Pierre Paulin (French, 1927-2009) trained to be a sculptor but injured his right arm forcing him to switch gears to design and study at École Camondo in Paris. He is perhaps best known for his innovative designs for Dutch company Artifort of the 1960s famed Mushroom Chair (1959), the Ribbon Chair (1966) and the Tongue chair (1968) that used foams and metallic frames with stretch materials and clear lines that cradled the body. Paulin was also highly influential and involved in French design through the 1970s. Clearly influenced by his training as a sculptor and his German roots as well as the work of early modernists, Paulin was even more impacted by the work of George Nelson and Charles Eames and the significance of the social component of modern design.
Most notably, Paulin was invited by the Mobilier National in 1970 to decorate the private apartments of President George Pompidou in the Palais de l'Élysée, and to furnish the office of President Francois Mitterand in 1983. He also redesigned the interiors of numerous private and public spaces including the Denon Wing of the Louvre Museum, the hall of Tapestries in Paris City Hall, the Economic and Social Council assembly room, and the Green Room of the state radio's Broadcasting House ("Maison de la Radio").
What makes Paulin’s designs so distinctive is their striking sculptural shape, which earned Paulin many prizes worldwide. Paulin’s designs are timeless and progressive and in November 2009 he was posthumously awarded the distinction of “Royal Designer for Industry” (RDI) by President Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2016, a retrospective of his work was on view at Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Royal Designer for Industry (RDI)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris