Get off your Mushroom Stool and put on a festive beret, because kicking off today at the French Cultural Services’ U.S. headquarters in New York City is a gala 80th birthday celebration and exhibit in honor of French designer Pierre Paulin. The cake, ice cream, and Ribbon Chairs will be around through January 25th. Meanwhile, across the pond, an exhibit of Paulin’s furniture runs through December 16th at Azzedine Alaia‘s Paris gallery.
Paulin’s “wedding of the sinuous, brilliantly colored prints with the sculptured furniture is so successful that it is hard to imagine one without the other,” raved a 1967 New York Times article that helped bring the designer to the attention of the general public. On display at the French Embassy-sponsored exhibition will be a selection of Paulin’s most iconic furniture designs, many of them covered in bold 60’s fabrics designed by Jack Lenor Larsen, another octogenarian design legend. On the second floor are a series of photographs of the Elysee Palace’s interiors redesigned by Paulin for Georges Pompidou and 15 years later, for Francois Mitterand.
When asked in a recent interview if he admires any contemporary designers, he replied, “There’s a young German with a Yugoslavian name?” After confirming it was Konstantin Grcic he had in mind, Paulin went on to call him “emblematic of the hope for a new generation.”
“And there’s an Englishman,” Paulin added, referring to Jasper Morrison. “He won’t transform the world. He’s classical, and doesn’t try to astonish, which I often tried to do. But he searches, like I tried to do, to serve a public. That’s our function as designers.”