Pumpkin sofa by Pierre Paulin of Ligne Roset, 1960s
In the late 1960s, as France sought to unleash the country’s struggling design industry, they came up with a clever idea: redesign President Georges Pompidou’s apartment in the Elysee Palace by the young French talent Pierre Paulin. In Pauline’s out-of-this-world rooms, there were many decorations: carved sofas and chairs made from strips of wood wrapped in foam and upholstered in leather. While the seats were coveted by visiting dignitaries, the series — known to most as the Elysée — didn’t gain much popularity until the early 2000s, when it resurfaced at Dimeche Danant Gallery in New York. “People knew Pauline, but they knew nothing about the French production,” explains Suzanne Demeche. “They were hard to find, even back then.” Fashion designer Nicolas Ghesquière captured some of the first products to hit the market. While those rare originals—which were briefly produced by French manufacturer Alfa and finished around 1973—are difficult to find, New York gallery Ralph Pucci is now offering reissues. Meanwhile, for a less expensive option, check out Paulin’s 2007 Pumpkin release from French maker Ligne Roset, starting at $5,260.
Polar Bear Sofa by Jean Royère, 1947
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