Thursday, 24 January 2013

Au Revoir, to the ‘Grand Dame of French Design’


Andrée Putman (23 December 1925 – 19 January 2013)


Meade Design Group was saddened by the recent passing of design legend, Andrée Putman. We wanted to include a tribute of her life and work in memoriam.


Andrée was one of the most recognizable names in interior design; her firm has conquered several projects globally from hotels, showrooms, museums, to offices, and some of the most memorable interior design projects around, including the first boutique hotel in the world, The Morgans Hotel in New York (once in 1984 - with the signature checkerboard tile, and again in 2008), and clientele such as Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent and the one and only Karl Lagerfeld. She has also designed products for Christophle (Crystal), Montblanc (fountain pen), and Bisazza (Italian furnishings) and many others.



Interiors by Andrée Putman, Paris 2008


Her parents appreciated the arts and ensured she experienced art in all forms; music, museums and culture - it clearly paid off! Her formal education began with an education in piano and musical composition, however after being told that she would never be a concert pianist (like her mom), she decided to try another career.


After a brief stint as a messenger, where she worked with top magazines in her native France, exposing her to the world of design. Ever the proper lady, Mrs. Putman’s signature proper posture actually wasn’t a result of etiquette classes – she suffered a terrible bike accident as a young woman which sparked her zest for living life to the fullest.



Louis Vuitton Scenography, Paris, 2007


In her early 30s, Andrée Aynard became (as we know her today) Andrée Putman when she married Jacques Putman. Jacques was an art collector and critic as well as a publisher. He further exposed Andrée to the arts with his connections to the art industry (including Pablo Picasso!). Her career began pointing more and more toward design as she worked as the Art Director for the home department if the retail chain Prisunic where she would “design beautiful things for nothing”. Here she collaborated with Jacques on bringing great art to the masses by offering affordable lithographs by famous artists. Before long she was asked to be a part of a new textile industry company, Créateurs & Industriels, where she aided in the discovery of top designers. By her early 50s, Créateurs & Industriels went bankrupt and her marriage to Jacques ended. It was time to follow her true calling.



Morgans Hotel, New York, 1984



Morgans Hotel, New York, 1984






Morgans Hotel, New York, 2008


Andrée began working in interior design with her first studio, Ecart, showing a definite appreciation for the 1930s mixed with minimalism. “I loathe pompous luxury. I take interest in the essential, the framework, the basic elements of things.”


Ecart specialized in reissuing modernist French furniture. It was now the late 70s, but Ms. Putman’s big break didn’t come until 1984 when she took on a big project with a small budget: Morgans Hotel in New York. The hotel established her place in the design world and allowed her to show creativity with her famous checkerboard bathroom – using the most inexpensive tiles she could find to create a bold and graphic space which became the Hotel’s aesthetic launching point. She continued to break the rules, opening spaces and thinking outside of the box – she was one of the first people in France to choose loft living. After Morgans Hotel, Andrée Putman was in high demand.  …And 24 years later she was welcome back to update the Morgans Hotel with her signature look.





Anne Fontaine by Andrée Putman, New York, 2008


The Andrée Putman Studio was established in 1997 where she opened herself up to many aspects of design: interiors, products and scenography. She continued to make a name and style for herself and took on a variety of unique projects, each with a unique take and sense of humour.


Ten years later Andrée’s dream for her studio came to fruition when her daughter, Olivia Putman, was announced as the new Art Director. They continued to work together on a series of projects for Plevel (piano), Emeco (chair), RAC Paric (sunglasses), Toulemonde Bochart (carpets), Nespresso (coffee accessories) and many others. The firm also secured big scenography projects such as concerts and the Madeleine Vionnet exhibition. A monograph showcasing Andrée’s career was published in 2009 and the city hall of Paris hoted an exhibition in her honour in 2010 which received over 250,000 visitors.



Luminatore, Studio Putman Edition



Nespresso Collection, 2010



Sofa by Andrée Putman



Préparation Parfumée by Andrée Putman


Andrée Putman passed away in her apartment in the very city she lived all her vibrant days at the age of 87 this past weekend. She will be sorely missed.



Au Revoir, Madame Putman!



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011


Karena said...

Ivan thank you for the wonderful profile of this amazingly talented woman and designer.

New 2013 Artists Series

Michelle said...

well said, very missed indeed, I loved her international, no holds bared approach! That sofa, those Nespresso cups! I have the cappuccino cups, and gone on and on about how cool they are for over a year...didn't know they were designed by her studio.

the modern sybarite ™ said...

lovely epitaph! Richard

Echo said...

The loss of a wonderful talent indeed! She left behind a marvellous legacy - and I am sure that Olivia will continue the studios with poise and a beautiful aesthetic.

Unknown said...

Wow, You blog is very good , i got many inspiration and helping me more easy to running our home renovation business, i will visiting your blog often , Best regard, Edi

Unknown said...

She will be missed. What an iconic legend she has left behind.