Charlotte Perriand - Important Design London Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Cité Universitaire, Antony, 1954-1955
    Christie's, New York, Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design, 14 June 2012, lot 193
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Galeries Jousse Seguin and Galerie Enrico Navarra, Jean Prouvé, Paris, 1998, pp. 150-51 for similar examples
    Jacques Barsac, Charlotte Perriand: Complete Works Volume 2, 1940-1955, Paris, 2015, pp. 428-29 for similar examples

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot was designed by Charlotte Perriand as part of a coveted contract to furnish one hundred and fifty single rooms at the student housing complex at the Cité Universitaire of Antony, then the largest student accommodation in Europe. As part of the reconstruction in France following the war, the national education authority launched a large-scale construction programme for new schools creating a large market for school furnishings. Concerned with matters of education and its social dimension, Perriand embraced the opportunity to design spaces for modern living for the upcoming generations. Whereas the furniture available to the French public in the early 1950s largely comprised designs reflecting pre-war style, Perriand’s furniture provided students with modern design solutions that responded to their daily lives.

    Demonstrating a considered analysis of both the subject and object, Perriand designed the ‘Antony’ bookcase in response to a student’s day-to-day gestures and needs within their living space. She based the dimensions of the bookcase on precise measurements of the objects she anticipated students would store in the units and the overall proportions of the room. The resulting design created a series of voids within the small inhabited volume. Enhancing the visual composition of the bookcase’s punctuated shelving, Perriand used red perforated hardboard for the back panels. The structural system Perriand designed using two lateral panels and a separate back allowed for potential variation in the width of the shelves, in addition to the benefit of flat transport for assembly onsite. Softening the precise lines of the black-painted steel, the bookcase’s horizontal ash veneer shelving lent an element of warmth, creating a balance between natural and machine-made materials within students’ living space. The compositional structure of the ‘Antony’ bookcase illustrates Perriand’s approach to bring together standardised elements, enhancing the adaptability of her designs which she could re-imagine in response to the requirements of a specific project and its inhabitants.

  • Artist Biography

    Charlotte Perriand

    French • 1903 - 1999

    Trailblazer Charlotte Perriand burst onto the French design scene in her early 20s, seemingly undeterred by obstacles in an era when even the progressive Bauhaus school of design barred women from architecture and furniture design courses. She studied under Maurice Dufrêne at the École de l'Union Centrale des art Décoratifs, entering into a competition at the 1925 Expo des Arts Décoratifs by age 22 and gaining critical acclaim for her exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in 1927.

    On the heels of this success, that same year she joined the Paris design studio of Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. For ten years the three collaborated on "equipment for living," such as the iconic tubular steel B306 Chaise Longue (1928). After World War II, Perriand joined forces with Jean Prouvé to create modernist furniture that combined the precise lines of Prouvé's bent steel with the soft, round edges and warmth of natural wood.

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Important 'Antony' bookcase, designed for the Cité Universitaire, Antony

Ash-veneered wood, painted steel, painted perforated hardboard.
188.2 x 289.6 x 35 cm (74 1/8 x 114 x 13 3/4 in.)
Manufactured by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, France.

£75,000 - 85,000 Ω

Sold for £87,500

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Important Design

London Auction 26 April 2018