22 March

PAD Paris 2017: the creative impulse behind the international design fair


In its 21st year PAD Paris continues to make its mark on the international design scene with its winning recipe in the Tuileries. More than just a furniture trade fair, they leave room for the most innovative of creative gestures.

By Oscar Duboÿ

A Touch of Mack (2015) by Hannes Stephensen. Chair in ash wood. Galerie Maria Westergren, www.mariawettergren.com

“For the last few years, contemporary design has gained full legitimacy, and is now as respected as historical pieces, whether it’s by museums, collectors or critics,” explains Maria Wettergren, a regular at the trade fairs who founded her own gallery after a long stint at Dansk Møbelkunst, the temple of Scandinavian design. On her stand today’s talents have replaced the Hans J. Wegner and Alvar Aaltos of yesterday, freely liberating themselves of classical furniture to push artistic reflection that bit further. How much further? There are no boundaries or boxes anymore as proved by Béatrice Saint-Laurent, Agnès Perpitch and Élodie Bringand. With others, like the Carpenters Workshop, these galleries are at last on equal terms with the tenors of the 20th century, in spite of it being a craft unlike any other, as Béatrice Saint-Laurent tells us, “Where the antique dealer seeks to find a rarity that exists, we chose to take risks to produce what doesn’t already exist, with a value given by the market.” 

3CL (2015) by Philippe Nadson. Lamp in PMMA and LED. Galerie Perpitch & Bringand, www.perpitch-bringand.com

This year the gallery owner is presenting work by Studio MVW, who experiment with pink jade, an unusual material that is nonetheless part of the traditional refined decorative arts so dear to Saint-Laurent who admits the Perpitch & Bringand gallery has an approach derived frankly from contemporary art. From design to installation, her stand deliberately mixes genres, to the point where the question of support becomes redundant. “We clearly present our pieces like works of art, functionality comes later,” acknowledge the gallerist. While their collaborations with artists such as Pauline Guerrier show a strong decorative potential, they also accompany designers like Joran Briand and Philippe Nacson towards a more conceptual abstraction and a veritable reinterpretation of everyday objects. “Can you sit on that chair? Will this bookshelf hold the Encyclopaedia Britannica?” visitors might ask them and they like these questions because its touches an emotion, that famous astonishment they seek in their collaborations with artists.

Jinshi Pink Jade Console (2017) by Studio MVW. Console table in pink jade, anodised brass, stainless steel, mirror and LED. Limited edition of 8 exampless. BSL Gallery, www.galeriebsl.com

At Wettergren, the amateur will be reassured: “Don’t worry, this marvel in white ash at 45 cm is indeed a stool! It’s called Böja and was made by Rasmus Fenhann in 2016.” Maria Wettergren concludes, "I think the artists my gallery represents often use design and craftsmanship as a springboard to more original artistic expression.” Glancing down the alleys at the lively selection on display, this certainly seems to be the common factor of stands at PAD Paris.


PAD Paris, from March 22th to 26th, Jardin des Tuileries, Paris Ist, www.pad-fairs.com


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