Ging Koen Glish Business Pierre Paulin, il suo design dalle “pietre” all’Eliseo

Pierre Paulin, il suo design dalle “pietre” all’Eliseo

Pierre Paulin, dopo un inizio come intagliatore di pietre, diventerà uno dei designer francesi del ‘900 più innovativi e apprezzati. Una storia rocambolesca…

La creatività era, evidentemente, un dono di famiglia in casa Paulin. George, lo zio di Pierre Paulin, era un progettista automobilistico, celebre per aver inventato il tettuccio rigido retrattile meccanico. George fu giustiziato dai nazisti nel 1941 come eroe della Resistenza francese.

Ma a proseguire la storia di famiglia ci penserà Pierre Paulin che diventerà uno degli interior designer più celebri del modernariato francese.

Gli inizi non sono semplici…

E dire che, dopo aver fallito il diploma di maturità, nessuno avrebbe immaginato un futuro nel mondo del design per questo ragazzo nato nel 1927 a Parigi da vintage padre francese e madre della Svizzera tedesca. Né tantomeno che un giorno sarebbe stato lui a progettare gli interni degli appartamenti del presidente Georges Pompidou all’Eliseo.

La sua infanzia non è semplice. Si trasferisce da Parigi a Laon, nel nord della Francia, una grigia città dormitorio per gli operai che lavorano nella vicina ferrovia.

Archiviati gli studi, inizia a lavorare come ceramista a Vallaurius e poi come intagliatore di pietre in Borgogna. Così Pierre sviluppa una passione per la scultura. Ma proprio mentre immagina un futuro da scultore, una brutta ferita al braccio destro in una rissa lo costringe ad accantonare i propri sogni.

Ma Paulin non si arrende

Ma Paulin non si arrende. E la vita, per lui, ha in serbo ancora molte sorprese. L’unico luogo dove può inseguire i suoi sogni è Parigi. Così torna nella capitale nel 1951 dove viene ammesso alla scuola Comondo. Uno dei suoi professori, il decoratore Maxime Old intuisce il talento di Pierre e lo segnala al desginer Marcel Gascoin con cui inizia a collaborare.

Ecco la svolta che Paulin attendeva. Iniziando a collaborare con altri designer dello studio (Pierre Guariche e Michel Mortier) conosce il design scandinavo contemporaneo e si innamora della luce e dei colori che si mescolano in una austera semplicità.

Da qui la rinascita ed incomincia a creare meravigliose poltrone e oggetti di design come la Ribbon chair.

Pierre Paulin ribbon chair

Dalla Francia alla Scandinavia (e ritorno)

Così lascia la Francia e va nella penisola scandinava scoprendo l’architettura organica di Alvar Aalto. Poi, tornato in Francia, si innamora dell’ironia e delle forme della controversa Coconut Chair di George Nelson.

Dopo essersi lasciato contaminare ed ispirare, Paulin è pronto per spiccare il volo. Lo fa nel 1953 con la sua prima mostra al Salon des arts ménagers e la copertina della rivista La Maison Française. Dobbiamo considerare che mentre in Italia, Scandinavia e Stati Uniti il concetto di design industriale è già ampiamente sviluppato e la generazione di designer italiani sta già esplodendo, in Francia si tratta di un settore ancora in fase embrionale.

La consacrazione di Paulin

E se dalla fase embrionale cresce in fretta, il merito è anche di Paulin e del suo stile inconfondibile. Le sedie Mushroom (1959), Ribbon (1966), e Tongue (1968) sono delle icone che ancora oggi ispirano tanti artisti contemporanei. Razionali, eleganti, piene di charme e senso dell’umorismo. Sono gli anni in cui riesce ad esprimere in pieno la sua creatività, tanto che viene chiamato per ridefinire anche gli spazi espositivi del Louvre.

Lui stesso definisce la collezione Mushroom come “il miglior oggetto a livello industriale che abbia mai disegnato”. Oggi, la Mashroom fa parte della collezione permanente del MoMA di New York. Un’altro punto a suo favore è la rivelazione del suo design tipico dell’epoca space Age.

La sua maggiore particolarità è l’assenza di cuciture che rende ancor più morbide le sue forme. Non a caso pochi anni prima Paulin aveva iniziato una ricerca sui tessuti elasticizzati iniziando anche a collaborare con il dipartimento di sviluppo di Artifort per ottenere il prototipo desiderato.

Le creazioni firmate da Pierre Paulin sono facilmente riconoscibili oggi come ieri e conservano una grazia e un’armonia uniche.

Negli anni ’70 e ’80 arriva la definitiva consacrazione per Paulin che arreda il soggiorno, la sala da pranzo e le sale espositive degli appartamenti privati dell’Eliseo per Pompidou nel 1971 e, 12 anni più tardi, torna a lavorare per un presidente francese, François Mitterrand, per il quale arreda l’ufficio presidenziale. Tra gli altri suoi clienti celebri, Renault, Citroen, Airbus, Tefal, Ericsson.

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