Pierre Chareau


The concise formal language was typical of Chareau’s rejection of anything superfluous that could impair the purity of an object. Above all, however, it was the function of the lamp that led to this extraordinary design. Where this artist looked for the useful, he also found the beautiful – a talent that defined his genius. Chareau was an architect and interior designer at the same time. In 1929 he became known as an architect for the revolutionary Maison de Verre for Dr. Dalsace in Paris and a clubhouse in Beauvallon (1927). In his designs as an interior designer, he was based on the principle of not designing furniture as individual pieces, but rather designing a whole room and making it habitable. His furniture, exhibited in 1919 at the Autumn Salon and at the exhibition of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs, also by Les Cinq and, from 1939, by the Union des Artistes Modernes, demonstrate a boldness and inventiveness that sometimes border on the absurd . His pear wood bookcase was described by the critic Gabriel Mourey in >The Studio< as the most remarkable work in the entire exhibition. Chareau’s floor lamps, chandeliers and bedside lamps with alabaster or glass parts have become very well known. The floor lamp with a tapered wooden base mentioned above was also available with a fabric shade. Chareau designed such a version for Mme. Jaques Errera in 1926. His particular preference was indirect lighting. For his model studio in the French pavilion at the 1925 exhibition, he developed a skylight construction that diffusely and indirectly illuminated the windowless room. To do this, he used a device made of glass panes that could be adjusted to vary the intensity of the light. In the reception hall of the Grand Hôtel in Tours, completed in 1928, he had all the lamps built directly into the ceiling. They were designed from rectangular light strips that were offset from one another. For the second and third Salon du Luminaire in 1934 and 1935, Chareau, together with the lighting technician André Salomon, developed lighting for corners of rooms that consisted of illuminated glass blocks.

Source: Alastair Duncan, Lampen Lüster Leuchter, Jugendstil Art Déco, Prestel-Verlag, München 1979, p. 162-163

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