Category Archives: design

4 choices in Paris Centre Pompidou #3 : Ron Arad, No Discipline

This new alternative in Centre Pompidou is located in the South part of the museum  – on the right side entering the building.  South gallery is showing a monographic exhibition of architect and designer Ron Arad.


The exhibition’s title might have two meanings,  the one relating to no order, and the other relating to the concept of mixing all types of work and all fields of experiment.


Ron Arad himself has designed the setting and the presentation of over two hundred pieces he has created, from the eighties to scale models of future buildings.


From the entrance, you are immersed in a colorful dreamy universe filled with round forms.


a ring of round armchairs in front of videos of architectural realizations.


And if you look closer, you get in a single piece the same sense of colorful merry-go-round.


Mirrors and ground projections intensify this feeling.


Same tone and shapes in this stairway to dreams


and in this lamp hanging from the ceiling.


The exhibition’s room have glass doors opening to the outside, and one charm is also that Ron Arad‘s world fits perfectly with the Museum’s surroundings and architecture.



And as the rooms are located on the groundfloor, after leaving, it’s quite facinating to look at parts of the exhibition through the windows, with the outside reflected on the glass.



Ron Arad, No Discipline, up to March 12, everyday except Tuesday from 11 AM to 9 PM, up to 11 PM on Thursday. Centre Pompidou, South Gallery, level 1. Entrance ticket € 12 opens for one day the gate of the permanent collection and all temporary exhibitions.

More of Ron Arad on :

Centre Pompidou, place Georges Pompidou 75001 Paris, metro Rambuteau or Hotel de Ville Tel :33(0)1 44 78 12 33.

More information on :


Winter 2008 : Evian bottles go out in Jean-Paul Gaultier “pret-à-porter”

As every winter now, Evian asks a fashion-designer to dress its mineral water bottles for new year’s eave.


€ 3 is the less expensive thing you can buy signed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, and you can find he’s last creation presented in number in all Paris Monoprix stores.


Of course, this is the pret-à-porter version, the haute-couture edition in Baccarat crystal is not available in supermarkets.


But I find these very elegant, and easy to drink!

You can also get more information and order these on line :

John Armleder:Jacques Garcia – an unusual experience in Paris Swiss Cultural Center

Wandering in Paris Marais streets  on a hot or rainy, or windy day, do take a break and pay a visit to Swiss Cultural Center, located rue des Francs-Bourgeois, at the end of a narrow cobbled alley.

The Swiss artist John Armleder has kept being concerned by the prominent part of the viewer in a work of art, and the relation between paintings and their surroundings.

Most of the time, my paintings would end being hanged next to a couch or over a fire place, so at this point, I decided to provide both the painting and the couch.

As John Armleder thinks that it’s the viewer who makes the work of art, French designer Jacques Garcia thinks that it’s the customer who makes the design.

For this installation, John Armleder has asked  Jacques Garcia, well known for his baroque, neo- gothique, second empire interiors (Ladurée tea rooms for example), to create a furnished flat as a setting for paintings and photographs.

You first enter a fancy dining room  with a table set for supper, and then come in a boudoir opening on a bedroom, with a tiger skin laying  on the floor, its naturalized  mouth wide open, and a painting of a vampire lady on the wall. All  walls are covered with burgundy drapes, the only natural light comes from a ceiling window.  Profusion of art and literary books, decorative objects, paintings and photos on the walls (not all by Armleder) that  share a  sophisticated and a bit deleterious erotic touch, all that make you feel it’s really someone’s place. An odd, out of time, a kitsch but somehow charming private place, a place you don’t belong to.  And suddenly, you see yourself in a mirror you had’nt noticed : you’re part of the whole installation. It makes you feel as if you were walking inside a Gustave Moreau painting.

A bit weird experience, but really worth it.

Centre Cuturel Suisse 132-138 rue des Francs-Bourgeois 75003 Paris Metro Saint-Paul tel 33 (0) 1 42 71 44 50 opened Wednesday to Sunday 13 – 20, Thursday up to 22. Free entrance. Exhibition John Armleder : Jacques Garcia up to August 4, and from September 3 to September 28 (Swiss Cultural Center closes in August )

For more information, go to :

all shades of red in Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs

In Paris, 2008 celebrates red as a color, and it takes place at Museum of Decorative Arts, located in a western wing of Louvre Palace.

Red as a color has many strong and opposite meanings, such as passion, danger, interdiction, rebellion, power…in popular French, “prendre un coup de rouge” does’nt mean what it’s literal translation suggests : “get hit by a communist”, but just “have a glass of (red) wine”.

Organizing elements of its permanent collection, the museum proposes an exhibition called aussi rouge que possible (“as red as possible”). It’s a series of installations , focused on diferent themes.

Red for power:

sculpture of roman emperor Hadrien (antique restored in French seventeenth century) next to  armchair Big Easy (Ron Arad, Italy 1991) and a portrait of Turgot by Carl Van Loo (circle 1739)

Red interiors:

armchair vermetila Fernando Campana Brazil 1993

couch Bocca Studio 65 Torino 1969, in front of 1950 posters for Lido Review and lipstick Rouge Baiser

Red clothes :

couch Djinn by Olivier Mourgue France 1993 under a tapestry : Return of the prodigal son France 1580

hats (1939/1950) in front of the window where a 1990 Yohji Yamamoto dress stands in front of a Castilian altar piece (circa 1475/1480) featuring Saint Michel beating the dragon, and two servant dresses (France 1820 – 1860)

Hell and Redemption :

Cabinet Enfer by Elisabeth Garouste Mattia Bonetti France 1998 and a poster advertising Anis Infernal by Leonetto Capiello France 1905

Red Alert:

Poster Hiroshima mon Amour (a play by Marguerite Duras) Théâtre de la tête noire, France 1998.

And in the same time and place, Valentino, Themes and Variations, an exhibition dedicated to the work of a fashion designer well known for his “red”.

And it’s also fascinating to wander through this museum’s huge and various permanent collection.

Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, Metro Palais-Royal, tel 33 (0)1 44 55 57 80 Closed on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday Friday : 11 to 18, Thursday 11 to 21, Saturday Sunday : 10 to 18.

Exhibition Aussi Rouge que Possible, up to November 1.

Exhibition  Valentino, Thèmes et Variations, up to September 21

Travel through fashion history with Christian Lacroix in Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Christian Lacroix celebrates the twentieth birthday of his fashion design house in a fascinating exhibition at Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which is located in a west wing of the Louvre. Of course, it’s mostly a girl and lady thing, but everyone interested in fashion and design would enjoy it.


The title – fashion stories, or fashion histories as well – is quite accurate, for on two levels we have a large selection of “Haute Couture” pieces by Christian Lacroix throughout this last twenty years, shown with many samples of ancient or modern clothes which have inspired him.

On the ground floor, you can sit and watch a video of Christian Lacroix last fashion show.

The exhibition starts with white :


This 1990 white embroidered dress is shown in front of white dresses of the past, and is a tribute to the very talented Callot sisters who managed one of the leading fashion design houses during the 1920s.

And facing white, color :


This long rose evening coat of the 2004/2005 collection goes with a 1870/1875 bronze green dress.


This 1995 purple dress is shown next to a 2006/2007 black one with the emblematic Lacroix heart on the chest.

Then come dots :


A mixed spring dress with a 1900 blouse, a 1989 Lacroix skirt, and a 1865 hat.


This 1999 spotted dress faces a 1939 suit by the great Elsa Schiaparelli, and between these is hanged a 1969 dress by Guy Laroche.

Then come stripes :


Japanese and Hispanic inspirations are mixed on this two figures facing each other, and behind black and white stripes by Lacroix, red and white stripes on 1895 hanged clothes.


Or the art of mixing motifs that don’t match.


The bride is hanged between the two floors. And upstairs, many other themes like flowers :


Textures :


Historicism :


You will find informations on the clothes shown in each section printed on large sheets that you pick up on the wall. If you read French, I strongly recommend the texts that Christian Lacroix wrote about each theme of the exhibition : they are witty and show his conception of fashion like a never ending recollection and cyclical returns, his tribute to other fashion designers, and the way he uses both biographical and literary influences.

And as it starts with white, it ends with black.


And this black figure is so fuzzy that you could almost think it moves.

But before leaving, have a look at the catalogue.


Musée des Arts Décoratifs 107 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, Metro Palais-Royal, tel 33(0)1 44 55 57 50. Open Tuesday to Friday 11-18, up to 21 on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10-18. Entrance 8 euros.

Exhibition Christian Lacroix, Histoires de Mode up to April 6. Catalog 49 euros also available on the museum website :

Care for design? Go to see works by Pierre Paulin at Paris Manufacture des Gobelins

The Manufacture des Gobelins is a 1913 building located on Paris avenue des Gobelins, in front of a historical factory specialized in tapestry.


This front building is actually the Galerie des Gobelins, now showing a large selection of works by Pierre Paulin.


The presentation uses a mirror ceiling, and all pieces of furniture are set on a mirror, so that you can have a look at these from every angle.


The ground floor shows pieces of furniture from late fifties to early eighties, very elegant, colorful and …up to date


On the walls are tapestries made by the Gobelins factories on twentieth century artists works, like this one, by Sonia Delaunay:


The exhibition’s subtitle is “le design au pouvoir” ( “design in power”? ) referring to the fact that Pierre Paulin worked for the “Mobilier National” (National Furniture), as for example this desk and armchair designed for François Mitterrand’s office.


It’s only natural that this exhibition takes place here, for since Colbert, the Gobelins were in charge of royal tapestry and furniture works.


Climbing the imposing stairs, meet this typical early twentieth century style “bas relief”


over which hang a selection of National Furniture chairs ( created between 1980 and 1982)


The upper floor leads you to President Georges Pompidou and his wife’s apartment. When they moved in the Elysée Palace – house of all French Presidents – they found it terribly old fashioned and dull, and asked Pierre Paulin not only to design furniture and dishes, but to rebuild the whole inner space.


A dining room piece of furniture in front of a Pierre Soulages tapestry:


A 1966-1968 designed “declive” :


A range of armchairs designed in the sixties :


And an incredible black and white seat made for 15 people (1963)


And this leads us down by backstairs, on the wall a modern work made of threads reminds us the main function of the Manufacture des Gobelins : weaving tapestries.


But before leaving, if you understand French, go back to the main stairs, in the basement is running an interesting video interview with Pierre Paulin – who is over 80 now – in which he tells about his work for the Pompidou couple and for French Government.

This pleasant journey into one of the major twentieth century French designer’s world also reminds us that not so long ago, some French Presidents were interested in and promoting modern art and did not think of culture only on terms of plowing.

Manufacture des Gobelins 42 avenue des Gobelins 75013 Paris, Metro Gobelins, guided tours of the factory Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2 pm and 2.45 pm, reservations on tel : 33(0)1 44 54 19 33 or 33(0)1 44 08 52 00. Price 8 euros.

For more information :

Exhibition “Pierre Paulin, le design au pouvoir”, Galerie des Gobelins (same address) ,tel 33(0)1 44 08 53 49) everyday (except Monday and May 1) 12.30 18.30, price 6 euros. Up to July 27.

Paris Centre Pompidou will blow its 31 candels on January 31

Though it opened 31 years ago, Centre Pompidou looks still young. As always, there had been a competition between several plans, and unusually the winner was a most daring project, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and the British Richard and Sue Rogers. and when it opened, with a mono-graphic exhibition of Marcel Duchamp, as far as I remember, it was a very controversial matter. beaubourgrue.jpg

With its colored tubes and white pipes, it looked as a playful kind of skeleton factory, and for museum it was not at all dignified.


It was instantly a huge success: its large public library was very popular among students and young people, as well as its great exhibitions and its modern art permanent collection.


In the first years, one could use freely the escalators to go up to the terrace and have a drink or just enjoy the sun and the view.


Instantly, the place was called Beaubourg, after the name of the area it’s built in, and that is still the name Parisians use rather than Centre Pompidou (it was named after the French President who signed for it, Georges Pompidou, who was really interested in modern art. )


Nowadays, you have to go in and take a ticket to go up.


There you will also find a shop selling design things and small clothes, a bookshop, and an expansive self-service café. (Do prefer outdoor cafés around)

Outdoor, you can take a private elevator if you have made a reservation at le Georges, the quite expansive – but not gastronomic – restaurant on top. Though the setting designed by Dominique Jacob and Brendan McFarlane matches perfectly with Beaubourg’s style, it is mostly worthwhile outdoors on sunny days.


For its thirtieth birthday, the permanent modern art collection has reopened in a new presentation, and it is extremely rich and impressive.
As part of this celebration, Beaubourg is now showing, since November 2007, a mono-graphic exhibition of Richard Rogers work over the 40 past years.


The place is often crowded on its plaza side, the museum entrance side, people watching street performers, as in most touristic places.


I do prefer to go nearby to Stravinsky Fountain, featuring mobile sculptures by Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Tinguely.



It is a great place for children too.


Centre Pompidou, place Georges Pompidou, 75003 Paris, Metro Rambuteau tel 33(0)1 44 78 12 33. Open everyday but Tuesday 11 to 21, Price 10 euros for all museum and exhibitions. Exhibition “Richard Rogers and architects” up to March 3.

For more information and reservation, go to :

Le Georges : reservation tel 33(0)1 44 78 47 99, fax 33(0)1 44 78 48 93, virtual visit on :