For the first time since the Fondation Louis Vuitton opened in 2014, the entire Frank Gehry-designed building is currently dedicated to the work of a single designer: the visionary Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999). Over four years in the making and comprised of more than 180 pieces of design, the show demonstrates how Perriand forged a modern way of living that combined design, architecture, and the visual arts.
"She was an exceptional personality, a woman committed to leading a veritable evolution, or perhaps more aptly, a revolution," the exhibition statement reads. "Her keen observation and vision of the world and its cultural and artistic expressions place her at the heart of a new order that introduced new relationships between the arts themselves...as well as between the world's most diverse cultures...Her work resonated with changes in the social and political order, the evolution of the role of women and changes in attitudes towards urban living."
The show includes seven completely reconstructed spaces, finished according to Perriand's exacting specifications. These include Perriand's own Saint-Sulpice apartment from 1927, La Maison du Jeune Homme, shown at the Universal Exposition in Brussels in 1935, the Refuge Tonneau, a mountain shelter she designed in 1938 with Pierre Jeanneret, and reproductions of two exhibitions she held during her time in Japan, where she worked as the official advisor on industrial design to the Japanese government.
As Wallpaper* reported, Cassina, with whom Perriand started working in 1964, provided pieces from their archive and replicated certain works in the finishes and colors that would have been used at the time. Visitors are invited to sit on and use the furniture in the recreated spaces, providing a unique immersion in Perriand's world.
In addition to Perriand's own work, the show includes 180 artworks by 17 artists, including Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Alexander Calder. Perriand often juxtaposed her designs with specific artworks, and the curators went to great lengths to source the exact pieces. "The art alone could have warranted its own show, but here you get to see it in a real context," noted chief curator Olivier Michelon.
Find out more about how Perriand redefined "the art of dwelling" and "the art of living" in our primer and if you can, make sure to catch this blockbuster exhibition before it closes on February 24, 2020.