Louis Vuitton realises Pierre Paulin’s 1970s concepts for modular, moveable furniture
Back in 1972, celebrated French designer Pierre Paulin designed a collection of furniture for Herman Miller that never came to fruition. For Design Miami 2014, French fashion house Louis Vuitton finally brought the collection to life, producing all 18 pieces for an exhibition entitled Playing with Shapes.
The collection’s undercurrent is modularity and change, allowing the user to adapt the furniture and customise their environment, a popular concept in 1970s design (and now). Though some of the pieces feature Paulin’s signature sweeping curves, others are a departure, using tessellating geometric shapes, albeit softened with rounded edges.
At the heart of the range is the Dune modular sofa, which, arranged in series, forms an undulating landscape of triangular sections that slope up in places to create backrests. Similar in spirit is the Tapis-siège (which translates as “carpet seat”), an origami-inspired rug whose corners fold up to make the backrests.
Bibliothèque U is, as it describes, bookshelves comprised of rows of U-shaped wooden modules; while the Petite Déclive is a low recliner chair comprising articulated oblong panels. Paulin died in 2009, but his widow Maia and son Benjamin collaborated with Louis Vuitton on the project, creating full-scale products from Paulin’s original maquettes.