May 11th - August 22th 2016 | GALERIE 3, level 1

The Centre Pompidou is presenting the first major retrospective devoted to the work of Pierre Paulin. The creations of this designer left their mark on the second half of the 20th century, contributing to a dynamic focused on a new lifestyle.


Sculpted space

Designer and interior designer Pierre Paulin sculpted space, laid it out and “landscaped” it. His environments, furniture and industrial objects might be simple or spectacular, but were always conceived to serve the body, providing both comfort and cosiness. They also reflected his fascination with technical innovations, like the development of stretch textiles and injection moulding plastic.

This retrospective exhibits key pieces by Paulin that have never or rarely been shown to the public, including the “Coupe aux Nénuphars”, the “Araignée” ceiling light and the “Bonheur du Jour” desk, together with other now iconic items, like the Tripode Cage, the Mushroom and the Tongue. The retrospective also focuses on projects that were never edited or which he produced himself (such as the “Tapis-siège” carpet seat, the “Déclive” recliner and the “Tente”, rare pieces from the Fifties and various prototypes.

Chronological circuit

With over a hundred items of furniture, drawings, models and archives, the exhibition unfolds in a chronological circuit, with a series of stands highlighting Paulin’s collaborations with editors like Meuble TV, Thonet, Disderot, and Artifort, industrial pieces designed for Adsa (the agency Pierre Paulin created with his wife Maïa Paulin and Marc Lebailly, in 1975) and the Mobilier National.

Claude and Georges Pompidou

By the late Sixties, Paulin’s designs had entered the MoMa, in New York. In 1971, he was commissioned by Claude and Georges Pompidou to refurbish the private apartments of the Elysée Palace. In 1984, he was also called on by François Mitterrand for the interior decoration and design of the President’s office at the Elysée.


Thanks to a remarkable donation from the designer’s family in 2015, the retrospective covers the entire 50 years of the designer’s career. This collection of furniture, archives, documents and drawings dedicated to his output, and particularly to his work during of the 50’s and 60’s, sheds light on how Paulin’s work came into being: from hand works to hand works, throught industrial design.

Mushroom, Ribbon, Tulip, Butterfly

Pierre Paulin’s explorations were constantly driven by a concern for comfort, the body and innovation, therefore various re-edited items have been placed in the exhibition, where visitors can sit and experience this new lifestyle for themselves. They include the Mushroom, Ribbon, Tulip and Butterfly chairs.

The retrospective also features a new reconstruction of Paulin’s sitting room at La Calmette, the villa
he built in the French Cévennes, in the Nineties, where visitors can see the thick Diouan (carpet) that runs along the wall and forms a setting for four Tongue chairs.

Visit the Centre Pompidou website