WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE IN YOUR HOME?
Hugues talks about his favorite piece of functional design in his Paris apartment, this ceramic lamp by Guidette Carbonell. Its singuarity, between the odd size and the inimitable ceramic color, makes it a central piece in the room.
CERAMIC TABLE LAMP BY GUIDETTE CARBONNELL
A student of Fauvist artist Friesz and Cubist artist Lhotec, Carbonell exhibited her first pieces at the age of 18, during the Salon d’automne, and immediately distinguished herself by her taste for enamels in bright colors and by her fantastic and joyful theme. Her works are inspired from the animal universe, the circus world, or the Bible (Adam et Eve) or mythology (Enlévement d’Europe for example). Carbonell is guided by a wild imagination and she constantly works the material, sometimes including pebbles or glass shards to evoke the works of Palissy. Her production is a synthesis between the iconography of traditional Chinese art, the ceramic vein of Italian Renaissance and the simplification of abstract shapes from the fifties. This ceramic table lamp embodies the spirit of Carbonell's entire body of work, from the mastership of color to the free, almost childlike, fantasist form.
WISHLIST & Q&A
We asked Hugues to pick 5 pieces from our available collection that are on his wishlist. In a Q&A, Hugues talks about his selection, his inspirations and the historical significance of the pieces.
- Was it easy to select amongst thousand of pieces?
H. M. : No, its was not easy. I still don’t feel completely satisfied.
- Do you think your choices were influenced by the current situation?
H. M. : I don’t think so. I always had very strong feelings regarding the pieces I selected.
- Can you tell us a little bit about each piece and why they made the cut?
H. M. : Perriand of course synthesizes, in my opinion, the perfect proportions and the exceptional use of materials. This console is complete poetry, and when you place it in the entire context of her work it is poetry in motion.
>> This console was made by Charlotte Perriand for the student rooms in the Maison de la Tunisie, a student housing center in Paris (1952). Perriand collaborated with 3 contemporary artists (Sonia Delaunay, Nicolas Schoffer and Sylvano Bozzolini) to create four different color arrangments (including her own) called "polychromies". About 10 pieces per polychromy were installed in the student rooms. The consoles were installed along the bedrooms' windows.
- What about the desk by Michel Chauvet
H. M. : This desk for me is truly a sculptural object. It really expresses the creativity of this sculptor in such a powerful and delicate way and becomes this dynamic functional sculpture in the space.
>> Michel Chauvet was primarily known as a painter and sculptor, although he created sculptural furniture as he came from a family of craftsman. He exhibited along the Espace group created by the architect André Bloc and the painters Sonia Delaunay and Fernand Léger. The "Poisson" desk was created in olive wood in 1956.
- The chair by Contini is very brutalist. Can you tell us more about it?
H. M. : Its metallic lace references historical material of French middle age, while the work of the metal is very rough, brutalist, clearly reminding the work of Cesar, of whom Contini was the assistant. Strong and delicate at the same time, a notion of power emanates from its scale and material.
>> Samuel Schlosser "Contini" is the son of Gerard Schlosser (1931), one of the founders of Photo Realism in France in the early 60s.
Contini followed in his father’s footsteps and studied Arts at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. He quickly showed a strong interest in sculpture and furniture design. In 1970, Cesar Baldaccini was appointed head of the sculptural department at the Beaux- Arts. Contini studied under Cesar who quickly became his mentor. He later worked as an assistant in Cesar’s atelier. Contini started creating his own sculptures and furniture inspired by the early work of Cesar in the 1970s.
- The chair by Hervé Baley is very sculptural. Is it a true functional piece?
H. M. : The Baley chair is an architectural sculpture. The rational construction and the use of simple materials (in this case Oregon pine) creates this magical functional object which links the world of art and design.
>> Architect Hervé Baley opposed the dogmatism of modern architecture and the influence of Le Corbusier and it is in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, who spreads slowly in France, that he forged his hope in a sensitive architecture. The desire to apply the processes of nature to architecture takes in his realizations very different forms but keeps the same tension towards an ideal of harmony between the man and the space he inhabits. This large chair was created for his studio/apartment rue Henri Barbusse in Paris (France). The chairs were placed around a large table, created to feel like thrones enveloping guests. This gave the guests a feeling of being included and being an equal part of the community, resembling Arthur's Round Table.
- Can you tell us more about the brutalist cabinet?
H. M. : The cabinet reminds me of the of best of high craftsmanship. It is rooted in the historical woodwork of the great masters of the french Royal court. The intricacy of the hidden drawers, the perfect proportion, and the contrast of the heavily sculpted metallic base and the soft lacquered metallic leaf paneling on its top part makes it a true work of art.
>> This brutalist cabinet is made of a sculptural base and a cabinet upper part, including hidden drawer and safe. Each piece of hardware is unique, the drawers handles being small metal sculptures. The top part is covered by thin copper sheets with a lacquer on top. The attribution of the cabinet still remain a mystery as of today.
- If you could keep one of these pieces for your current house, which one would it be? Why?
H. M. : Hard question to answer, I think I couldn’t chose one over the other.
- What / Who inspires you (inside or outside the design world) ?
H. M. : I am constantly inspired. Unexpected choices, singular objects, specificities of a room. I try to take all interesting elements surrounding myself and and mix them all up in a careful way.
- First piece of design that impacted you?
H. M. : The first piece of design that impacted me most as of today is the fantastic (and unique) screen by Pierre Székely I once owned, currently in the Donna Karan NYC store.
- Your design motto?
H. M. : Less is MORE.
Formerly a principal dancer with Dance Theater of Harlem, French born Hugues Magen is the owner of the world renowned Magen H Gallery in New York City specializing in French post war design. He is recognized as one of the leading experts in the field, whose distinct approach and experience has generated global markets for today’s notable designers. Magen H Gallery exhibits annually at Design Miami, Design Miami Basel, FOG and Salon Art + Design and has received critical acclaim for the publications La Borne, A Postwar Movement of Ceramic Expression (2012), Pierre Sabatier: Substance, Material, Matter (2016), Pierre Chapo: A Modern Craftman (2017) and Le Corbusier and his Collaborators (2019).