Livingetc was sorry to hear of the death of avant-garde French designer Andrée Putman at the weekend. News editor Bethan Ryder was lucky enough to meet her in 2009, and chat about her life and work and influences. Here’s an excert from the interview…
I live in the 6th arrondissement of Paris (Left Bank, home of St Germain, existentialism and the Ecole des Beaux Arts) – on the top two levels of an old printing workshop. It’s a capsule of calm in the chaos.
It took me a lifetime to be a fan of my city. The beauty of it can be overwhelming, especially while crossing from one side of the Seine to the other.
My collection for Litton Furniture (cabinet below) is a tribute to the work of the craftsmen who collaborated with me on the project.
My vision for the new Morgans [one of Manhattan’s first boutique hotels, designed by Putman in 1984, pictured below] combines the friendly, low-key elegance of the original with some new playful touches, such as an interactive light installation in the lobby.
My design heroes are Eileen Gray, Robert Mallet-Stevens and Herzog & de Meuron.
Eclecticism is the best word to describe my work. It explains the choices I make for space, light and colour. I believe in mixing images that include a bit of yesterday, plenty of today and a few hints of tomorrow.
I’ve found that my work is almost impossible to date. Older projects, such as the Museum of Modern Art in Bordeaux , still look good today.
When designing anything, the most important thing is to be attentive to others. It is a form of respect: one must avoid at all cost the temptation to impress, intimidate or shock, no matter how strong.
My life philosophy? I like the idea of being irreverent and free.