From the Archives: Patrick Jouin’s Substance of Design

Patrick Jouin when I interviewed him at the Centre Pompidou in 2010.

Patrick Jouin when I interviewed him at the Centre Pompidou in 2010.

When I transitioned the adroyt site away from WordPress, I had to shutter posts that I felt were worthy of being seen so I’m featuring them in this series “From the Archives.” This post is so fitting for a look-back because Patrick Jouin can go from edgy to glamorous with ease: you'll see this in the products and projects featured here. 

 

Bloom by Patrick Jouin for MGX.

Bloom by Patrick Jouin for Materialise by MGX.

 

When I strolled into Paris’ Centre Pompidou to walk through Patrick Jouin’s exhibition with the talented designer in 2010, I had no idea what to expect. The slim, handsome man was standing with a group of professionals, his dapper clothes contrasting the motorcycle helmet casually slung over his forearm. This pretty much summed up the paradox I would find throughout the exhibition, Patrick Jouin: La Substance du Design.

 

Solid C1 chair designed by Patrick Jouin and made by MGX Materialise.

Solid C1 chair designed by Patrick Jouin and made by MGX Materialise.

 

The expansive ensemble of products made the room read like a dynamic design studio with floor to ceiling grids holding sketches and computer drawings, and shadow boxes filled with prototypes and tiny models of products and projects. The array of ideas illustrated a lively imagination with an exhaustive flair for specificity. “I see design as a mix of poetics and technology,” Jouin remarked. “The devil is in every project and the trick is to find where he is hiding so we can make him pop out!”

 

Solid C2 chair designed by Patrick Jouin and made by MGX Materialise.

Solid C2 chair designed by Patrick Jouin and made by MGX Materialise.

 

It took the designer six months to curate the exhibition, which he says was an honor. He’s inspired by all periods of design—saying it is truly impossible to isolate any one influential age. “I am inspired by so many different things and I never know when an idea will come,” he explained, pointing to one of numerous sketchbooks tucked into a backlit niche. “I fill these routinely with sketches that are then refined and presented to clients.” When I asked him whether he always has a sketchpad with him, the designer remarked, “Yes, there is one in a compartment of my motorbike now!”

 

The Optic collection, which Patrick Jouin designed for Kartell.

The Optic collection, which Patrick Jouin designed for Kartell.

 

Jouin loves to collaborate with clients but he’s very specific about the way he works with such avant-garde manufacturers as Alessi, MGX by Materialise, Cassina, and Kartell. “I only present each client with one option when the design process is complete,” he said. “Design is a choice and, though the client is involved in the process, there is a clear decision to be made in the end.”

 

Restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. Image ©Pierre Monetta.

Restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. Image ©Pierre Monetta.

 

The designer is responsible for some of Paris' most luxuriant interiors, including the Restaurant le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower; and the Restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée, the design detailed on Ducasse's website. He also designed the Van Cleef and Arpels salon on the famed Place Vendôme. But of particular excitement for Jouin when I interviewed him was The Swatch Art Peace Hotel he designed in Shanghai, China, for the Swatch Group. 

 

Van Cleef and Arpels salon in Paris designed by Patrick Jouin.

Van Cleef and Arpels salon in Paris designed by Patrick Jouin.

 

At the time I first interviewed him, I made note that the visionary’s star was definitely on the rise. This turns out to be quite true, and it has continued to climb since my interview in 2010. As I said in the opening of this post, one of the things that impresses me about him the most is that he can go from edgy to glamorous with ease.

Saxon Henry is the founder of adroyt, an author and The Modern Salonnière.