Pierre Paulin



Pierre Paulin

Past: May 11 → August 22, 2016

Galerie 3, Level 1

Designer and interior designer Pierre Paulin sculpted space, laid it out and “landscaped” it. His environments, furniture and industrial objects might be simple or spectacular, but were always conceived to serve the body, providing both comfort and cosiness. They also reflected his fascination with technical innovations, like the development of stretch textiles and injection moulding plastic. This retrospective exhibits key pieces by Paulin that have never or rarely been shown to the public, including the Coupe aux Nénuphars, the Araignée ceiling light and the Bonheur du Jour desk, together with other now iconic items, like the Tripode Cage, the Mushroom and the Tongue.

Centre pompidou pierre paulin siege declive medium

The retrospective also focuses on projects that were never edited or which he produced himself (such as the Tapis-siège carpet seat, the Déclive recliner and the Tente, rare pieces from the Fifties and various prototypes.

With over a hundred items of furniture, drawings, models and archives, the exhibition unfolds in a chronological circuit, with a series of stands highlighting Paulin’s collaborations with editors like Meuble TV, Thonet, Disderot, and Artifort, industrial pieces designed for Adsa (the agency Pierre Paulin created with his wife Maïa Paulin and Marc Lebailly, in 1975) and the Mobilier National.

By the late Sixties, Paulin’s designs had entered the MoMa, in New York. In 1971, he was commissioned by Claude and Georges Pompidou to refurbish the private apartments of the Elysée Palace. In 1984, he was also called on by François Mitterrand for the interior decoration and design of the President’s office at the Elysée.

Centre pompidou pierre paulin fauteuil palais elysee medium

Thanks to a remarkable donation from the designer’s family in 2015, the retrospective covers the entire 50 years of the designer’s career. This collection of furniture, archives, documents and drawings dedicated to his output, and particularly to his work during of the 50’s and 60’s, sheds light on how Paulin’s work came into being: from hand works to hand works, throught industrial design.

Pierre Paulin’s explorations were constantly driven by a concern for comfort, the body and innovation, therefore various re-edited items have been placed in the exhibition, where visitors can sit and experience this new lifestyle for themselves. They include the Mushroom, Ribbon, Tulip and Butterfly chairs. The retrospective also features a new reconstruction of Paulin’s sitting room at La Calmette, the villa he built in the French Cévennes, in the Nineties, where visitors can see the thick Diouan (carpet) that runs along the wall and forms a setting for four Tongue chairs.

Centre pompidou pierre paulin fauteuil mushroom medium

The catalogue, edited by the exhibition’s curator, Cloé Pitiot, is based on key themes in Paulin’s work: colour, technical innovation, the relationship with advertising and the consumer society, and commissions from institutions.

04 Beaubourg Zoom in 04 Beaubourg Zoom out

Place Georges Pompidou

75004 Paris

T. 01 44 78 12 33 — F. 01 44 78 16 73


Hôtel de Ville

Opening hours

Every day except Tuesday, 11 AM – 9 PM
Late night on until 11 PM

Admission fee

Full rate €14.00 — Concessions €11.00

Gratuit pour les moins de 18 ans, billet exonéré pour les moins de 26 ans. Et pour tout le monde, les premiers dimanches du mois.

Venue schedule