Charlotte Perriand retrospective announced by London’s Design Museum

Charlotte Perriand retrospective announced by London’s Design Museum

London’s Design Museum presents ‘Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life’, an exhibition opening in June 2021 shining the spotlight on one of the most iconic creators of the 20th century

The Design Museum announces Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life. Opening in June 2021, the exhibition will showcase the work and ideas of the French architect and designer, presenting her creative process through an impressive series of sketches, photographs, notebooks, as well as prototypes, final pieces and faithful reconstructions of some of her most famous interiors.

This new exhibition will mark 25 years since Perriand’s last exhibition in London, held at the Design Museum in 1996, and was created in collaboration with the Perriand family and the Fondation Louis Vuitton with exhibition design contributions by Assemble and A Practice for Everyday Life. The Design Museum exhibition will look at her work through three thematic sections, which will help outline Perriand’s design approach: The Machine Age, Nature and the Synthesis of the Arts, and Modular Design for Modern Living. Perriand’s creative transition from a modern machine aesthetic to her preference for natural forms sculpted from wood will be chronicled through the show, resulting in her all-encompassing vision of a ‘synthesis of the arts’, where design, art and architecture come together. 

Charlotte Perriand’s work and ideas explored at the Design Museum

Charlotte Perriand Furniture at the Design Museum London
Charlotte Perriand, Perspective drawing of the dining room in the Place Saint-Sulpice apartment-studio, Paris, 1928

Described as ‘a free spirit who championed design for all’, Perriand subscribed to Modernist aesthetics that were reflected in her furniture and architecture designs. She famously said: ‘dwellings should be designed not only to satisfy material specifications; they should also create conditions that foster harmonious balance and spiritual freedom in people’s lives,’ and the Design Museum exhibition will help bring her ideas back to life. Perriand’s own studio apartment in Saint-Sulpice, a minimalist and functional space she created for her life and work, will be reproduced at the exhibition, and visitors will also be able to explore the process behind her early modular metal furniture, adaptable interior spaces and architecture (culminating in her biggest project, the 1960s Les Arcs ski resort in France). 

Charlotte Perriand Architecture
Charlotte Perriand, Gaston Regairaz (architects), Guy Rey-Millet/AAM (site manager), La Cascade residence, Arc 1600, 1967-1969

‘Charlotte Perriand was a hugely influential figure in design,’ comments Design Museum Chief Curator Justin McGuirk. ‘Her life spanned the twentieth century and her career reflects the twists and turns of the modernist movement. Yes, she was long overshadowed by her male counterparts, but this exhibition presents her not just as a brilliant designer who deserves wider recognition – she was also a natural collaborator and synthesiser. There is so much to admire not just in her work but in the way she lived her life.’ §

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