Exhibitions

Paris Dispatch / September 2021

Anna Sansom gives a whirlwind summary tour of the wide range of new collectible design on view this autumn.

By Anna Sansom / 28th September 2021
Grégory Granados, 'Carmen', 2021 COURTESY: Grégory Granados / PHOTOGRAPH: Boryan-Delyan Delchev

Grégory Granados, ‘Carmen’, 2021
COURTESY: Grégory Granados / PHOTOGRAPH: Boryan-Delyan Delchev

EARLY SEPTEMBER IN France is known as “la rentrée”, when people return to work and children to school after the summer break. It’s when galleries reopen with new exhibitions and Paris Design Week reignites the platforms for design. We report on the highlights of Paris Design Week, the launch of the fair GURU and two gallery shows that merit attention.

Installation view, Victoria Magniant 'Ici & Ailleurs' COURTESY: Victoria Magniant and Galerie V

Installation view, Victoria Magniant ‘Ici & Ailleurs’
COURTESY: Victoria Magniant and Galerie V

Paris Design Week
“Desirable development” was the catch-all theme for Paris Design Week (9th-18th September), which coincided with the interiors fair Maison & Objet. While lacking large-scale public installations, the eclectic event featured countless exhibitions showcasing established and emerging names, brands and makers across the French capital.

Pierre Renart, 'Console Ellipse', from 'Collection Fusion', 2021 COURTESY: Galerie Maison Parisienne

Pierre Renart, ‘Console Ellipse’, from ‘Collection Fusion’, 2021
COURTESY: Galerie Maison Parisienne

A focus on sustainable materials was a common theme of many exhibits. For instance, in Corto Moltedo’s accessories store adjacent to the Palais Royal garden near the Louvre were new amply-shaped armchairs in natural materials by French designer Isabelle Stanislas. The centrepiece was the throne-like ‘Gatsby’ (2021), with soft, cream textile cushions by Aissa Dione on a white solid base made by French craftspeople.

Isabelle Stanislas, 'Armchair', 2021 COURTESY: Isabelle Stanislas

Isabelle Stanislas, ‘Armchair’, 2021
COURTESY: Isabelle Stanislas

Nearby in Galerie V within Galerie Vivienne was Victoria Magniant’s stained ash furniture, such as the ‘Naibu’ table and ‘Kumo’ day-bed in forest green and bordeaux hues. The pieces are a response to the “remote-working revolution” which has redefined our relationship to furniture at home.

Installation view, Victoria Magniant 'Ici & Ailleurs' COURTESY: Victoria Magniant and Galerie V

Installation view, Victoria Magniant ‘Ici & Ailleurs’
COURTESY: Victoria Magniant and Galerie V

Several studios unveiled new furniture collections in rented spaces. In Balice Hertling’s new art gallery in the Arts et Métiers district was Studio Razavi’s ‘Alborz Collection’ that deftly combines contrasting materials and geometrical forms – such as a bookcase with rounded-edge glass shelves sliced by a phallic marble cone.

Studio Razavi, 'Alborz Collection Shelf', 2021 COURTESY: Studio Razavi

Studio Razavi, ‘Alborz Collection Shelf’, 2021
COURTESY: Studio Razavi

The works by Iranian architect Alireza Razavi’s studio were displayed on LED-delineated plinths to emphasise the design language.

Studio Razavi, 'Alborz Collection Chair', 2021 COURTESY: Studio Razavi

Studio Razavi, ‘Alborz Collection Chair’, 2021
COURTESY: Studio Razavi

Across town at the Place des Vosges, interior designer Pierre Gonalons was presenting his new furniture collection in the stunning Hôtel de Sully’s Orangerie.

Installation view, Pierre Gonalons 'L'Orangerie' at Hotel de Sully, 2021 COURTESY: Pierre Gonalons

Installation view, Pierre Gonalons ‘L’Orangerie’ at Hotel de Sully, 2021
COURTESY: Pierre Gonalons

Exemplifying Gonalons’s aptitude for mixing things up, it includes upholstered armchairs with brass bases and duck egg green leather sofas with velvet backs, all underscored by voluptuous forms and sumptuous fabrics.

Installation view, Pierre Gonalons 'L'Orangerie' at Hotel de Sully, 2021 COURTESY: Pierre Gonalons

Installation view, Pierre Gonalons ‘L’Orangerie’ at Hotel de Sully, 2021
COURTESY: Pierre Gonalons

And over on Île St Louis near the restored Notre-Dame, Maison Parisienne juxtaposed Pierre Renart’s latest furniture collection, ‘Fusion’, in ribbons of walnut, with Julien Vermeulen’s beautiful goose feather ‘Totem’ sculptures.

Julien Vermeulen, 'Totems', 2021 COURTESY: Julien Vermeulen and Maison Parisienne

Julien Vermeulen, ‘Totems’, 2021
COURTESY: Julien Vermeulen and Maison Parisienne

Not to be missed was Espace Commines in the Marais where a group show brought together over a dozen young designers engaged in experimenting and upcycling. Highly conceptual was Célestine Peuchot’s ‘Inert Domestic System’ (2021) reflecting upon production lines slowing down during the pandemic.

Célestine Peuchot COURTESY: Célestine Peuchot

Célestine Peuchot
COURTESY: Célestine Peuchot

Peuchot’s collection of six objects, each made from a blue ceramic cylinder, neon tubes and acrylic and aluminium elements, gives the impression of the parts being revitalised after a period on standby.

Installation view, 'Inert Domestic System', 2021 COURTESY: Célestine Peuchot / PHOTOGRAPH: @ronaldsmits

Installation view, ‘Inert Domestic System’, 2021
COURTESY: Célestine Peuchot / PHOTOGRAPH: @ronaldsmits

Also on view were ingenious objects by Grégory Granados made from assembling fragmented elements including small plants in terrarium jars, and Raffaella Loï ‘Pinces’ collection (2021) of consoles and bookcases made from upcycled slabs of marble.

Raffaella Loï, 'Pinces' bookcase, 2021 COURTESY: Raffaella Loï

Raffaella Loï, ‘Pinces’ bookcase, 2021
COURTESY: Raffaella Loï

Nearby in Galerie Joseph there was design from Brazil, Mexico, Slovenia and Cameroon. Standouts were Jader Almeida’s ‘Twist Round Coffee Table’ with hollowed centre, made from American walnut on a marble base; Pierre-Christophe Gam’s ‘Njoya’ collection made from raffia palm by craftsmen in west Cameroon, and Larissa Batista’s Cubism-inspired, upholstered ‘Domo’ chair with a rounded, mounded seat.

Larissa Batista, 'Domo' chair, 2021 COURTESY: Larissa Batista

Larissa Batista, ‘Domo’ chair, 2021
COURTESY: Larissa Batista

Meanwhile, We Do Not Work Alone (founded by Louise Grislain, Anna Klossowski and Charlotte Morel) – at the intersection of art and design – launched new limited-edition functional objects created by artists. Elvire Bonduelle’s range of cushions with a veneer pattern and Benoît Maire’s perforated metal chair, ‘Chaise du Soir’ (2021), in blue, poppy and lemon are the latest offerings.

Benoît Maire, 'Chaise-du-Soir', 2021 COURTESY: Benoît Maire and We Do Not Work Alone

Benoît Maire, ‘Chaise-du-Soir’, 2021
COURTESY: Benoît Maire and We Do Not Work Alone

‘Lukas Cober: Shapes’ at Galerie Gosserez
The first solo show on Lukas Cober at Galerie Gosserez features curvy furniture from the young German designer’s two collections. While ‘Kuro’, is made from wood, the second, ‘New Wave’, is made from fibreglass. As the title suggests, the unifying thread is the attention to shapes.

Born in Aachen, Germany, in 1989, Cober studied at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design before working as an assistant to Valentin Loellmann for eight years. Feeling the urge to develop his own practice, he established his studio three years ago. His first pieces were made from walnut, such as the ‘Kuro Nude Bookshelf’, loosely resembling a ladder with circles on the sides increasing in size from top to bottom, and ‘Kuro Nude Console’ with a flame-blackened surface.

Lukas Cober, 'Kuro Nude Bookshelf', 2021 COURTESY: Lukas Cober & Galerie Gosserez

Lukas Cober, ‘Kuro Nude Bookshelf’, 2021
COURTESY: Lukas Cober & Galerie Gosserez

Then he began working with fibreglass. “The inspiration came from surfing, which I’m passionate about, and fibreglass is the material used to reinforce surfboards,” Cober says. “I always had the idea of developing furniture with this material.”

Lukas Cober, 'New Wave' bench, 2021 COURTESY: Lukas Cober & Galerie Gosserez

Lukas Cober, ‘New Wave’ bench, 2021
COURTESY: Lukas Cober & Galerie Gosserez

The contours of the ‘New Wave’ shapes contrast with their translucent flat surfaces that Cober likens to “the lines of the ocean” due to the perceptible unfolding of the material’s layers. After creating the first piece in pale green, which is the original colour of fibreglass, he started adding in pigments to make the others.

Reflecting on his evolving practice, he says: “I’m just trying to make beautiful things that I would love to have and I’m convinced of myself.”

Lukas Cober, 'New Wave' stool', 2021 COURTESY: Lukas Cober & Galerie Gosserez

Lukas Cober, ‘New Wave’ stool’, 2021
COURTESY: Lukas Cober & Galerie Gosserez

‘Différente Mais Semblable’ at Galerie Scène Ouverte
Three years after opening her gallery above her husband’s restaurant on the Left Bank, Laurence Bonnel has moved to a new space in St-Germain-des-Prés. A few metres away are Galerie kreo, Galerie Downtown, Jousse Entreprise and Kamel Mennour. “I wanted to be in an area with more galleries,” Bonnel says about her reason for relocating.

Bonnel is also a sculptor, making elongated, bronze figures. She was driven to become a gallerist in order to have more contact with other creative people and support their work. “I found the periods in between my own exhibitions difficult to tolerate,” she admits, “so I decided to open a collectible design gallery with functional art.”

Assi Joseph Meidan, 'Meidan' lamp, 2021 COURTESY: Assi Joseph Meidan

Assi Joseph Meidan, ‘Meidan’ lamp, 2021
COURTESY: Assi Joseph Meidan and Galerie Scène Ouverte

Initially, Bonnel discovered the artists with which she collaborates on Instagram although, increasingly, artists send her their portfolios. “If something catches my eye, I subscribe to their Instagram account, look at it for a few weeks and, if it continues to interest me, I contact the artist,” explains Bonnel.

Atelier Van Asseldonk, 'Flare Stack' chandelier, 2021 COURTESY: Atelier Van Asseldonk and Galerie Scène Ouverte

Atelier Van Asseldonk, ‘Flare Stack’ chandelier, 2021
COURTESY: Atelier Van Asseldonk and Galerie Scène Ouverte

The inaugural show, ‘Différente Mais Semblable’, features new pieces by ten artists, including several ceramicists. The title encapsulates how their work is different yet familial. Among the highlights are Léa Ginac’s ‘Tribu’ – glazed terracotta stools and table recalling ancient vessels – and Julien Cedolin’s ‘Piliers’ – black, rope-adorned vertical ceramics – as well as Gemma Barr’s ‘Concrete Cave’ – a chair formed from grotto-like stalactites.

Gemma Barr, 'Crater Concave I', 2021 COURTESY: Gemma Barr and Galerie Scène Ouverte

Gemma Barr, ‘Crater Concave I’, 2021
COURTESY: Gemma Barr and Galerie Scène Ouverte

GURU
The words “craft and design” used to conjure images of unspectacular handicrafts. But this month, a new craft and design fair has proved to be exceptional. Held in the Cornette de Saint Cyr auction house near the Arc de Triomphe, GURU was launched by independent specialist Graziella Semerciyan and François Epin, director of the auction house’s design department. Spread over three floors of a 19th century mansion, eight galleries were given carte blanche.

Stefan Leo, 'Table', 2021 COURTESY: Stefan Leo and Galerie 208

Stefan Leo, ‘Table’, 2021
COURTESY: Stefan Leo and Galerie 208

“There’s no PAD this October and this combination of craft and design corresponds to what I do,” explains Florence Guillier-Bernard, founder of Maison Parisienne, as her reason for participating. The gallery presented works by the 80-year-old French textile artist Simone Pheulpin – including ‘Terre Blanche’ (2021), a mural piece whose folds of pale fabric evoke cracked earth, €25,000 – alongside younger artists.

Works by Simone Pheulpin and Pierre Renart at Maison Parisienne COURTESY: Simone Pheulpin, Pierre Renart and Maison Parisienne / PHOTOGRAPH: @carlos_Ruizc

Works by Simone Pheulpin and Pierre Renart at Maison Parisienne
COURTESY: Simone Pheulpin, Pierre Renart and Maison Parisienne / PHOTOGRAPH: @carlos_Ruizc

The essence of savoir-faire and exploration of materials typified the exhibits, such as Vincent Poujardieu’s ‘Nida’ chandelier (2021), composed of clusters of man-made honeycomb panels, at Galerie Gosserez. When illuminated “it looks like a cloud of bees”, Poujardieu opines.

Vincent Poujardieu, 'Nida' chandelier, 2021 COURTESY: Vincent Poujardieu and Galerie Gosserez

Vincent Poujardieu, ‘Nida’ chandelier, 2021
COURTESY: Vincent Poujardieu and Galerie Gosserez

“We should support new fairs and this is an opportunity to show the designers that we’ve been representing for the last ten years,” says gallery owner Marie-Bérangère Gosserez, who was also presenting Valentin Loellmann’s furniture and Valerie Jolly’s light sculptures.

Exquisite craftsmanship from various cultures was on view. At Galerie Mingei were Toshimasa Kikuchi’s mathematically conceived ‘Needles’ (2020) – suspended, elegant sculptures in urushi, silver leaf and gold leaf over cypress wood, €15,000 each. Meanwhile, creations from Mexico were shown at Xantico Gallery – a new venture by Spanish design journalist Susana Ordovás and Epin. “We want to show Mexican handicraft with a sophisticated edge,” Ordovás says. Aurelie Hoegy’s ‘Wild Fibers’ coffee table made from rattan, €54,000, and Arte Ananas’s glazed, pineapple-inspired vessels with punch bowls, €6,500-€7,500, were among the discoveries.

Aurelie Hoegy, 'Wild Fibers' coffee table, 2020 COURTESY: Aurelie Hoegy and Xantico Gallery / PHOTOGRAPH: Bruno Pelarin

Aurelie Hoegy, ‘Wild Fibers’ coffee table, 2020
COURTESY: Aurelie Hoegy and Xantico Gallery / PHOTOGRAPH: Bruno Pelarin

Also striking were French architect Marine Bonnefoy’s graceful, semi-circular console made from strips of wavy sycamore; Stefan Leo’s tables with delicate, pigmented petals on glass tops, €12,000-€19,000, at Galerie 208, and abstract basketry pieces, €900-€1,800, by L’Oseraie de l’île at Sinople.

Karen Gossart for L'Oiseraie de l'île, 'Jeu de Courbes', 2021 COURTESY: Karen Gossart and Sinople / PHOTOGRAPH: @Carlos_Ruizc

Karen Gossart for L’Oiseraie de l’île, ‘Jeu de Courbes’, 2021
COURTESY: Karen Gossart and Sinople / PHOTOGRAPH: @Carlos_Ruizc

Outside in the courtyard a presentation by Nice’s Galerie Mélissa Paul featured, among others, Agnès Debizet’s furniture recalling tree roots, Olivia Cognet’s stoneware, rounded legged stool, and Ulrikk Dufossé’s galvanised iron mobiles.

Installation view Galerie Mélissa Paul at GURU Craft & Design COURTESY: Galerie Melissa Paul / PHOTOGRAPH: Carlos Ruizc

Installation view Galerie Mélissa Paul at GURU Craft & Design
COURTESY: Galerie Melissa Paul / PHOTOGRAPH: Carlos Ruizc

Another highlight was the curated space by Semerciyan. The array of pieces by upcoming artists ranged from Florentine and Alexandre Lamarche-Ovize’s bench in lime-hued, handmade tiles, to Xanthe Somers’s and Victor Alarçon’s brightly painted vases for Volume Ceramics.

The challenge for Epin and Semerciyan is to make GURU a regular event during Paris Design Week and build on this first edition.

Marine Bonnefoy, 'Console', 2021 COURTESY: Marine Bonnefoy / PHOTOGRAPH: @Carlos_Ruizc

Marine Bonnefoy, ‘Console’, 2021
COURTESY: Marine Bonnefoy / PHOTOGRAPH: @Carlos_Ruizc

‘Lukas Cober: Shapes’ is at Galerie Gosserez, 3 rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris, until 25th September 2021.

‘Différente Mais Semblable’ is at Galerie Scène Ouverte, 72 Rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris, until 16th October 2021.

Article By

Anna Sansom
Anna Sansom is a British journalist, based in Paris, who writes about contemporary art, design and architecture.