Art Deco Designers in France
June 17, 2010
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France was at the forefront of the Art Deco style for a number of years. Jacques Emile Ruhlmann in furniture, Jean Puiforcat in silver and Jean Dunand in lacquer work were leading designers at this time. Rene Lalique a glass worker and Paul Poiret a jeweler created beautiful pieces in the Art Deco Style.
The rooms of Ruhluman at the Paris exhibition of 1925 are brilliant examples of French Art Deco architecture. Rene Lalique created a shining example of Art Deco on the French luxury liner Normandie with his lighting and décor in the grand salon.
Ruhlmann used rare materials lizard skin, shagreen (sharkskin or galuchet), and ivory, tortoiseshell and exotic hardwoods. He created classically inspired interiors and furniture with Empire style features such as tapered fluted legs, drum shaped tables. He also used thin ivory inlays and delicate ivory caps (sabots) covered the feet.
At 1925 Paris exhibition the chairs placed in his dining room were based on the 18th century gondola type. He used boldly patterned wallpaper, a huge chandelier, classical detailing including; entablature as a cornice. Other French designers were Andre Groult and Paul Iribe. Paul designed an apartment in 1912 using 18th century design influences.
Groult used Louis XVI furniture and Art deco features. He created formalised baskets, garlands of flowers, tassels, ropes and feathers. At Pavillion de L’Ambassade he created a female bedroom using shagreen furniture, bombe-shaped chest of drawers and a Gondole chair upholstered in velvet.
Eileen Gray designed Suzanne Talbot’s apartment in 1920. She used animal skins, upholstered an armchair in salmon pink with the two front legs modeled as two rearing serpents, a piroque (canoe) sofa in patinated bronze lacquer with silver-leaf decoration. The brick wall leading to the bedroom was lacquered.
She went on the open a shop to sell her hand made rugs and lacquer-work screens. In the late 1920’s she moved away from her highly decorative Art Deco work to embrace the Modern Movement using tubular steel, glass and timber furniture.
Unlike Eileen many Art Deco designers opposed the modern movement saying it neglected individuality and the decorative aspect of interior design.