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Room For Modernism

Tucked away discreetly on the second floor above the now flooded Balenciaga store in Chelsea, is the Demisch Danant gallery.  On show is the the first American exhibition devoted to the furniture of  French modernist designer Joseph André Motte, which has the gallery configured as a series of perfectly designed rooms.

Motte was considered one of the most innovative and highly influential figures of post-war French design, though in the US his contributions have remained among the best kept secrets of Modernism  (his commissions included the Orly and Roissy airports, the Musée du Louvre, and the Préfecture du Val d’Oise).

The exhibition is presented as two spaces.  One focusing on Motte’s early work in the 1950s in materials like plywood and rattan. The second section traces his transition to furniture for mass production in the 1960s and his experimentation with new affordable materials such as plastic, foam, and Formica.

Spending time in the perfectly curated rooms, we were struck by how simple minimalism is so incredibly effective. It’s so easy to live in a cluttered world, but the beauty of careful placement and truly good design, where every piece, from a chair, to a lamp to a sideboard is like an art piece in its own right, is really inspirational.

Joseph André Motte. The Art of Living. Demisch Danant Gallery. 542 West 22nd Street. NY 10011. Tel: 212 989 5750. November 8 – February 8, 2013
 
Furniture Photos Courtesy of Demisch Danant, New York/Paris.
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