail du verre : la mise en forme d’une matière en fusion tirée d’un creuset au bout d’une canne, incandescente, mouvante et instable et qui, en quelques secondes, se fige en une forme immobile, définitive. Ainsi initié il était libre d’explorer, avec ce nouveau media, et donc sous de nouvelles formes, les invariants de son travail : tension fondatrice entre mouvement et immobilité, entre ce qui se transforme et ce qui demeure, entre ombre et lumière. Il avait trouvé avec le verre, une matière sœur.
Il ne fit plus de grands dessins et les pastels de couleur furent rangés. De petits croquis indiquaient au souffleur la forme souhaitée, un trait de crayon noir estompé au doigt avec la plus grande attention précisait son volume, la nature de sa surface, mais surtout l’esprit vers lequel il devait tendre.
Voilà ce que Bob Wilson écrivait il y a un an alors que je l’interrogeais, bien tard, sur son attachement à la céramique et au verre :
“I like ceramics because I think it must be beautiful to work with clay and earth in one’s hands, but I much prefer glass. The heaviness and the lightness can be extreme. I like the strictness of the curved line as it is seen in geometry.
There are only 2 lines: curved and straight. That is a part of classical construction: buildings/trees, protagonist/antagonist. Time for me is a line that goes from the center of the earth to the heavens. Space is a horizontal line. This cross is the basic architecture of everything. It is the stripe of Barnett Newman, a piano key being played, the drip of milk in a Vermeer painting, or Jesus Christ on a cross. Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs are based on the vertical and the horizontal, or a triangle that can be drawn from the top center to the edges of the bottom.“
Les soixante dix sept vases soufflées au CIRVA, comme les pièces coulées, destinées au sol, sont chacun et chacune l’expression de ce propos qui donne à entendre ce qui attache si fort Bob Wilson à ce matériau.
Il explore pièce après pièce, les variations des principes énoncés dans ces quelques mots et les organise, à postériori, par famille, en « concepts » qu’il numérote sans observer la chronologie de leur ordre d’apparition. C’est en effet une œuvre conceptuelle et sensible, qui participe entièrement de son univers, qu’il a produit avec le verre pendant les dix années où il est venu travailler au CIRVA.
Courbe et ligne droite sont là, dans tous les vases en verre soufflé et dans toutes les pièces au sol faites de verre coulé et plein. La courbe se développe dans la verticalité et se transforme en ligne droite horizontalement, en leur sommet pour les premiers et, inversement, à leur base pour les seconds. Le passage entre horizontale et verticale se joue différemment selon les concepts. La courbe du concept n°6, mis au point avec un verre très fin par Lino Tagliapietra, se transforme en ligne droite dans l’axe vertical avant de se retourner à angle droit autour d’une ouverture minimum, prouesse de savoir faire bien que rien n’y paraisse. Ailleurs, la savante simplicité de la courbe, plus ou moins ronde ou ovalisée, se renverse avec douceur lorsque retournée à la main ou, s’interrompt brutalement lorsque le haut du vase est coupé à la scie et révèle sur sa tranche l’importance de son épaisseur.
Le verre peut, indifféremment, être fin ou épais rappelle Bob Wilson. Chacune de ses pièces explore cette bivalence qui pourrait sembler être une donnée presque anodine si tant d’autres propriétés n’en dépendaient pas.
C’est le cas pour l’une d’entre elles dont Bob Wilson ne parle pas. Peut être lui est-elle tellement familière et façonne t-elle si profondément sa conception de l’espace qu’il oublie d’en faire état ? Cette propriété du verre, qui le rend si proche de son univers est la capacité qu’il a de transmettre et de refléter simultanément la lumière, d’être transparent ou opaque, Il ne fait pas état non plus non d’une autre capacité liée à la précédente, celle de diffuser la couleur tout en la retenant pour partie et de créer ainsi des effets dont seule l’union du ciel et de l’eau peut donner dans la nature une équivalence passagère.
Chaque vase est l’expression d’un moment particulier de lumière. Les premiers fins et de grandes dimensions, sont sans couleur ajoutée, leur surface a été légèrement satinée à la main comme d’une caresse de légère buée. Ailleurs l’on pourra voir les reflets de l’aube sur un étang, un léger brouillard, le halo opale de la lune, tous les états de lumière offerts par le ciel et l’eau, à l’infini. La matière pleine des pièces au sol coulées encore empreintes du sable de leurs moules parfois chargés d’oxydes évoqueront les reflets et les éclats de corps métalliques ou célestes. Comment ne pas penser aussi à la lumière contenue dans l’eau des pierres et des perles mais aussi à celles des spectacles de Bob Wilson telles qu’elles sont entrées dans notre imaginaire, les lumières dorées de El Galigo, celles bleutées de Black Rider, grises de Dream Play, légèrement mauve de Lulu. L’importance que Bob Wilson accorde à l’éclairage de ses mises en scène et qui l’a conduit à des innovations sublimes, largement enviées, pauvrement copiées, mais qui sont reconnaissables entre toutes, se retrouve ici au cœur de ses pièces.
Au premier regard les pièces réalisées au CIRVA par Bob Wilson peuvent sembler banales. Elles peuvent, pour certaines, rappeler les subtilités savantes des couleurs de Laura de Santillana dont il possède quelques pièces dans sa collection, pour d’autres, évoquer la finesse et la tension des lignes de Lino Tagliapetra dont il a également plusieurs pièces, d’autres encore semblent être un hommage à František Wizner auquel Bob avait souhaité rendre visite dans son repère loin, au cœur de la Slovaquie. La lumière immatérielle irradiant des pièces de ce mystique du verre ne pouvait que le toucher profondément.
Il faut dire ici l’importance que représente pour Bob Wilson le fait de collectionner, d’acquérir et de s’entourer d’objets très précisément désirés par lui. Ces objets d’art, ces objets de la vie quotidienne, ces images, sont pour lui une nourriture essentielle, vitale, une ressource émotionnelle et personnelle et une source de réflexion pour son travail. Il s’en empare avec respect et avidité pour identifier, sous d’autres formes, sa conception de l’espace, pour l’enrichir aussi. Retrouver la présence explicite ou la trace plus souterraine de ces objets dans son œuvre est une chose naturelle et nous sommes bien loin d’un simple « magasin d’accessoires ». Lorsque Bob Wilson choisit un objet, le fait apparaître sur la scène au moment des répétitions, s’inspire de sa géométrie, de son schéma de construction, de l’un des aspects de son apparence c’est pour lui une façon de le reconnaître et de le célébrer. L’usage qu’il en fait établit une connivence profonde, par delà le temps, l’espace, la diversité des cultures, entre lui et les artisans et artistes qui les ont crée.
Les objets en verre de Robert Wilson entretiennent certes un dialogue discret avec ses prédécesseurs et avec des savoirs faire ancestraux mais c’est avant tout avec lui même qu’il établit à travers eux un dialogue, avec sa sensibilité et avec sa conception de l’espace de représentation. Ils sont comme une confidence murmurée sur l’essence de sa quête.
A la suite de Lino Tagliapietra, de 1994 à 2005 se sont succédés au CIRVA pour réaliser les pièces de Bob Wilson, les souffleurs : Naomi et Fumiaki Uzawa, Jeff Zimmerman, Pavel Cajthamel, Matteo Gonet, assistés par l’ensemble des techniciens du CIRVA.
Durant cette période, Hanneke Fokkelman jusqu’en 2001 puis, Pierre Hessman, ont suivis l’ensemble des travaux.


Robert Wilson: Glass Works

By Françoise Guichon

Robert Wilson is passionate about glass…, keen to try his hand at it… This is what a message from Paula Cooper, whom I’d contacted about another project, told me in 1994.
Robert Wilson occupies a topmost rung in the pantheon of artists who, in the early 1970s, changed the way a whole generation in France looked at things, and well beyond theatre, to boot. Together with Trisha Brown, he was one of the first influential contacts we had with the American avant-garde.
In Nancy, in 1971, at the invitation of Jack Lang (at that time director of the Nancy University Theatre, and a decade later President Mitterrand’s Minister of Culture), he created “Le Regard du Sourd” [“Deafman Glance”], a seven-hour show that was presented in Paris some months later. As far as I am concerned, it was in Annemasse, in 1974, that I discovered Robert Wilson with his “Letter to Queen Victoria”. That was two years after the 1972 Documenta 5. The intellectual and emotional impact felt in Kassel found something akin to a mysterious and fascinating inner resonance in the dreamlike dimension of time and space peculiar to his world. In 1976, Avignon was the stage for the bedazzlement of “Einstein on the Beach”, and since then, right up to the present day, so many unforgettable works have been forever taking people and audiences by surprise, precisely where we thought we already knew everything there was to know, just like with an old friend. Because if Bob Wilson is the pastmaster of the simplest of structures, he is also peerless when it comes to the variations and infinite nuances that can be brought to them, the subtle marriage of opposites and reversals, which we shall see in his work with glass.
When I learnt that Bob Wilson was interested in glass, to the point of wanting to grapple with it, I was greatly surprised, and I hastened to tell him that, whatever he wanted to do, and even if he had no idea what he wanted to do, the CIRVA [International Centre for Glass and Plastic Arts Research] would be delighted to be unconditionally at his beck and call. For more than ten years, from 1994 to 2005, he assiduously attended the workshop, as much as his ceaseless travels all over the world allowed him, for a day or two, or a weekend, and sometimes almost a whole week—and his visits happened once or twice a year. All the pieces were produced in his presence and if they were removed from the furnace after he had left, without having had a chance to see them, he would discover them when he returned, and take charge of their finish down to the last detail, including the cutting, the polishing and the surface treatment. Last of all, when they could all be brought together, he examined them at great length before deciding whether to hang on to them or not.
Before he went to Marseille, he had had a chance to see Lino Tagliapietra at work—the most famous of the master glassmakers and artists hailing from Murano. Bob Wilson admired his extraordinary virtuosity, and appreciated the lightness and tension of the shapes he created, which are nowadays copied without so much as a by-your-leave, as if they have forever been part and parcel of the legacy of Murano. The precision of Lino’s gestures and movements, combined with an extreme concentration, so impressed Bob Wilson that at times he enjoyed copying him, thus, in a flash, letting his interlocutor know precisely that he was in cahoots with the maestro.
In those days, Lino Tagliapietra went regularly to work at the CIRVA. For our small team, as for guest artists, his collaboration was a huge pleasure and an infinitely precious form of support.
Bob Wilson’s early work sessions thus saw the meeting, filled with mutual respect, of two “superstars” coming from spheres apparently well removed from one another. Bob would set up his sketchboard opposite the furnaces—Lino’s realm. Armed with thick coloured pastels, he drew vases or, more exactly, whirlwinds of lines which, around an invisible axis, focused the energy of spirals which all converged in the end.
For Bob Wilson, dance lies at the heart of the living world, and of his own work. In observing Lino’s movements, and those of his assistants, with their endless toings and froings from furnace to workbench, creating something akin to an invisible arabesque on the floor, with the motions of the blowpipe swaying in space, raised and then lowered before being returned to the hands of the maestro sitting at his blower’s bench so that he could horizontally turn the glass gob or parison, the gestures—incomprehensible for any layman—of his hand swaddled in wet paper, or extended by wooden and metal tools, the moments of waiting and motionlessness suddenly broken by the extreme briskness of the pace of things, the repetition of the same gestures, in a word, everything in that balletic dance prompted Bob Wilson to appropriate for himself that unknown matter, through gesture and movement.
With his first drawings, vortices of lines creating a form all of its own, he probably thought he could transcribe the energy emanating from that grand mechanics straight into the matter. He did not gauge the fact that each one of those precise gestures was incorporated with the same precision in the matter, with no room whatsoever being left for spontaneity. In those early days, he did not realize that to introduce freedom into that thoroughly well-ordered process was the most improbable thing that anyone might envisage doing, and bringing off. The share of freedom authorized by blown glass is confined to intrusions of detail and décor. Introducing dissymmetry, precisely where symmetry reigns, and destabilizing the integrity of a shape, which everything is striving to take to its perfection, calls for great troves of wiliness and inventiveness.
Bob Wilson was disappointed by the results. The way the glass was rolled had lost all spontaneity, its movement was strained and had become clumsy, and from the accumulation of lines there came into being the idea of a confusion, and not the expected burst of energy.
He abandoned his initial approach, realizing that the rules dictated by the matter and the craft had to be accepted for what they were. To get where he wanted to go, he would have to either harness those rules, or bypass them. This is what came to pass when, later on, with his “concept no7”, he found a thoroughly Wilsonian solution to his initial project.
He asked the glassblower to roll a broad ribbon, and no longer a thin thread of glass, around a hollow cylinder, and then crush it, by making it roll over a metal sheet, in order to fit this wild rolling into the perfect blueprint of a larger cylinder. The tension between the freedom of the gesture and strict geometry was there, in its maximum state.
Meanwhile, because of that first fruitless attempt, Bob Wilson had learnt what the essence of glass-working was: the shaping of molten matter, drawn from a crucible or pot at the end of a blowpipe or blowing iron, white-hot, moving and unstable, which, in just a few seconds, becomes frozen in a definitive and immoveable form. Thus initiated, he was free to explore, with that new medium, and thus in new forms, the invariants of his work: basic tension between motion and motionlessness, between what is transformed and what remains the same, between light and shade. With glass, he had found a sister matter.
He no longer made large drawings, and he put away his coloured pastels. Small sketches would suggest the desired shape to the glassblower, a pencil line, most carefully smudged with the finger, specified its volume, and the kind of surface it would have, but above all the spirit towards which the craftsman should focus.
This is what Bob Wilson wrote a year ago, when I was asking him, at a very late hour, about his attachment to ceramics and glass:
“I like ceramics because I think it must be beautiful to work with clay and earth in one’s hands, but I much prefer glass. The heaviness and the lightness can be extreme. I like the strictness of the curved line as it is seen in geometry.
There are only 2 lines: curved and straight. That is a part of classical construction: buildings/trees, protagonist/antagonist. Time for me is a line that goes from the center of the earth to the heavens. Space is a horizontal line. This cross is the basic architecture of everything. It is the stripe of Barnett Newman, a piano key being played, the drip of milk in a Vermeer painting, or Jesus Christ on a cross. Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs are based on the vertical and the horizontal, or a triangle that can be drawn from the top center to the edges of the bottom.”
Each and every one of the 77 vases blown at the CIRVA, like the cast pieces designed to be set on the floor, was the expression of this idea which conveyed what connects Bob Wilson so powerfully to this matter.
Piece after piece, he explored the variations of the principles declared in those few lines, and organized them, after the fact, in families and “concepts” which he numbered without sticking to the chronology of the order in which they appeared. This is actually a conceptual and perceptible oeuvre, and as such a fully-fledged part of his world—and one which he produced with glass during the ten years when he went to work at the CIRVA.
Curve and straight line are there, in all the vases made of blown glass and in all the floor pieces made with cast and solid glass. The curve is developed in the verticality and turned into a straight line horizontally, at the top where the former are concerned, and, conversely, at the base where the latter are concerned. The shift between horizontal and vertical is enacted in different ways depending on the concepts involved. The curve in concept no6, developed with a very fine glass by Lino Tagliapietra, is turned into a straight line in the vertical axis before turning at right angles around a very small opening, a feat of expertise, though there is nothing to suggest as much. Elsewhere, the shrewd simplicity of the curve, more or less round or oval, is gently upset when turned around by hand, or abruptly interrupted when the top of the vase is cut by a saw and reveals on its edge the degree of its thickness.
Glass, as we are reminded by Bob Wilson, may be equally thick or thin. Each one of his pieces explores this bivalence which might seem to be an almost insignificant datum, were it not that so many other properties depended on it.
This is the case with one piece which Bob Wilson does not talk about. Perhaps he is so familiar with it, and perhaps it so deeply fashions his conception of space, that he forgets to mention it? This property of glass, which makes it so close to his world, is the capacity it has to simultaneously transmit and reflect light, and be transparent or opaque. Nor does he mention another capacity linked with the above, that of diffusing colour while partly holding it back, and thus creating effects which only the union of sky and water can offer a fleeting equivalence of, in nature.
Every vase is the expression of a particular moment of light. The first ones, fine and large, are without any added colour, and their surface has been lightly satin-finished by hand, as if caressed by light condensation. Elsewhere we might see the reflections of dawn on a pond, a light fog, the opal halo of the moon, all the states of light offered by sky and water, ad infinitum. The solid matter of the cast floor pieces, still marked by the sand of their moulds sometimes filled with oxides, will conjure up the highlights and dazzles of metal or celestial bodies. How is it possible not to also think of the light contained in the water of stones and pearls, but also of the forms of light of Bob Wilson’s shows, the way they have made their way into our imagination, the golden lights of El Galigo, the bluish lights of Black Rider, the grey ones of Dream Play, and the slightly mauve light of Lulu. The importance that Bob Wilson attaches to the lighting of his productions, leading him to sublime innovations, much envied and poorly copied, but recognizable among all the rest, here lies at the heart of his pieces.
At first glance, the pieces produced at the CIRVA by Bob Wilson may seem commonplace. For some, they may call to mind the clever subtleties of Laura de Santillana’s colours—he has some of her works in his collection–, for others, they may conjure up the refinement and tension of Lina Tagliapietra’s lines—several of whose works he also owns–, and for others still they seem to be a tribute to František Wizner, whom Bob was keen to visit in his remote retreat, in the heart of Slovakia. The immaterial light radiating from the pieces made by that mystic of glass could not fail to deeply touch him.
At this juncture, we should make mention of the importance represented for Bob Wilson by the fact of collecting, acquiring, and surrounding himself with objects very specifically desired by him. These art objects, everyday objects and images are, for him, an essential and vital stuff, an emotional and personal resource, and a source of reflection for his own work. He appropriates them with both respect and eagerness, in order to identify, in other forms, his conception of space, and also enhance it. Rediscovering the explicit presence and more lurking trace of these objects in his oeuvre is something quite natural, and we are well removed from a mere “warehouse of props”. When Bob Wilson chooses an object, presents it on stage during rehearsals, and draws inspiration from its geometry, its construction plan, and one of the aspects of its appearance, this, for him, is a way of recognizing and celebrating it. The use he makes of it establishes a deep-seated connivance, beyond time and space, and the diversity of cultures, between him and the artists and craftsmen who have created them.
Robert Wilson’s glass objects do indeed carry on a discreet dialogue with his predecessors and with ancestral areas of know-how, but it is above all with himself that, through them, he sets up a discussion, with his sensibility and with his conception of the representational space. They are like a whispered secret about the essence of his quest.
In the wake of Lino Tagliapietra, the following glassblowers were at work at the CIRVA between 1994 and 2005 to produce Bob Wilson’s pieces: Naomi and Fumiaki Uzawa, Jeff Zimmermann, Pavel Cajthamel, and Matteo Gonet, assisted by all the CIRVA technicians.
During that period, Hanneke Fokkelman monitored all the works produced up until 2001, when Pierre Hessman took over the task.

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BOB WILSON, Glass works

« Robert Wilson passionné par le verre…, désireux de s’y essayer… ». C’est ce que m’apprenait en 1994 un message de Paula Cooper, contactée pour un autre projet.

Robert Wilson occupe une toute première place au panthéon des artistes qui, au début des années 70 ont, en France, changé le regard d’une génération, et cela bien au delà du théâtre. Il fut, avec Trisha Brown, l’un des premiers contacts marquants que nous ayons eu avec l’avant garde américaine.
Invité par Jack Lang en 1971 il crée à Nancy « Le Regard du Sourd », spectacle de sept heures présenté quelques mois plus tard à Paris. Pour ma part, c’est à Annemasse que je le découvrais en 1974 avec « Lettre à la Reine Victoria ». C’était deux ans après la « Documenta de 72 ». Les chocs intellectuels et émotionnels ressentis à Kassel trouvaient dans la dimension onirique du temps et espace propre à son univers comme une mystérieuse et fascinante résonnance intérieure. En 1976 ce fut, à Avignon, l’éblouissement de « Einstein on the Beach » et, depuis, et jusqu’à ce jour, tant de créations inoubliables qui ne cessent de surprendre là où, comme c’est le cas pour un vieil ami, nous pensions déjà tout connaître. Car si Bob Wilson est le maître des structures les plus simples, il est aussi celui des variations, des nuances infinies que l’on peux y apporter, de la subtile alliance des contraires et des renversements, ce que nous verrons dans son travail avec le verre.
Lorsque j’appris que Bob Wilson était intéressé  par le verre au point de souhaiter s’y confronter ma surprise fût grande et je m’empressais de lui dire que, quoiqu’il désire faire, et même s’il n‘en avait aucune idée, le CIRVA serait heureux de se mettre sans réserve à sa disposition. Pendant plus de dix ans, de 1994 à 2005, il fréquenta avec assiduité l’atelier, autant que ses déplacements incessants aux quatre coins du monde le lui permettaient, quelques jours, un week end, parfois presqu’une semaine et cela une ou deux fois par an. L’ensemble des pièces furent réalisées en sa présence et si elles sortaient du four après son départ, sans qu’il ait pu les voir, il les découvrait à son retour, en dirigeait la finition jusqu’au dernier détail, la coupe, le polissage, le traitement de surface. Enfin, lorsqu’elles purent être toutes rassemblées, il les examina très longuement avant de prendre la décision de les garder ou non.
Avant sa venue à Marseille, il avait eu l’occasion de voir travailler Lino Tagliapietra, le plus célèbre de part le monde des maîtres verriers originaires de Murano. Il en admirait l’extraordinaire virtuosité, appréciait la légèreté et la tension des formes qu’il avait crées et qui, aujourd’hui, sont copiées sans réserve comme si elles faisaient partie du patrimoine de Murano depuis toujours. La précision des gestes et des déplacements de Lino, alliée à une concentration extrême, avait tellement impressionné Bob Wilson que parfois il se plaisait à l’imiter faisant ainsi entendre en un éclair à son interlocuteur là où se situait sa connivence avec le maestro.
Lino Tagliapietra venait alors régulièrement travailler au CIRVA. Sa collaboration était pour notre petite équipe comme pour les artistes invités une immense joie et un appui infiniment précieux.
Les premières séances de travail de Bob Wilson virent donc la rencontre, pleine de respect réciproque, de deux « monstres sacrés » venus de domaines apparemment bien éloignés l’un de l’autre. Face aux fours, royaume de Lino, Bob avait planté son sketch board. Armé de pastels gras de couleur il dessinait des vases ou plus exactement des tourbillons de lignes qui, autour d’un axe invisible concentraient l’énergie de spirales qui finissaient par faire corps.
Pour Bob Wilson la danse est au cœur du vivant comme de son œuvre. Observant les déplacements de Lino et de ses assistants, leurs va et vient incessants du four au banc qui dessinaient au sol comme une arabesque invisible, les mouvements de la canne balancée dans l’espace, dressée, puis abaissée avant d’être remise entre les mains du maestro assis à son banc de soufflage pour pouvoir tourner horizontalement la paraison de verre, les gestes, incompréhensibles pour un profane, de sa main calfeutrée de papier mouillé ou prolongée d’outils de bois ou de métal, les moments d’attente et d’immobilité qui soudain viennent rompre l’extrême vivacité du tempo, la répétition des mêmes gestes, enfin tout dans ce ballet, portait Bob Wilson a s’approprier cette matière inconnue, par le biais du geste et du mouvement.
Avec ses premiers dessins, tourbillon de lignes générant une forme comme sui generis, sans doute pensait-il pouvoir transcrire directement dans la matière, l’énergie émanant de cette grande mécanique. Il ne mesurait pas que chacun de ces gestes précis, s’inscrivaient avec la même précision dans la matière sans qu’aucune place ne soit laissée à la spontanéité. Il ignorait alors qu’introduire de la liberté dans ce processus parfaitement réglé est la chose la plus invraisemblable que l’on puisse envisager de réaliser et de réussir. La part de liberté autorisée par le verre soufflé se cantonne à des interventions de détail ou de décor. Introduire de la dissymétrie, là où règne la symétrie, déstabiliser l’intégrité d’une forme que tout tend à porter à sa perfection demande des trésors de ruse et d’invention.
Bob Wilson fut déçu par les résultats obtenus. Les enroulements de verre avaient perdus toute spontanéité, leur mouvement s’était crispé, était devenu maladroit et, de l’accumulation des lignes, naissait l’idée d’une confusion et non l’élan d’énergie attendu.
Il abandonna sa première approche réalisant que les règles imposées par la matière et par le métier devaient être prises pour ce qu’elles sont. Pour arriver à ses fins il fallait les apprivoiser ou les contourner. C’est ce que fit lorsque, plus tard, il trouva, avec le « concept n° 7 », une solution toute wilsonienne à son projet initial.
Il demanda au souffleur d’enrouler un large ruban, et non plus un mince fil de verre, autour d’un cylindre creux puis de l’écraser, en le faisant rouler sur une plaque de métal, pour faire entrer cet enroulement sauvage dans l’épure parfaite d’un plus grand cylindre. La tension entre liberté du geste et stricte géométrie était là, rendue à son maximum.
Entre temps, grâce à cette première tentative infructueuse, Bob Wilson avait compris ce qu’est l’essence du travail du verre : la mise en forme d’une matière en fusion tirée d’un creuset au bout d’une canne, incandescente, mouvante et instable et qui, en quelques secondes, se fige en une forme immobile, définitive. Ainsi initié il était libre d’explorer, avec ce nouveau media, et donc sous de nouvelles formes, les invariants de son travail : tension fondatrice entre mouvement et immobilité, entre ce qui se transforme et ce qui demeure, entre ombre et lumière. Il avait trouvé avec le verre, une matière sœur.
Il ne fit plus de grands dessins et les pastels de couleur furent rangés. De petits croquis indiquaient au souffleur la forme souhaitée, un trait de crayon noir estompé au doigt avec la plus grande attention précisait son volume, la nature de sa surface, mais surtout l’esprit vers lequel il devait tendre.

Voilà ce que Bob Wilson écrivait il y a un an alors que je l’interrogeais, bien tard, sur son attachement à la céramique et au verre:

« I like ceramics because I think it must be beautiful to work with clay and earth in one’s hands, but I much prefer glass. The heaviness and the lightness can be extreme. I like the strictness of the curved line as it is seen in geometry.

There are only 2 lines: curved and straight. That is a part of classical construction: buildings/trees, protagonist/antagonist. Time for me is a line that goes from the center of the earth to the heavens. Space is a horizontal line. This cross is the basic architecture of everything. It is the stripe of Barnett Newman, a piano key being played, the drip of milk in a Vermeer painting, or Jesus Christ on a cross. Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs are based on the vertical and the horizontal, or a triangle that can be drawn from the top center to the edges of the bottom.

Les soixante dix sept vases soufflées au CIRVA, comme les pièces coulées, destinées au sol, sont chacun et chacune l’expression de ce propos qui donne à entendre ce qui attache si fort Bob Wilson à ce matériau.
Il explore pièce après pièce, les variations des principes énoncés dans ces quelques mots et les organise, à postériori, par famille, en « concepts » qu’il numérote sans observer la chronologie de leur ordre d’apparition. C’est en effet une œuvre conceptuelle et sensible, qui participe entièrement de son univers, qu’il a produit avec le verre pendant les dix années où il est venu travailler au CIRVA.
Courbe et ligne droite sont là, dans tous les vases en verre soufflé et dans toutes les pièces au sol faites de verre coulé et plein. La courbe se développe dans la verticalité et se transforme en ligne droite horizontalement, en leur sommet pour les premiers et, inversement, à leur base pour les seconds. Le passage entre horizontale et verticale se joue différemment selon les concepts. La courbe du concept n°6, mis au point avec un verre très fin par Lino Tagliapietra, se transforme en ligne droite dans l’axe vertical avant de se retourner à angle droit autour d’une ouverture minimum, prouesse de savoir faire bien que rien n’y paraisse. Ailleurs, la savante simplicité de la courbe, plus ou moins ronde ou ovalisée, se renverse avec douceur lorsque retournée à la main ou, s’interrompt brutalement lorsque le haut du vase est coupé à la scie et révèle sur sa tranche l’importance de son épaisseur.
Le verre peut, indifféremment, être fin ou épais rappelle Bob Wilson. Chacune de ses pièces explore cette bivalence qui pourrait sembler être une donnée presque anodine si tant d’autres propriétés n’en dépendaient pas.
C’est le cas pour l’une d’entre elles dont Bob Wilson ne parle pas. Peut être lui est-elle tellement familière et façonne t-elle si profondément sa conception de l’espace qu’il oublie d’en faire état ? Cette propriété du verre, qui le rend si proche de son univers est la capacité qu’il a de transmettre et de refléter simultanément la lumière, d’être transparent ou opaque, Il ne fait pas état non plus non d’une autre capacité liée à la précédente, celle de diffuser la couleur tout en la retenant pour partie et de créer ainsi des effets dont seule l’union du ciel et de l’eau peut donner dans la nature une équivalence passagère.
Chaque vase est l’expression d’un moment particulier de lumière. Les premiers fins et de grandes dimensions, sont sans couleur ajoutée, leur surface a été légèrement satinée à la main comme d’une caresse de légère buée. Ailleurs l’on pourra voir les reflets de l’aube sur un étang, un léger brouillard, le halo opale de la lune, tous les états de lumière offerts par le ciel et l’eau, à l’infini. La matière pleine des pièces au sol coulées encore empreintes du sable de leurs moules parfois chargés d’oxydes évoqueront les reflets et les éclats de corps métalliques ou célestes. Comment ne pas penser aussi à la lumière contenue dans l’eau des pierres et des perles mais aussi à celles des spectacles de Bob Wilson telles qu’elles sont entrées dans notre imaginaire, les lumières dorées de El Galigo, celles bleutées de Black Rider, grises de Dream Play, légèrement mauve de Lulu. L’importance que Bob Wilson accorde à l’éclairage de ses mises en scène et qui l’a conduit à des innovations sublimes, largement enviées, pauvrement copiées, mais qui sont reconnaissables entre toutes, se retrouve ici au cœur de ses pièces.

Au premier regard les pièces réalisées au CIRVA par Bob Wilson peuvent sembler banales. Elles peuvent, pour certaines, rappeler les subtilités savantes des couleurs de Laura de Santillana dont il possède quelques pièces dans sa collection, pour d’autres, évoquer la finesse et la tension des lignes de Lino Tagliapetra dont il a également plusieurs pièces, d’autres encore semblent être un hommage à František Wizner auquel Bob avait souhaité rendre visite dans son repère loin, au cœur de la Slovaquie. La lumière immatérielle irradiant des pièces de ce mystique du verre ne pouvait que le toucher profondément.
Il faut dire ici l’importance que représente pour Bob Wilson le fait de collectionner, d’acquérir et de s’entourer d’objets très précisément désirés par lui. Ces objets d’art, ces objets de la vie quotidienne, ces images, sont pour lui une nourriture essentielle, vitale, une ressource émotionnelle et personnelle et une source de réflexion pour son travail. Il s’en empare avec respect et avidité pour identifier, sous d’autres formes, sa conception de l’espace, pour l’enrichir aussi. Retrouver la présence explicite ou la trace plus souterraine de ces objets dans son œuvre est une chose naturelle et nous sommes bien loin d’un simple «  magasin d’accessoires ». Lorsque Bob Wilson choisit un objet, le fait apparaître sur la scène au moment des répétitions, s’inspire de sa géométrie, de son schéma de construction, de l’un des aspects de son apparence c’est pour lui une façon de le reconnaître et de le célébrer. L’usage qu’il en fait établit une connivence profonde, par delà le temps, l’espace, la diversité des cultures, entre lui et les artisans et artistes qui les ont crée.
Les objets en verre de Robert Wilson entretiennent certes un dialogue discret avec ses prédécesseurs et avec des savoirs faire ancestraux mais c’est avant tout avec lui même qu’il établit à travers eux un dialogue, avec sa sensibilité et avec sa conception de l’espace de représentation. Ils sont comme une confidence murmurée sur l’essence de sa quête.

A la suite de Lino Tagliapietra, de 1994 à 2005 se sont succédés au CIRVA pour réaliser les pièces de Bob Wilson les souffleurs : Naomi et Fumiaki Uzawa, Jeff Zimmerman, Pavel Cajthamel, Matteo Gonet, assistés par l’ensemble des techniciens du CIRVA.
Durant cette période, Hanneke Fokkelman jusqu’en 2001 puis, Pierre Hessman, ont suivis l’ensemble des travaux.

Françoise Guichon, septembre 2016

galerie-downtown-maitres-de-la-modernite-couverture

 

Maîtres de la Modernité , par Anne Bony

Malgré la volonté de l’exposition de 1925 à Paris, de défendre les arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, la Société des artistes décorateurs s’enlise dans la tradition, la Compagnie des Arts Français s’entiche du style Louis Philippe, Jacques Emile Ruhlmann réhabilite l’idée du luxe, il crée pour l’élite. L’opulence et la polychromie sont à l’ordre du jour. La société du Salon d’Automne, invite les membres du Werkbund allemand en 1910. La modernité gronde depuis l’établissement de cette association en 1907 « pour anoblir le travail industriel dans la coopération de l’art, de l’industrie et de l’artisanat » prolongé par la création de l’école du Bauhaus en 1919. Le Corbusier et Ozenfant théorisent la question de la vie moderne en France en 1920, lorsqu’ils publient la revue l’Esprit Nouveau, revue rationaliste française de l’Art Constructif International.

Au salon d’automne de 1927, à la fois contemporaine et moderne, Charlotte Perriand présente « Le bar sous le toit », un ensemble influencé par les temps modernes, en acier chromé et aluminium anodisé. La même année, intégrée dans l’agence de Le Corbusier, elle reprend le programme théorique « des casiers, des chaises des tables, l’équipement de l’habitation » et expose en 1929 du mobilier édité par Thonet, chaque pièce porte le sigle Thonet-Le Corbusier-Pierre Jeanneret-Charlotte Perriand. « Établir des standards, consiste à s’occuper exclusivement de perfection. » lui explique Le Corbusier. Elle apprécie Pierre Jeanneret, architecte et cousin de Le Corbusier qui l’assiste depuis 1922.
Lors du Salon des Artistes décorateurs de 1928, Charlotte Perriand, René Herbst et Djo-Bourgeois se regroupent pour faire bloc contre la production des « décorateurs ». C’est en 1929, que se produit la rupture. Jeunes et fougueux, ils prônent l’emploi du métal et d’autres matières modernes et créent l’Union des artistes Modernes (UAM), union catalysant leurs idées révolutionnaires. La première exposition du groupe, se tient autour du thème « l’Art moderne, cadre de la vie contemporaine ». Ils se posent en faveur de l’art moderne qui est, pensent-ils « un art véritablement social… un art pur, accessible à tous, et non une imitation faite pour la vanité de quelques-uns. » Le premier manifeste est publié tardivement en 1934, la rédaction en est confiée à Louis Chéronnet, rédacteur en chef de la revue Art et décoration, l’art moderne est une réponse « à leur volonté de doter l’homme du XXème siècle d’un cadre raisonnable, c’est-à-dire capable de donner satisfaction à toutes les exigences matérielles et intellectuelles imposées par la conjoncture. » C’est dans les rangs de l’UAM que s’épanouit le talent militant de Charlotte Perriand, de Jean Prouvé et de Pierre Jeanneret qui y adhère en 1930.

La liberté, l’audace, l’indépendance et la solidarité caractérisent le trio. Charlotte Perriand quitte l’atelier de Le Corbusier en 1937 et met au point avant de partir en mission de conseil en art industriel au Japon en 1940, un programme de mobilier avec Jean Prouvé et Pierre Jeanneret et le BCC (Bureau central de construction) créé en 1939 par Georges Blanchon. A son retour elle est chargée de l’équipement des premiers hôtels de Meribel-les-Alues, 1946-1949. En osmose avec l’esprit de la vallée, elle utilise des madriers de sapin pour le mobilier et l’aménagement intérieur. Après la guerre, elle réalise l’équipement de la cellule-type de l’Unité d’habitation de Le Corbusier à Marseille, présentée au salon des arts ménagers, 1950. Son expérience et son goût pour la montagne se manifeste de façon exemplaire dans l’opération des Arcs démarrée en 1967, elle y consacre 20 ans de sa vie en prônant « Les loisirs pour tous ».

Véritable entrepreneur Jean Prouvé déploie son art avec volontarisme, homme d’action plus que de discours, il affirme « être de son temps, sans compromis. » Il expose ses premiers meubles en 1930. Sa rencontre avec les architectes Baudoin et Lods en 1933, l’incite à penser une nouvelle façon de faire de l’architecture avec une mise en œuvre structurelle innovante. En 1939, il dépose un brevet pour une construction à ossature démontable, pour les unités de combat, sa première construction à portique.

Une réflexion sur les équipements de loisirs, lie pour la première fois, Pierre Jeanneret et Jean Prouvé en 1938. Une collaboration durable s’instaure entre ces deux esprits pragmatiques, grâce à la commande de constructions démontables, préfabriquées et équipées pour la construction en zone libre de l’usine de la Société Centrale des Alliages Légers (SCAL) à Issoire (1939-41). Pierre Jeanneret quitte la France en 1951 pour Chandigarh (Inde), afin de suivre le chantier de la ville administrative et d’en dessiner le mobilier. En 1953, Jean Prouvé complète la réalisation de tables en forme libre, avec Charlotte Perriand, ainsi que des séries de bibliothèques, dont le modèle « Tunisie ». En 1962, Charlotte Perriand part au Brésil où elle compose avec des bois indigènes. De rares commandes spéciales jalonnent son parcours, en 1966 elle équipe la résidence de l’ambassadeur du Japon à Paris.

Un sillon exemplaire signé Perriand, Prouvé et Jeanneret, une lecture moderne, abstraite et créative à la fois.
 

 

Masters of Modernity by Anne Bony

Despite the determined wish of the 1925 Paris Art Deco Exhibition to champion modern decorative and industrial arts, the Society of Decorative Artists became bogged down in tradition, the Company of French Arts became infatuated with the Louis Philippe style, and Jacques Emile Ruhlmann re-invented the idea of luxury, and created things for the élite. Opulence and polychromy were the order of the day. The Society of the Salon d’Automne invited members of the German Werkbund in 1910. Modernity had been making noises since the establishment of that association in 1907 “to ennoble industrial work in cooperation with art, industry and craftsmanship”, extended by the creation of the Bauhaus school in 1919. Le Corbusier and Ozenfant theorized about the issues of modern life in France in 1920, when they published the magazine L’Esprit Nouveau, a rationalist French review of International Constructive Art.

At the 1927 autumn salon, which was at once contemporary and modern, Charlotte Perriand presented “Le bar sous le toit”, an ensemble influenced by modern times, made of chrome-plated steel and anodized aluminium. That same year, having joined the Le Corbusier agency, she took up the theoretical programme of “cabinets with pigeonholes, chairs, tables and household equipment” and, in 1929, she exhibited furniture produced by Thonet, with each piece bearing the Thonet-Le Corbusier-Pierre-Jeanneret-Charlotte Perriand acronym. “Setting up standards consists in being involved exclusively with perfection”, Le Corbusier explained to her. She much appreciated the architect Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier’s cousin, who had been assisting her since 1922.

At the Salon of Decorative Artists in 1928, Charlotte Perriand, René Herbst and Djo-Bourgeois got together to oppose the production of the “decorators”. It was in 1929 that the break happened. Young and spirited, they advocated the use of metal and other modern materials, and created the Union of Modern Artists (UAM), a union which catalyzed their revolutionary ideas. The group’s first exhibition was organized around the theme: “Modern art, the frame of contemporary life”. They were in favour of modern art which, they thought, was a “truly social art… a pure art, accessible to all, and not an imitation made for the vanity of a few.” The first manifesto was published at a late date, in 1934, its preparation and writing entrusted to Louis Chéronnet, chief editor of the magazine Art et decoration. Modern art was a response “to their desire to endow 20th century man with a sensible setting, meaning one capable of satisfying all the material and intellectual demands imposed by the state of things”. It was within the UAM’s ranks that the militant talent of Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé and Pierre Jeanneret, who joined the Union in 1930, flourished.

Freedom, daring, independence and solidarity hallmarked this threesome. Charlotte Perriand left the Le Corbusier workshop in 1937 and, before setting off for Japan as an industrial art consultant in 1940, she developed a furniture programme with Jean Prouvé and Pierre Jeanneret, and with the BCC (Central Construction Bureau), created in 1939 by Georges Blanchon. On her return she was given the task of furbishing the first hotels at Meribel-les-Alues, between 1946 and 1949. In osmosis with the valley spirit, she used the timber of fir trees for the furniture and interior fittings. After the war she produced the cell-type furnishings of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, presented at the 1950 Salon des Arts Ménagers/Ideal Home Exhibition. Her experience of and liking for mountains came across in an exemplary way in the Les Arcs operation which got under way in 1967, where she devoted 20 years of her life advocating “Leisure for everyone”.

Jean Prouvé was nothing less than an entrepreneur who developed his art with a proactive approach. He was a man of action rather than words, who declared that he was “uncompromisingly of his time”. He exhibited his first pieces of furniture in 1930. His meeting with the architects Baudoin and Lods in 1933 prompted him to devise a new way of producing architecture, with innovative structural applications. In 1939 he registered a patent for a construction with a frame that could be easily dismounted, for combat units—his first portico construction.
A similar way of thinking about leisure amenities linked Pierre Jeanneret and Jean Prouvé together for the first time in 1938. A long-lasting collaborative relationship was struck up between these two pragmatic minds, thanks to the commission for dismountable, prefabricated constructions, equipped for the construction in the zone unoccupied by the Germans of the factory of the Société Centrale des Alliages Légers (SCAL), in Issoire (1939-1941). Pierre Jeanneret left France in 1951 for Chandigarh (India), in order to supervise the project for the administrative city and design its furniture. In 1953, Jean Prouvé completed the production of free-form tables, with Charlotte Perriand, as well as various series of bookshelves, including the “Tunisie” model. In 1962, Charlotte Perriand left for Brazil where she worked with varieties of native timber. Special commissions, few and far between, staked out her career, and in 1966 she furnished the residence of the Japanese ambassador to Paris.

An exemplary trail was blazed by Perriand, Prouvé, and Jeanneret, offering a reading that is at once modern, abstract and creative.

biennale-2016

BIENNALE DES ANTIQUAIRES – 10-18 SEPTEMBRE 2016

Grand Palais – 3, avenue du Général Eisenhower – 75008 Paris
Du samedi 10 au dimanche 18 septembre de 11h00 à 20h00, nocturne le jeudi 15 septembre jusqu’à 23h00

BIENNALE DES ANTIQUAIRES – 10-18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Grand Palais – 3, avenue du Général Eisenhower – 75008 Paris
From Saturday 10th to Sunday 18th september 11am-8pm – Thursday 15th september until 11pm


Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Pierre Jeanneret, Maîtres de la Modernité

Pour la Biennale des Antiquaires 2016 au Grand Palais, François Laffanour, présente une sélection de mobilier de Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé et Pierre Jeanneret. Cet ensemble de pièces exceptionnelles constitue une ré exion autour de la modernité et des innovations apportées par ces créateurs.
Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), gure de proue du mobilier des années 50, femme libre et engagée, s’est e orcée de créer un mobilier aux lignes modernes tout en respectant les techniques et les matériaux traditionnels. Parmi les objets d’exception, sera présentée une rare banquette, à structure en acier, créée en 1966 pour la résidence privée de l’ambassadeur du Japon en France. Jean Prouvé (1901-1984), esprit multiple à la fois ingénieur, architecte et constructeur s’est attelé à l’industrialisation du processus de fabrication créant machines et ateliers a n de proposer un mobilier fonctionnel et accessible à tous. Une rare table Granito, une bibliothèque des années 30, un bureau Présidence, ainsi que des éléments d’architectures. Quand à lui Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967) est toujours resté en retrait auprès de son illustre cousin Le Corbusier. Méconnu du grand public ce créateur, l’un des tout premier à avoir dessiné des modèles pour Knoll International, illustre le caractère familial de cette avant-garde du design, prenant part aux projets des plus grands de ses collaborateurs et amis. L’unique table à cinq pans qu’il conçut pour la salle à manger de la famille Prouvé en 1943, dans une France occupée sera exposée La Galerie présentera également une unique table à jeux, commande spéciale de 1948 ainsi que quelques très rares pièces provenant de la ville de Chandigarh en Inde.

 

Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Pierre Jeanneret, Masters of Modernity

For the Biennale des Antiquaires 2016 at the Grand Palais, François Laffanour, internationally recognized as a post-war architect furniture specialist, presents a selection of pieces by Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé. This exceptional set of furniture represents a re exion on the idea of modernity and on the innovations brought by these designers.
Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), one of the main gures of 1950s design, a free and committed woman, devoted to creating furniture combining modern lines with traditional materials and techniques. Among the exceptional masterpieces will be presented a rare bench with a steel structure, designed in 1966 for the private residence of the ambassador of Japan in France. Jean Prouvé (1901-1984), for his part, worked on industrializing the process of furniture making by creating machines and workshops to produce fair, functional and a ordable furniture. By this multidisciplinary spirit, at once engineer, architect and constructor, we present a remarkable shelving system from the 1930s, a rare “Granito” table, a “Présidence” desk and several architectural elements. Throughout his life, Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967) remained in the shadow of his prominent cousin Le Corbusier. Not very familiar to the general public, he was one of the rst to design furniture for Knoll International. Having taken part in the projects of his most important collaborators and friends, Jeanneret characterizes the familial relationships in this avant-garde of design. In this respect, we are presenting the unique ve sides table that he designed for the dining room of the Prouvé family in 1943, in France at war. We will also show a unique gaming table, special commission from 1948 and some rare pieces from the city of Chandigarh in India.

 

Photographies


Communiqué de Presse / Press kit

Communiqué de presse (Français)
Press kit (English)

3ème trophée Downtown - Saint Nom la Bretèche - 21 juin 2016

Si le golf de Saint-Nom La Bretèche est chaque année le théâtre du grand Trophée du Cœur organisé par Mécénat Chirugie Cardiaque, le site accueille également d’autres initiatives solidaires à l’instar de la compétition organisée par François Laffanour.

Le 21 juin 2016, une soixantaine de golfeurs étaient réunis au prestigieux Golf de Saint-Nom la Bretèche à l’occasion d’un trophée organisé par François Laffanour, galeriste et marchand d’art parisien. Sensible à la cause de Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, il a invité chaque participant à faire un don pour l’Association. Plus de 5 600 € ont ainsi été récoltés sur la journée grâce à l’opération, en présence du Professeur Francine Leca, co-fondatrice de MCC. Une boutique solidaire était également animée par les bénévoles de l’Association à l’entrée du Golf. Merci à eux pour leur soutien

 

Plus d’infos : http://www.mecenat-cardiaque.org/blog/des-dons-recoltes-sur-un-trophee-de-golf-saint-nom-la-breteche

 
Vidéo du montage de l’exposition “Prouvé-Takis” à la Patinoire Royale, Bruxelles.
Du 21 Avril au 23 Juillet 2016.

© Laffanour Galerie Downtown & ID8B

Basel-Miami-2016

Laffanour Galerie Downtown @ Design Miami/ Basel 2016

 

When François Laffanour opened Galerie Downtown in Paris in 1982, he quickly realized the importance of the work of Le Corbusier, Prouvé, Perriand and Jeanneret. These figures were mainly rediscovered thanks to the patient work of Laffanour, whose reputation has been associated with architects’ furniture. In 2002 he acquired the archives of Galerie Steph Simon, which commercialized the work of Prouvé, Perriand, Mouille and Jouve between 1956 and 1974.

Through his sensibility François Laffanour mixes postwar design with contemporary furniture by artists such as Ron Arad who has been represented by the gallery since 2004.

 

Plus d’infos/More infos: Laffanour Galerie Downtown on basel2016.designmiami.com

 

Communiqué de presse/Press kit

—> Cliquez ici pour télécharger le communiqué de press / Please click here to download the press kit (PDF)

 

Parutions presse/Press releases

Design Miami/ Basel Day 1 (PDF)
Design Miami/ Basel Highlights PDF)
Leading Figures From The Design World

 

DMB16_JRH9008_LAFFANOUR-1_PS_HiRes

DMB16_JRH9087_LAFFANOUR-1_PS_HiRes

DMB16_JRH9071_LAFFANOUR-1_PS_HiRes

Basel-Miami-2016

Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel, Messeplatz
Basel, Switzerland
Booth G05

From June 14th to June 19th 2016.

More info: http://basel2016.designmiami.com

 

Communiqué de presse/Press kit

—> Cliquez ici pour télécharger le communiqué de press / Please click here to download the press kit (PDF)

 

Parutions presse/Press releases

Design Miami/ Basel Day 1 (PDF)
Design Miami/ Basel Highlights PDF)
Leading Figures From The Design World (PDF)

 

PHOTOGRAPHIES

affichemonacomars2016
11columbia-logo

11 av. Princesse Grace, 98000 Monaco
T. +377 93 25 27 14
www.11columbia.com

 


PHOTOGRAPHIES

newsarttoday

La galerie Downtown participe à la Tefaf 2016.

Depuis son ouverture au début des années 80, la galerie Downtown, créée par François Laffanour, a exploré, montré au fil de ses expositions, et réhabilité un domaine laissé en friche, celui du mobilier d’architectes du XXe siècle.

 

Cliquez ici pour voir la vidéo/Click here to watch the video

Collections François Laffanour et Stavros Mihalarias

Patinoire Royale de Bruxelles
Du 20 Avril au 23 Juillet 2016
Exposition en partie conservée jusqu’au 22 octobre 2016
La Patinoire Royale
Rue Veydt 15, 1060 Brussels

Patinoire-royale-v2


 

Visite virtuelle/Virtual visit

visitevirtuelle
—> Cliquez ici pour accéder à la visite virtuelle de l’exposition.
—> Please follow this link to open the virtual visit of the exhibition.


 

VIDEO

 


PHOTOGRAPHIES

 


Communiqué de Presse/Press Kit

Cliquez ici pour télécharger le communiqué de presse/Click here to download the press kit

 


More info

http://www.lapatinoireroyale.com

PAD Paris
Du 31 Mars au 3 Avril 2016.
Aux Tuileries, Paris.

Annonce-PAD-2016

Photographies

 

More info: Galerie Downtown at Paris PAD fair

François Laffanour invité dans l’émission “Chercheurs d’Art” sur BFM Business, le 4 Mars 2016

TEFAF 2016

Du 11 au 20 Mars 2016.
Maastricht.

tefaf2016une

 

Communiqués de presse/Press kits

Laffanour Galerie Downtown – TEFAF 2016 – Communiqué de Presse

 

Photographies

 

Infos

3-7 Feb. 2016
CENTRO BANAMEX. SALA D.
AV. CONSCRIPTO #311 COL. LOMAS DE SOTELO, MÉXICO D.F.

Booth #ZMD227
Official website

zonamaco2016

Choï---Couverture

 

Coréanismes, par Olivier Gabet

Dorénavant la Corée compte, il n’est plus possible de l’éluder, d’ignorer sa contribution magistrale à l’histoire d’une modernité qui s’écrit aujourd’hui à l’échelle du monde, une histoire qui aime à jouer de –ismes capitaux : orientalisme, japonisme, africanisme, primitivisme, pour dire la curiosité permanente du regard et le goût de l’ailleurs. Il faudra accorder maintenant une place de choix à la Corée, aux artistes et créateurs coréens : Coréanisme, comme un nouveau mouvement à étudier, un autre phénomène à définir.
Depuis près de quarante ans, le travail de Choi Byung Hoon témoigne de cette vitalité, de cette inventivité, avec ce qu’elle s’affranchit aussi de traditions nationales ou ancestrales pour aspirer à une dimension universelle qu’elle mérite pleinement. Jeux d’équilibre et association inédite de matières, autant d’objets et de formes que de sculptures possibles, défiant l’apesanteur, où la pierre et le bois se libèrent des lois de la gravité pour ne s’adonner qu’à celles, plus libres et plus singulières, de la grâce. On pourra citer quelques noms d’artistes auxquels les comparer, mais rendre justice à un créateur c’est aussi quelquefois le prendre pour ce qu’il est, lui et lui seul, l’aimer pour ses œuvres, sans retranscrire des filiations et des généalogies. Et ne s’en tenir qu’à l’évidence de l’œuvre, son essence qui tisse le lien exact à notre histoire universelle de la modernité, celle qui fait se rejoindre les temps et les géographies les plus éloignés : et l’Asie si vaste y offre une clé libératrice dès le milieu du XIXème siècle, celle d’une pratique artistique sans hiérarchie, où la peinture – l’art noble en Occident – n’est pas plus essentielle que la céramique, les laques, la nacre, le travail sur le papier, la calligraphie ou le mobilier. Quand on évoque chez Choi Byung Hoon cette œuvre si vaste entre art et design, c’est bien dans ce terreau esthétique et philosophique qu’elle prend sens, sans hiérarchie, sans marginalité, mais dans la pleine page d’une création sans frontière, sans parti pris ni préséances. Et c’est pour cela aussi qu’il nous apparaît aujourd’hui, avec nos yeux contemporains, si immédiat, si naturellement évident. Parce que des siècles, voire des millénaires, nous ont devancé sur cette voie et qu’ils nous disent et redisent cette évidence-là.

Au fil des décennies, l’œuvre de Choi Byung Hoon dévoile un répertoire formel d’une rare poésie, où le Spirituel dans l’art enchante une véritable et sincère reverdie, de celles que les plus grands créateurs lui souhaitent depuis Kandinsky. En un art qui laisse méditer sur l’enlacement des formes, l’alliance de matières contraires ou complémentaires, où la pierre devient une ponctuation aérienne, le métal une virgule d’une souplesse graphique inattendue, et le bois ou l’ébène une architecture organique. Regarder ces œuvres de près et de loin, dans l’espace clos d’une maison ou posé dans les aléas d’un paysage, c’est accepter de se laisser émerveiller, position humble et raffinée, par ces équilibres jamais précaires, de longtemps pensés et imaginés, où rien ne serait laissé au hasard, ni le choix des effets zébrés ou lisses d’un marbre, ni la surface du granit, qu’il soit velouté ou âpre au toucher, ni la rondeur sensuelle de l’ébène. Chaque œuvre a une force originelle, quelque chose de sacré et de tellurique. Vents au début du monde, pour reprendre le titre d’une série de meubles sculptures qui ont, depuis leur première présentation, séduit le monde des amateurs d’art. Une force visuelle qui les imprègne dans l’esprit de ceux qui les ont vus, images persistantes.

Dès les premiers travaux préparatoires de l’exposition récente Korea now ! au musée des Arts décoratifs, il nous a semblé essentiel de donner une place d’honneur au travail de Choi Byung Hoon, et deux de ses œuvres accueillaient le visiteur à son entrée dans la nef du musée. Une table et une assise de 2008, de la série Afterimage. Dès les premiers jours de l’exposition, Choi Byung Hoon et François Laffanour m’ont fait part de leur désir d’offrir une de ses pièces au musée, elle rejoindra les collections dans quelques semaines. L’entrée d’une nouvelle œuvre dans les collections d’un musée – surtout quand il a été fondé il y a plus de 150 ans pour servir la création et nourrir l’imagination des artistes – est toujours en soi une aventure, un moment privilégié, car elle témoigne d’une époque, d’un mouvement artistique, de la singularité d’un parcours créatif, car elle peut donner à voir, elle peut enseigner et éclairer, elle peut aussi faire réfléchir et enthousiasmer une vocation. Avec Choi Byung Hoon, elle retrouve aussi sa vocation ancienne et vitale, devenir la matière de nos rêves.

Olivier Gabet
Directeur des musées des Arts décoratifs, Paris.

 

 

 

Koreanisms by Olivier Gabet

These days, Korea matters. We can no longer sidestep this fact, we can no longer ignore this country’s masterful contribution to the history of a modernity which is being written today on a world scale, a history which likes juggling with vital -isms– Orientalism, Japonism, Africanism, primitivism, and the like– to express the permanent curiosity of the way people look at things in other places, and their likes and dislikes. It is now important to offer a place of choice to Korea, and to Korean artists and creators: Koreanism, like a new movement up for examination, another phenomenon to be defined.

For almost 40 years, Choi Byung Hoon’s work has been illustrating this vitality and this inventiveness, together with the fact that it has also freed itself from national and ancestral traditions and aspired to a fully deserved universal dimension. Interplays of balance and novel associations of forms of matter, involving objects and forms as much as possible sculptures, defying weightlessness, where wood and stone are emancipated from the laws of gravity in order to focus solely on the laws of grace, freer and more specific. We might quote a few artist’s names with which to compare them, but doing justice to a creative artist also means sometimes taking him or her for what he or she is, the artist and the artist alone, and appreciating such artists for their works, without transcribing connections and genealogies. And only clinging to the obviousness of the work, its essence which weaves the precise bond to our universal history of modernity, the history which creates a linkage between the most removed of times and geographies: and here Asia, which is so vast, has been offering a liberating key since the mid-19th century, the key to a hierarchy-less art praxis in which painting—the noble art in the West—is no more essential than ceramics, lacqueur, mother-of-pearl, work on paper, calligraphy, and furniture. When, in Choi Byung Hoon’s case, we refer to that extremely vast oeuvre somewhere between art and design, it is indeed in this aesthetic and philosophical loam that its assumes its sense, with neither hierarchy nor marginality, but in the full page of a boundary-free creation, with neither sides taken nor priorities. And this, too, is why it seems to us to be so naturally obvious today, with our contemporary eyes. Because centuries, not to say millennia, have gone before upon this path, and they are telling us and re-telling us this particular obviousness.

Over the decades, Choi Byung Hoon’s oeuvre has been revealing a formal repertory of a rare poetry, where the Spiritual in Art enchants a real and sincere rejuvenation, such as the greatest artists have been wishing for ever since Kandinsky. In an art which lets us meditate upon the intertwining of forms, the alliance of opposed and complementary forms of matter, where stone becomes an aerial punctuation, metal a comma with an unexpected graphic flexibility, and wood and ebony an organic architecture. Looking at these works, from afar and close up, in the enclosed space of a house or set in the ups and downs of a landscape, is to accept to let oneself be amazed, a lowly and refined position, by these never precarious balances, long thought about and imagined, where nothing is left to chance, neither the choice of the striped or smooth effects of a piece of marble, nor the surface of granite, be it velveteen or harsh to the touch, nor the sensual roundness of ebony. Each work has an original strength, something sacred and earthly. Vents au début du monde/Winds at the Beginning of the World, to borrow the title of a series of furniture sculptures which, since their first presentation, seduced the world of art lovers. A visual strength which imbues them in the minds of those who have seen them, persistent images.

Since the initial preparatory tasks for the recent exhibition Korea Now! at the Museum of Decorative Arts, it seemed to us crucial to give pride of place to the work of Choi Byung Hoon, and two of his works welcomed visitors when they entered the museum’s nave. A table and a chair, made in 2008, in the series Afterimage. During the very first days of the show, Choi Byung Hoon and François Laffanour told me about their desire to offer one of his pieces to the museum, and it will join the collections within a few weeks. The admission of a new work in the collections of a museum—especially when the museum was founded more than 150 years ago to encourage creation and nurture artists’ imaginations—is always an adventure per se, a special moment, because it attests to a day and age, an art movement, and the specific nature of a creative career; and because it can display, teach and enlighten; it can also create reflection and enthusiasm about a vocation. With Choi Byung Hoon, it also rediscovers its ancient and vital brief—becoming the stuff of our dreams.

 

Olivier Gabet
Director of the Museums of Decorative Arts, Paris.

Affiche-Choi-2016


PHOTOGRAPHIES

 


DOCUMENTS

 


KOREANISMS

 

Korean artists and creators: Koreanism, like a new movement up for examination, another phenomenon to be defined.
For almost 40 years, Choi Byung Hoon’s work has been illustrating this vitality and this inventiveness, together with the fact that it has also freed itself from national and ancestral traditions and aspired to a fully deserved universal dimension. Interplays of balance and novel associations of forms of matter, involving objects and forms as much as possible sculptures, defying weightlessness, where wood and stone are emancipated from the laws of gravity in order to focus solely on the laws of grace, freer and more specific. We might quote a few artist’s names with which to compare them, but doing justice to a creative artist also means sometimes taking him or her for what he or she is, the artist and the artist alone, and appreciating such artists for their works, without transcribing connections and genealogies. And only clinging to the obviousness of the work, its essence which weaves the precise bond to our universal history of modernity, the history which creates a linkage between the most removed of times and geographies: and here Asia, which is so vast, has been offering a liberating key since the mid-19th century, the key to a hierarchy-less art praxis in which painting—the noble art in the West—is no more essential than ceramics, lacqueur, mother-of-pearl, work on paper, calligraphy, and furniture.
When, in Choi Byung Hoon’s case, we refer to that extremely vast oeuvre somewhere between art and design, it is indeed in this aesthetic and philosophical loam that its assumes its sense, with neither hierarchy nor marginality, but in the full page of a boundary-free creation, with neither sides taken nor priorities. And this, too, is why it seems to us to be so naturally obvious today, with our contemporary eyes. Because centuries, not to say millennia, have gone before upon this path, and they are telling us and re-telling us this particular obviousness.Over the decades, Choi Byung Hoon’s oeuvre has been revealing a formal repertory of a rare poetry, where the Spiritual in Art enchants a real and sincere rejuvenation, such as the greatest artists have been wishing for ever since Kandinsky. In an art which lets us meditate upon the intertwining of forms, the alliance of opposed and complementary forms of matter, where stone becomes an aerial punctuation, metal a comma with an unexpected graphic flexibility, and wood and ebony an organic architecture. Looking at these works, from afar and close up, in the enclosed space of a house or set in the ups and downs of a landscape, is to accept to let oneself be amazed, a lowly and refined position, by these never precarious balances, long thought about and imagined, where nothing is left to chance, neither the choice of the striped or smooth effects of a piece of marble, nor the surface of granite, be it velveteen or harsh to the touch, nor the sensual roundness of ebony.
Each work has an original strength, something sacred and earthly. Vents au début du monde/Winds at the Beginning of the World, to borrow the title of a series of furniture sculptures which, since their first presentation, seduced the world of art lovers. A visual strength which imbues them in the minds of those who have seen them, persistent images.Since the initial preparatory tasks for the recent exhibition Korea Now! at the Museum of Decorative Arts, it seemed to us crucial to give pride of place to the work of Choi Byung Hoon, and two of his works welcomed visitors when they entered the museum’s nave. A table and a chair, made in 2008, in the series Afterimage. During the very first days of the show, Choi Byung Hoon and François Laffanour told me about their desire to offer one of his pieces to the museum, and it will join the collections within a few weeks.

The admission of a new work in the collections of a museum—especially when the museum was founded more than 150 years ago to encourage creation and nurture artists’ imaginations—is always an adventure per se, a special moment, because it attests to a day and age, an art movement, and the specific nature of a creative career; and because it can display, teach and enlighten; it can also create reflection and enthusiasm about a vocation. With Choi Byung Hoon, it also rediscovers its ancient and vital brief—becoming the stuff of our dreams.

Olivier Gabet
Director of the Museums of Decorative Arts, Paris.

Info

2-6 Dec. 2015
Booth G09
Meridian Avenue & 19th Street
Adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center
Miami Beach, USA

Official website

Documents

Communiqué de presse/Press Release – Design:Miami 2015

Photographies

© DesignMiami

BFM TV – “Le Corbusier” à la galerie Laffanour – Galerie Downtown

Laffanour-Galerie-Downtown---Dossier-de-presse-Le-Corbusier-Oct.-2015-1


PHOTOGRAPHIES

 


DOCUMENTS

 


LE CORBUSIER, AN ART OF SYNTHESIS

 

As much in his architecture, his paintings, and his sculpture, as in his writings, Le Corbusier sought harmony, a form of synthesis of the arts. “Are not a picture, a sculpture, a house, a palace, a city made in any way of small pieces of matter and threads of one and the same occupation of the mind?” (1948)Home Equipment

He then thought about the installation of the dwelling, and in no time came up with the idea of a commercial company which would sell all the elements of home equipment. They would be mass produced, to standard measurements, to meet the many different needs of a rational set of furbishings: windows, doors, standard racks serving as cupboards and forming part of the partition walls… The Citrohan No 2 House, the model of which was exhibited at the 1922 Autumn Salon, was the first complete prototype of the “machine à habiter”. Le Corbusier declared: “There is nothing shameful about having a house which is as practical as a typewriter”.

“Furniture is a servant”, he announced, seven months before he met Charlotte Perriand. He had sketched out “the different ways of sitting which seats had to be adapted to”. He drew his ideas from the range of Maple & Co. furniture and Thonet seats, which he regarded as standard objects; and he also drew inspiration from technical furniture for sick and injured people in his “sitting machines” programme. He drew up the basic diagrams. When she joined Le Corbusier’s agency in 1927, Charlotte Perriand took up the theoretical programme “of racks, chairs and tables” developed since 1924 with Pierre Jeanneret. “Le Corbusier expected me to give life to furniture”. Le Corbusier provided the avenue of research, then she took charge of producing the plans and making the equipment.

The history of the lounge chair conveyed the master’s approach. First of all, he set about studying William Morris’s chaise longue/easy chair, then Dr. Pascaud’s “Surrepos” chaise longue, all tentative research; Charlotte Perriand then finalized the studies and drawings, so the work involved a collaborative method. Le Corbusier devised and drew up the programme with Pierre Jeanneret; he was the investigator, while Charlotte Perriand was indisputably the kingpin. The programme “of chairs and tables” was finalized in the autumn of 1928, while the racks, the last element of Le Corbusier’s trilogy, were still on the drawing board. Charlotte Perriand designed them in metal, borrowing the concept of the wooden racks created in 1925 by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, for the Esprit Nouveau Pavilion. For publicity purposes, the Thonet company financed the first exhibition of the programme L’équipement intérieur d’une habitation in an area of 100 sq. m./1,100 sq.ft, at the Salon d’Automne in December 1929. She provided the racks and found herself associated with all the publications mentioning the furniture… It was a period of struggle and involvement. The mass-produced edition would finally be taken on by Thonet. The furniture was also designed for private homes, as part of the architecture programme.

Immediately after the war, Le Corbusier finally achieved his vision of the vertical city (1945-1952) with the Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles. The apartments with their double east-west orientation, arranged on two levels, had a double-height living room, while the furnishings were carefully designed to rationalize the space. Charlotte Perriand was once more called upon for the cell-type furniture (1947) and the kitchen, (1947-49). She presented the whole thing at the Salon des arts ménagers (household arts) in the “Habitation” section in 1950. The roof terrace proposed collective furnishing, children’s gardens, and swimming pools.

The notion of “standards” was probably the greatest innovation made by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand, perfectly adapted to requirements. Paradoxically, their origin lay in the classical tradition and the anonymous production of popular arts and crafts.

 

Anne Bony, October 2015

Translation Simon Pleasance

Chandigarh-Couverture-complete

 

SOMMAIRE

Pierre Jeanneret, par Dominique Perrault
Pierre Jeanneret, cousin et associé de Le Corbusier,
Chandigarh Project,
Mobilier Pierre Jeanneret,
Le mobilier de Pierre Jeanneret en Inde.

slider-basel-2015

Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel, Messeplatz
Basel, Switzerland
Booth G23

From June 16th to June 21st 2015.

More info: http://basel2015.designmiami.com

 

PHOTOGRAPHIES

 

 

Photos © Marie Clérin – Galerie Downtown François Laffanour.

 

 

Invite-concert-Mai-2015

Jean Prouvé et la SCAL

 


PHOTOGRAPHIES

 


 

Jean Prouvé and the SCAL, Issoire (1939)

France was experiencing hard times; the war broke out in 1939. Industry had to be re-organized to produce armaments and, in particular, aircraft. With the government’s support, it was decided that the Société du Duralumin: the SCAL (Société central des alliages legers—the Light Alloy Company) should become involved in an extremely innovative project as a factory for laminating sheet metal.

The installation of this large industrial endeavour at Issoire had many advantages: the geographical position was strategic, bordered by the Allier, the energy potential was favourable, and in that agricultural region there was plenty of manpower.

The Perret brothers, who were architects, were accordingly appointed to build that colossal processing unit, whose structure was planned with a reinforced concrete frame.

At the end of 1939, once the project had been given the go-ahead, it turned out to be necessary to urgently produce facilities to accommodate the engineers and draughtsmen responsible for the programme to construct and develop the factory. To meet that requirement, an additional phase was embarked upon, resulting from a meeting between Jean Matter, who was appointed the SCAL’s representative administrator in November 1939, Marcel Lamourdedieu, an engineer, and Georges Blanchon, a journalist versed in the field of business and the arts. Their shared thinking was in agreement over the choice of a dedicated team to meet the constructive challenge within a short time-frame. Already linked by their architectural thinking, and by friendship, Jean Prouvé, a builder whose production workshops were in Nancy, joined forces with the architect Pierre Jeanneret, who was Le Corbusier’s cousin and righthand man, and Charlotte Perriand, who was specialized in equipment, and was a former collaborator in the Rue de Sèvres workshop.

They were all persuaded that the architectural solution resided in fast, cheap new procedures. The execution of the commission placed with the SCAL for the buildings for accommodating the staff swiftly took shape, based on the theory of a machined house (patented) designed by Jean Prouvé, and adapted for use by Pierre Jeanneret. Charlotte Perriand was involved in the designs for most of the furniture: tables, brackets and stands, seating…

On the basis of Jean Prouvé’s research into pre-fabrication, two technical solutions were used to construct the buildings.
The first system was based on an external metal frame, already devised for a competition for houses that could be dismantled for the Air Ministry (1938) and first tested at the holiday camp in Onville (1939) with the architects Jacques and Michel André. That same year a commission from the 5th and 6th army confirmed the appropriateness of the technical proposition: the outer frame formed by tapering pillars made of sheet steel was completed by steel sections which gave the whole structure its rigidity; metal sheets covered the buildings and wooden cladding panels provided the finish for the walls. A module complying with this principle was dispatched to Issoire, designed by Jeanneret, to act as a guardroom—it was eventually used as cabin for the allotments.

The second system developed a more complex structure with an axial portico placed inside the building to support the ridge beams. The model registered in February 1939 had also been envisaged in 1938. On the SCAL construction site, it was adapted and re-thought by Pierre Jeanneret in its volumes and combinations, so that it could be adapted to the requirements in question. The principle was based on a load-bearing metal structure in the shape of an “upturned V”. The building housing offices and the design workshop was developed on two levels in March 1940; the club for the engineers was put up a few months later. The three buildings for the bedrooms, as well as the infirmary and the dispensary, offered a structural variation with porticos in the shape of “upturned U’s”.

The defeat of June 1940 brought the construction site to a standstill. Charlotte Perriand was summoned to Japan on a mission, left on 15 june 1940, and did return to France until 1946. After a stay in the Pyrenees, Pierre Jeanneret met up with Georges Blanchon, who created the BCC (Bureau Central de Construction) in Grenoble, to carry on the work at Issoire. Because Nancy was in the occupied zone, Jean Prouvé had trouble meeting his engagements. There was not enough steel for the structure, so he made up for this, for subsequent orders, with walls, a load-bearing structure and porticos all made of timber (1942). The rationing restrictions and various other problems did not dim their enthusiasm or their faith in the project, and they came up with other solutions.

The Issoire project helped to confirm the suitability of the industrialization of architectural elements, and made it possible to establish the prefabrication principle, in an innovative way. The Jeanneret-Prouvé team had demonstrated the importance of a close collaboration between the architect and the builder, to develop projects that were at once practical, aesthetic, and economical. This was a brilliant premonition, on the eve of a period when the urgent need for housing had made itself cruelly felt. That avant-garde architectural gesture on the SCAL’s turf in Issoire was nevertheless enough to attract the attention of the authorities in charge of reconstruction immediately after the war ended.

That human and technical adventure remains etched as a ground-breaking step in the history of modern architecture.

Anne Bony, mars 2015.

nouvelle-pub-monaco3

 

11columbia-logo

11 av. Princesse Grace, 98000 Monaco
T. +377 93 25 27 14
www.11columbia.com

 

DOWNTOWN@MONACO

 

In collaboration with Gallery 11 Columbia, François LAFFANOUR, specialist in XXth century architect pieces of furniture holds an exhibition with emblematics creations by Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Pierre Jeanneret, Serge Mouille, as well as contemporary design by Ron
Arad, Choi Byung Hoon, Garouste and Bonetti and Ingo Maurer. Designers, designers, architects, builders, they wanted and want to be actors of a new world, and generous.
Through «a collector’ s apartment», the itinerary, from the bedroom to the dining room diplays his eclectic choice and his taste for «staging». Each of piece, as well as photographies by Tom Fecht and Frank Perrin, and Takis’ s sculptures all come together in perfect harmony, and find the right place.

Exhibition from April 12th to June 22nd 2015.

 


PHOTOGRAPHIES

 

Photos © Sidney Guillemin


DOCUMENTS

 

À l’occasion de la TEFAF 2015, François Laffanour invité de l’émission « Télématin » le 14 Mars 2015 sur France 2.