WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE IN YOUR HOME?
Julie talks about her desk by Jacques Adnet, for which she has a new found love as it truly became a day to day piece during these times. Its timeless design along with its great functionality makes it a special piece in Julie's collection.
DESK BY JACQUES ADNET
An icon of French Modernism, Jacques Adnet is known for his furniture designs in leather, glass and metal. He believes in the functional aspect of furniture combined with geometrical simplicity. A graduate of the prestigious Ecole des Arts Decoratifs of Paris, Jacques Adnet was inspired by pre-classical styles and was well acquainted with traditional furniture. Until the age of 28, Jacques lived and worked hand in hand with his twin brother Jean at the Studio La Maitrise, where they met the Art Déco designer Maurice Dufrenes. From 1928 to 1960, he directed La Compagnie des Arts Francais working with a team of decorators including Francois Jourdain, Charlotte Perriand and Georges Jouve. Adnet was the president of the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs from 1947 to 1949, while still concentrating on numerous commissions he recieved. Adnet eventually began working for Hermès and created a line of his now iconic furniture upholstered in leather. Adnet's legacy still lives on today, distinguished by his combination of materials such as exotic wood, metal, glass, and leather.
WISHLIST & Q&A
We asked Julie to select 5 pieces from our available collection that would be included in her wishlist. In a Q&A, we talked about her selection, her inspirations and the historical significance of the pieces.
Was it easy to select amongst thousands of pieces?
J.H. : Not at all. Hugues does such an extraordinary job curating and sourcing unique pieces. There are very few pieces I wouldn’t use in my own home or a project.
Do you think your choices were influenced by the current situation?
J.H. : No, I would love these pieces in any situation.
Can you tell us a little bit about each piece and why they made the cut? Let’s start by the delicate sconce by Roger Capron.
J.H. : I love the mix of materials and the idea of light coming through the weave of the rattan and the holes in the ceramic.
>> Born in France in 1922, Roger Capron studied at the School of Applied Arts in Paris until 1943. He was passionate about ceramics and decided to open his own workshop in Vallauris with Robert Picault then Jean Derval. He is one of the artists who contributed to the return of the golden age of ceramics in Vallauris. Subsequently, he opened a factory of about fifteen workers in 1952. He was recognized for the alliance between craftsmanship and mass production. Capron managed to modernize classical provencal ceramic forms and make utilitarian pieces true works of art, as seen in this ceiling lamp. He has received numerous awards in Milan, Cannes and Brussels. In 1970, he also won the international grand prize for ceramics. The factory closed in 1982 following the crisis. Capron became then interested in Raku sculpture and opened a workshop in the heart of Vallauris.
What about this unique sofa by Pierre Székely?
J.H. : I’ve always loved the offbeat angles of this piece and would love to add it to the entry of a client’s home.
>> Beginning his career as an engraver and poster artist, Székely understood art as a form of communication and he developed a language of signs that were to be read intuitively in the graphic context of his works. Though inspired early on by Surrealism, Székely soon dispensed with its psychological and literary aspects; choosing instead to create abstract, organic sculptures which allowed for a range of emotional responses rather than programmed interpretations. Their freeform quality and rounded shapes may by turns inspire delight, harmony or peace, like in this boomerang shaped sofa created for his project Le Bateau Ivre, Saint-Marcelin, France in 1953. This “Sculpture-Architecture”, medium was a pioneer and is today protected as a Historical Monument of France.
You also chose the set of “Les Palmes” by Francois Stahly, what drove you to this choice?
J.H. : These are just stunning in every way and would be a standout addition to any room.
>> As sculptor François Stahly became fascinated with natural formations and their hidden patterns, his sculptures began to take on an organic appearance, as this piece, and eventually he became one of the founders of Art Informel, which practiced a pure form of expressionistic abstraction. Les Palmes, amongst other series of sculptures like “La Foret de Tacoma” or “L’Été de la foret” expresses in Stahly an impulse toward the sky which translates his will to escape his taste for solitude while simultaneously expressing the desire to communicate with the cosmos world. Renowned in France with his large public project as the hallway of Maison de la Radio or his chimney across the Seine, the sculptor was also well established in the United States, where he worked for Nelson Rockefeller and taught at Berkeley, Aspen and Seattle universities.
You also picked the “LCII” sconce by Le Corbusier, which is quite radical in its design compared to the other pieces you selected. Why did you do so?
J.H. : I feel this can go anywhere from a kitchen to a living room. It adds wonderful character to a room.
>> The "LCII" wall sconce was designed by Le Corbusier between 1949 and 1952, which was also used in Amhedabad, India for the Mills Owner Association's building. Originally manufactured by the company Guilux (Paris, France) - which manufactured multiple models of Le Corbusier's lighting productions - they were however produced in India for the Ahmedabad project. In a notebook, Le Corbusier wrote: “Honesty of the wealthy – the Sarabahy (sic) stole the Guilux models from Shodan, ditto Mills Owners ditto” (1). Guilux was going to supply these wall lights and other light fixtures for the buildings in Ahmedabad, but ultimately the lights that were installed were made in India, following plans drawn by Le Corbusier. A drawing dated 1954 entitled “Chandigarh lights, list of fixtures” shows the full set of different lights made by Guilux. Variants with different sizes, fixations and protections feature in the Guilux catalog.
Finally, you selected the console from Maison de la Tunisie by Charlotte Perriand. What attracted you in this truly historical piece?
J.H. : The proportions of this piece are what I find so attractive as well as how it attaches to the wall.
>> 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 arrangements (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 qualities did you look for when the selecting the pieces?
J.H. : Great form and proportion.
In your opinion, do you think eclecticism is important to realize a successful grouping?
J.H. : Yes, I think the careful mix of pieces and periods is essential to making an interesting grouping.
If you could keep one of these pieces for your current house, which one would it be? Why?
J.H. : The Stahly sculptures. The large scale and bronze patina would be so dramatic in my living room.
What / Who inspires you (inside or outside the design world) ?
J.H. : I never really know what will inspire me. It could be as simple as something in nature or traveling to a foreign country, or anything in between.
First piece of design that impacted you?
J.H. : That’s a difficult question, but I would say the Frank Gehry Wiggle Chair. I bought one at Moss many years ago and was, and still am, fascinated by his use of material and unique form.
Your design motto?
J.H. : Trust your instincts and be comfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone.
Julie Hillman’s approach to designing residential spaces focuses on a thoughtful curation of collectible items that speak to both the client’s unique interests and her eclectic aesthetic. She cultivates a creative dialogue between the architects, artisans, and craftsmen to ensure that each home tells its own story. She believes there should be harmony in every room in a home, and the best way to achieve this is to create a subtle yet unexpected mix of decorative and functional arts. She feels that every item in a room should be in conversation with one another while maintaining its own significance. Julie’s goal is to help each home possess a distinctive, timeless, and unique style that is not based on any specific criteria, but on the collaborative vision of designer and client. Julie Hillman Design has had the pleasure of designing high-end residential homes in New York City, The Hamptons, Aspen, Miami, Palm Beach, and Europe. Julie’s work is often featured in design publications in the US and abroad. She is notably recognized in Architectural Digest’s 2019 and 2020 AD100 lists.