In the wonderful world of objects, Pierre Charpin is undoubtedly the guest of honour. Chairs, pitchers, carafes, tables and armchairs all adore his delicate attentions and, from a material limbo, their spirits show their gratitude by whispering in his ear ideas for unique, archetypal shapes. We are in the presence of an educated man after all.
The designer graduated from Bourges art school in 1984 and he certainly does have an artist’s eye and sense for harmony. He also takes after his father, sculptor Marc Charpin, when patiently paring down material until the truth of a piece is finally revealed, whether one that has already come to life, is at the design stage or just in his mind’s eye. Pierre Charpin hears the voices of objects in the making and maybe that’s why he began to focus on furniture and objects in 1990. After working in Milan in the studio of British designer George Sowden (one of the founders of the Memphis group) in 1993 and 1994, he returned to Paris, where he landed a ‘carte blanche’ at the VIA (Valorisation de l’innovation dans l’ameublement). In 1998, Brunati started distributing his Slice armchair.
Pierre Charpin’s formal research is uncompromising: “For me there is no difference between working for industry or a gallery.” His poetic, minimalist style has made its mark. Post Design, Zanotta, Montina, Venini, Alessi… Design companies can’t get enough of his work. Invitations have come flooding in as well. In 1998, he produced a series of glass objects at the CIRVA, (Centre international de recherche sur le verre et les arts plastiques) in Marseille; two years later in Vallauris he tried his hand at ceramics. From 1998 to 2008, Pierre Charpin taught at the Ecole supérieure d’art et de design in Reims and he has been teaching at Ecal in Lausanne, Switzerland ever since, but he has never lost sight of his grail. In 2011, he designed Intervalles, a collection of glasses and a carafe for Cristalleries Saint-Louis. In 2012, a residential programme at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto (Japan) opened up new horizons. From the Grand-Hornu to Villa Noailles, several solo shows have, in turn, endorsed twenty years of remarkable designs, which you can (re)discover in the first monograph to be devoted to the designer by JRP Ringier (2014). And at MAISON&OBJET January 2017, hall 7, in a space designed by the magician of lines himself.