Maria Pergay designs the T for NYT Summer Design issue
The Russian-born French designer Maria Pergay created a gleaming ‘‘T’’ out of stainless steel and topped it with a diamond. ‘‘I tried to do it justice,’’ says the 81-year-old artist, who is known for her avant-garde metal furniture. Pergay got her start as a window dresser and says she has a ‘‘big appetite’’ for materials like wood, silver and, especially, stainless steel: ‘‘It is incorruptible, perfectly strong and feminine.’’ In addition to her recent retrospective in Paris, Pergay, who was inducted into the Legion of Honor in February, will celebrate her 55-year career with an exhibition of new and old work at Design Miami/Basel in June.
What was your inspiration for this T?
I was inspired by the Times’s “T” itself, the very old and majestic style of the gothic font and its sense of history.
How long did it take you to create the T?
I sketched for 20 minutes, but it took me 18 full days to execute the project.
How tall is the T? What everyday object is it comparable to, size-wise?
The letter stands more than 50 centimeters tall, about 20 inches.
What made you integrate the infinity sign into this piece?
What symbolizes infinite possibility to you?
What about the jewel? What inspired you include the diamond?
I’m drawn to diamonds. Diamonds are eternal.
What first drew you to working with stainless steel?
The Flying Carpet Daybed, which I made in 1968, was my first foray into stainless steel. I’ve been working with the material ever since then.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in this project?
How to express myself.
What do you love about your work?
I like its exigence. Happiness comes from paying attention to and obeying artistic urges.
What is unusual about this T?
Fill in the blank: T stands for _______________.