This compilation of original sketches by the incomparable French designer Maria Pergay depicts trademark elements and motifs that have reappeared throughout her career: ribbons, buckles, a fascination with natural forms including branches and ancient stones, her pioneering use of stainless steel. Early depictions of Rainbow Table (2010) and Tiger Table (2005) illustrate Pergay’s inspired use of tinted stainless steel, a notable departure from her previous work. A sketch for Ribbon Chair (2007) explores one of the earliest and recurring forms in Pergay’s output, originating with the designer’s elaborate silver objects and accessories dating to the 1950s, such as boxes, champagne buckets, letter openers, and trays which were made as corporate gifts as well as commissions from companies including Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Hermès.
The following pages from her sketchbook are personal, each a moment unto themselves. Some are intricately detailed with notes specifying materials, while others are more loose and evocative. Drawn from 2004 through 2016 on non-precious scrap pieces of paper, napkins, Paris Metro ticket stubs, and hotel stationary, Pergay jots her ideas down as they come to her in pencil, ink, and watercolor. The resulting sketches offer intimate glimpses into Pergay’s ruminations and imagination, allowing us to see her ideas, as they sometimes remain, or witness them before their ultimate transformation into finished, refined pieces—a process that alludes to the freedom and passion for experimentation so central to Pergay’s way of working.
This selection was culled from Maria Pergay: Sketch Book, published for the first time in 2017.
“They represent the fleeting moment when her new creation first appears to her, and reflect the essence of her creativity. Maria Pergay herself doesn’t think her sketches adequately represent what is in her mind’s eye, but for the viewer, these sketches provide an intimate view into her creative process. They catch the spirit of her intention in a way that no technical drawing could ever achieve.” — Suzanne Demisch
“I don’t work on paper. I can’t really say why. It’s sad, perhaps, but I won’t leave any drawings when I go, except perhaps the full-scale forms I sketch in the factory. I see the object in my mind, or I don’t. I don’t set out to make something that looks like this or that. I don’t ask myself whether there should be a drawer or not. It’s very unusual for me to revise anything. When I plan how to fabricate a model, I actually copy it over in my mind where it exists as if completely executed. It’s hard to describe. When people see my work, they think of traditional ways of producing art works and say, ‘Oh, what a beautiful design!’ And I respond, a bit naively, ‘No, I don’t know how to draw.’ They don’t believe me, but it’s the truth.” — Maria Pergay