Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Places & Faces

Andrée Putman, The Grande Dame of French Design

In January 2013, the interior design world lost one of it’s greatest – Andrée Putman passed away, aged 87.

Shortly after hearing the news I realised that many in Australia did not know her name and history, even if they had come across her work indirectly.

When I say “Boutique Hotel”, you probably imagine something of Andrée Putman’s – she was the first to embrace the boutique hotel concept in 1984, in the Morgans Hotel in New York .  The iconic black and white bathroom, that has inspired so many interior designers, was also her creation.

I loathe pompous luxury. I take interest in the essential, the framework, the basic elements of things.” Putman has said.

 In 1978, at the age of 53, she founded Ecart, a company who’s aim was the breathe new life into forgotten design from the 1930s: Herbst, Jean-Michel Frank, Charraud, Mallet-Stevens, Gaudi and Eileen Gray.  Putman says of this project, “My only concern was to interest at least ten persons and I would have accomplished something which would carry me for all my life”.

traditional woodworker

From Ecart, opportunities arose with Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Guerlain, along with countless hotels world-wide.  One of Putman's most memorable interior designs schemes was for the the Concorde aeroplane.

Many have said Putman is the creator of modern luxury – the first to have combined minimalism with decadence in perfect harmony.

Unless you have a feeling for that secret knowledge, that modest things can be more beautiful than anything expensive, you will never have style.”

Andrée Putman (1925-2013)


Alexandra D