Louis Vuitton unveils an unreleased modular furniture design. As a house that since its creation has cultivated a tradition of placing know-how in service of innovation, it was only natural that Louis Vuitton participates in a residential project conceived in 1972 by Pierre Paulin for the American office furniture maker Herman Miller. Until now, this one-of-a-kind project had never actually been produced. An avant-garde designer, Pierre Paulin anticipated with this project the necessary alliance between a changing world, new techniques and a living space that was conceived like a refuge, or an intimate safe house. Here, the body dictates its relationship with the space around it, placing a priority on personal use and keeping the outside world and all its intrusive informational excess at bay without shutting it out completely.
La Maquette – now a part of the Centre Pompidou’s collections counts six levels. Meant for serial production, level 0 (ground level) has a footprint that spans the ensemble of basic modules the occupant may assemble and disassemble to create a personal living space depending on the number of rooms desired, furniture, chairs, and in function of family needs and how those might evolve over time. Bolstered by numerous sketches and preliminary floor plans, this mockup remains the manifestation of a visionary and prescient world, one that is particularly well-captured in Paulin pieces such as the Déclive articulated recliner and the Tapis-siège carpet seat.
The five other levels comprise a sampling of different possible uses that make it easier to understand the project and allow each viewer’s imagination to roam free. Various platforms make it possible for everyone to draw inspiration from and build on whatever the potential purpose of a private living space might be at any given time.
In this one-of-a-kind example of modular living, each level forms a coherent whole yet offers complete freedom with respect to furnishings, the foundation of Pierre Paulin’s work, which are also presented here. In keeping with its values, and by reviving one of Paulin’s favorite projects, the Maison Louis Vuitton is contributing to the preservation of a mutual quest for, as the designer himself once put it, “gestures that are powerful because they are balanced and true.”