Pierre Paulin (1927 - 2009) was a French designer of furniture and interiors. The distinctive sculptural organic curves of his designs and their signature use of colour and new materials were to prove highly influential.
Paulin originally trained as a ceramicist and then as a stone-mason before embarking on a career as a designer of furniture. He joined the Thonet company in 1955 and began to experiment with stretching swimwear fabric over traditionally-made chair frames in order to achieve the curvaceous forms he aspired to. "A chair should be more than simply functional," Paulin observed. "It should be friendly, fun and colourful."
In 1958 he joined Dutch furniture company Artifort, and here established a name for himself with a range of innovative designs including the Mushroom chair and the Orange slice chair. Looking back on his early collaborations with Artifort, Paulin commented: "It represented the first full expression of my abilities. I considered the manufacture of chairs to be rather primitive and I was trying to think up new processes."
Paulin's experimentation with new foams and rubbers set around a lightweight metal frame and upholstered in stretch material produced the rounded organic forms that were to prove both widely popular and influential.
During the 1970s Paulin was commissioned to furnish the private quarters of Georges Pompidou in the Élysée Palace and in the 80s was invited to fit out the office of François Mitterrand. He also redesigned the interior of the Denon Wing at the Louvre, rooms in Paris City Hall and the assembly hall of the Economic and Social Council in Paris.
Paulin died in Montpellier in 2009.
Read Pierre Paulin's obituary.