‘Luck and Sex. That’s all.’ A comment Paolo Pallucco once made about life, this is the title of a new retrospective celebrating the work of the Italian designer and design entrepreneur, led by gallerists and curators Paul Bourdet, Stefan Cosma and Charlotte Ketabi-Lepard. The trio spent two years piecing together Pallucco’s legacy, gathering 40 designs, now on show at Paris’ Ketabi Projects until 20 March 2022.
Born in Rome in 1950, Pallucco originally trained as an architect, and today he is considered one of the most radical designers of the 1980s, having successfully merged a nostalgic modernist sensibility with a postmodernist attitude.
Paolo Pallucco retrospective at Ketabi Projects
The exhibition includes Pallucco’s own designs as well as objects and furniture he produced as an editor; there are pieces designed with his wife Mireille Rivier, and the works of Rei Kawakubo (throughout the 1980s, Pallucco produced all the furniture for the Comme des Garçons boutiques), among others.
Pallucco founded his company in 1979 with the aim of relaunching forgotten design icons from the past, an approach to design that wouldn’t become fashionable until later in the 1980s. Through his work, he gave an audience to standout designs such as Mariano Fortuny’s spotlight-like ‘Fortuny’ floor lamp, Robert Mallet-Stevens ‘Model No. 222’ chair, and René Herbst’s ‘Sandows’ chair, a 1928 design now part of the collection at MoMA.
Pallucco acquired an avant-garde manufacturing expertise that allowed him to edit more complex pieces, and he also produced his own furniture designs, including seating, storage furniture, and tables. Because of the quality of his production, the aesthetics of his works can veer into the unexpected, with a disregard for tradition and comfort and a view towards a more radical approach. Often, his works contain diverse references that span from war machines (see the ‘Tankette’ coffee table, 1987, a collaboration with Mireille Rivier), to the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, cinema, photography, and religion.
The exhibition is the prelude to an upcoming book, exploring the work and life of Pallucco, which will be published in late 2022.
‘Paolo Pallucco, Luck and Sex. That's All.’ is on view until 20 March 2022
22, Passage Dauphine
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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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