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Friday, December 9, 2011

Pierre Paulin

Pierre Paulin (1927-2009) was born in Paris and studied at the Ecole Camondo, planning to become a sculptor in stone. However, an accident made it impossible for him to work in that medium, so he turned to design.

His work caught the attention of Thonet and Meubles T.V. in the early 1950s, but most of his best known designs were for Artifort between 1958 and 1970. Although he designed wall-mounted desks, benches and coffee tables, seating was Paulin's focus almost from the beginning of his career, as he viewed seating as a form of sculpture and appreciated the understanding of the human body required to design chairs and sofas in a way that made them attractive to people.

Many of Paulin's most successful pieces were referred to only by production numbers, although others, such as the Ribbon, Orange Slice, Tongue, Butterfly, Pumpkin and Mushroom, were given names. Although his early work was highly influenced by the likes of Charles Eames and Florence Knoll, his later whimsical designs broke new ground. Working for Artifort, he began to experiment with new shapes and materials. Many of his tubular steel and foam chairs and sofas had no visible frame. The scale of his furniture became much larger, and he began to use upholstery fabric in bright colors. Because of the sinuous shape of many of his designs, he began to work with textile designers such as American Jack Lenor Larson to come up with fabrics that would stretch to fit his furniture.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Paulin received several important commissions from the French government. He re-designed a wing of the Louvre and designed the private apartment of President Georges Pompidou, as well as the Presidential Office of Francois Mitterand. Paulin also designed household appliances and won a national grand prize for his design of a travel iron.

In recent years, Artifort and Ligne Roset have reintroduced Paulin's furniture into production, a testament to its continued relevance.

From, and

Butterfly chair

ABCD sofa

Tongue chair

Orange Slice chair

Ribbon chair and ottoman

Amphys sofa

Mushroom chair and ottoman

Pumpkin sofa


  1. I'll have one slice orange chair please:)

  2. slice.....I was just too excited when I saw it.

  3. @LeAnn: I could use a little slice of that orange chair myself. It's definitely exciting, especially to an orange lover like me.