‘Design beautiful things for nothing.’
The prolific, impassioned Andrée Putman never sought approval, nor was she interested in receiving awards. Instead she designed with an honest elegance, hoping to create a better world through spaces and objects that spoke to our senses and our soul. On January 19, 2013, our beloved Andrée Putman passed away, leaving behind a legacy of daring work and a design community deeply saddened by the loss.
For more than four decades, Putman inspired us with spaces that were fresh and simple, including designer shops for fashion icons Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent; boutique hotels like the crisp, monochromatic interior of Morgan’s Hotel in New York and the Air France Concord; Bordeaux Museum of Contemporary Art, in addition to working closely with Issey Miyake. In 1997, after years spent in fashion and with Ecart where she reintroduced the designs of historical figures like Eileen Gray and Mariano Fortuny, Putman opened her own studio, creating signature work like the bead-curtain shrouded stool for Galerie Kreo and an aluminum chair for Emeco.
Nasir Kassamali, President and Co-founder of Luminaire, was first graced with the elegant presence of Putman when Samuel and Annick Coriat of Artelano, one of the most renowned French editors of contemporary design, brought them together in Paris in 1989. Once introduced to her mysteriously inviting personality and strong, sensuous work, we earnestly collaborated with her on several projects alongside metallic pigment manufacturer Eckhart. Later, at the Wassertum Hotel, Putman revived an otherwise gravely stark space into an atmosphere so magically comfortable and warm that Kassamali never fails to frequent the hotel when visiting Cologne.
At Luminaire, we will remember Putman by the emotional power of her designs and the extended intimacy in which she worked. Her patchwork of porcelain surfaces for Brix is, for instance, one design we will always treasure. Like an irregular footpath sprinkled with a phantasmal substance, Powder becomes the vital force of a space without overpowering it.
In one of her final interviews this past December, Andrée Putman gave Interior Design magazine one word to describe her work: Eclecticism. “This is the word for the choices I make. I like the idea of being irreverent and free.”
Andrée Putman, you will be missed.