Pierre Cardin: Sculptures utilitaires 1970 – 1975

Paris, France
17 – 24 January 2018

For many years Sotheby’s has paid tribute to the great figures of 20th century design, staging exhibitions dedicated to the likes of Jacques Lacloche, Pierre Staudenmeyer and, more recently, Diego Giacometti. In 2018, Sotheby’s will reveal a lesserknown side to Pierre Cardin’s talent with an exhibition at our Paris gallery from 17 to 24 January. While Pierre Cardin is famous as a couturier, his work as a designer is less known. In the 1970s, the inventor of futuristic fashion turned his attention to the design of lacquered furniture. Twenty-five objects, chairs and lamps will represent this magnificent body of work, which he called “sculptures utilitaires”. These elegant, instantly recognisable pieces are now highly soughtafter.

In 1970, Pierre Cardin started designing experimental works, giving a contemporary impetus to furniture in distinct series. He collaborated with the greatest artists and designers of the time, including Francesco Bocola, François Cante-Pacos, Serge Manzon, Giacomo Passera, Maria Pergay, Claude Prevost, Boris Tabacoff, Paolo Leoni, Yonel Lebovici and Christian Adam. Cardin soon opened a studio for furniture, accessories and lamps, as well as galleries (including the Evolution Gallery) and a workshop in Saint-Ouen. His exquisitely delineated lacquered wooden pieces, intended to be placed in the middle of a room and thus seen from every angle, were produced in limited series of between eight and ten. They combined precious materials such as ebony and Macassar with more unusual and surprising materials such as rubber, steel and polyurethane. The Champignon Cabinet, Vague Table and Tête de lune chest of drawers were all functional pieces illustrating these new aesthetic rules.



Courtesy of Sotheby’s / Art Digital Studio

Left: Pierre Cardin
Tête de lune Chest of drawers in lacquered wood

Right: The Vague Table, circa 1978