Between 1953 and 1959, Pierre Paulin’s initial creations were produced by Meubles TV and Thonet France. In 1958 though, he met Kho Liang Te, Artistic Director of Artifort, and his Managing Director Harry Wagemans, who were on the lookout for a French designer. With the pick of many promising young talents, they had the foresight to choose him, despite his reserved and untalkative demeanour. 1959 marked the beginning of a lengthy collaboration. Harry Wagemans knew just how to follow the creative impulses of Pierre Paulin right up to the mid 1970s. At the same time, Pierre Paulin also knew how to devise more ‘reassuring’ models in parallel to working on his Cygne seating (also known as Tulip) and developing his Mushroom armchair (1960), perfecting the integral coverings of his seating.
Like Florence Knoll at Knoll or George Nelson at Herman Miller, like his North American counterparts, he was much more than just a designer at Artifort: close to his managers, he oversaw photoshoots of his furniture and designed the French stands at fairs where the brand had a presence. Designed in 1962, model 442 was one of those ‘clever’ seats which rubbed shoulders with his avant-garde creations of the time, most often armchairs such as Ribbon Chair or The Tongue. It is now being reissued by Ligne Roset under the name Andy.
Nadine Descendre, in her work, ‘Pierre Paulin, l’homme et l’oeuvre,’ published by Albin Michel in late 2014, underlines the duality of Pierre Paulin’s nature : classic and modern, purist and soft, revolutionary and conservative, methodical and impulsive. Conscious of these contradictions, he knew that they often unsettled him: he wanted to design for the people and he also made furniture for Presidents Pompidou and Miterrand. He revolutionized design in the second half of the 20th Century with his organic forms and, in the early Eighties, produced limited edition collections of ‘purist’ pieces, revisiting an antique piece of seating (Curule folding armchair) or the Gothic period (Cathédrale table). Andy, too, seems set to become a great classic, bearing as it does the imprint of Pierre Paulin.
Reinterpreting Florence Knoll’s settee (1954), he softened all its contours, reducing the number of buttons to eliminate the severe squares of quilting and made the metal structure underlining the edges of its base disappear, retaining only the four legs: in short, he designed a new domestic settee, both sensual and refined. And as a precious refinement, he mounted the chromed steel legs inside the armrests both to the front and to the rear, a touch which was just as elegant when viewed from the front as from the rear: inserting the leg into the armrest necessitated more meticulous stitching and upholstery for a perfect finish.
The baguette stitching on the structure and the piping highlighting the lines of the seat and back cushions both testify to the care taken with the finish. Initially designed to be covered in leather, it also takes fabric coverings, in which case the covers are removable. The use of very high quality multi-density foams on the seat and back promote the best sitting posture, with a well-judged slope of the seat and individually-sprung seat cushions with Pullmaflex springs for ideal comfort.
Structure – Panels of 3 – layer particleboard and panels of multiply reinforced by a mechanically-soldered steel seat structure clad in polyether foam. Base with visible armrest insert in square-section steel in a brilliantchromed or gloss black-chromed finish.
CoMfort – Individually-sprung seats with steel wires suspended on steel Pullmaflex springs. Seat cushions in multi-density high resilience polyurethane Bultex foam, dominant 38 kg/m3 – 3.6 kPa clad in a layer of polyester quilting 300 g/m². Back cushions in multi-density high resilience polyurethane foam, dominant 25 kg/m3 – 1.6 kPa clad in a layer of polyester quilting 300 g/m².
Making – up – Baguette seams on structure and armrests. Seat cushions quilted with 4 buttons; back cushions quilted with 2 buttons. Lines of seat and back cushions highlighted by piping. Covers are removable (NB except leather and microfibres). Covering materials – Originally presented in leather, it can also take fabrics, particularly if they have a good feel and ennobling effect.
Large settee W 221 D 83 Back height 73
Seat height 42
Medium settee W 152 D 83 Back height 73
Seat height 42
Armchair W 83 D 83 Back height 73
Seat height 42
Store: Ligne Roset Réaumur