Étienne Kohlmann (1903 – 1988) French interior designer and decorator

Exceptional Game Table and Chairs designed by Etienne Kohlmann
Exceptional Game Table and Chairs designed by Etienne Kohlmann

Étienne Kohlmann (1903 – 1988) was a French interior designer and decorator. He was born and raised in Paris, where he also worked professionally.

He attended the École Boulle in Paris until 1922.

He was a professional cabinetmaker from a young age.

In 1922, he worked for a furniture maker in Paris’s Faubourg Saint-Antoine; from 1924 to 1938, he was director of the Grands Magasins du Louvre’s Studium decorating department (along with Maurice Matet). He became artistic director of the Studium-Louvre after sometimes collaborating on designs with Maurice Matet and Dubard.

His work included:

  • The deluxe interiors and lounge of the 1926 oceanliner Île-de-France.
  • Several Paris shop interiors for Mobilier National.
  • Various private commissions (often in collaboration with architect Barrot).

He began using metal in his furniture designs in 1928. Mlle. Max Vibert created rugs, upholstery fabrics, and murals for his interior décors. In 1934, he designed the offices of Dr Debat’s laboratories, Garches, and commissions for shops, hotels, restaurants, and various residences. He obtained occasional technical assistance from Jean Lévy and lighting engineer P. Juget on his less-than-successful lighting for the Studium-Louvre. Holophane produces lighting engineered by Kohlmann. His workshop was located at 22 Quai du Louvre in Paris by 1954.

Étienne Kohlmann cabinet. Exceptional sideboard by Etienne Kohlmann with two doors and four drawers, marble top
Étienne Kohlmann cabinet. Exceptional sideboard by Etienne Kohlmann with two doors and four drawers, marble top

His work was displayed at Société des Artistes Décorateurs salons from 1924 to the late 1930s, Salon d’Automne sessions beginning in 1923, and Salon des Tuileries sessions beginning in 1947. He took part in the Studium-Louvre pavillion at the 1925 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ and the 1931 Paris ‘Exposition Coloniale’; the 1934 (II) and 1935 (III) (Holophane fixtures) Salon of Light; the 1939 New York World’s Fair; and the 1937 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne.’

His work (a lacquered metal chandelier and wall brackets by F. Gagneau) was displayed at the 1937 Paris Exposition. Kohlmann and Eugene Printz modelled the general lighting of the Pavilion of Light’s corridors and vestibules.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

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