Pierre Patout (1879 – 1965) French Architect and Designer

Salon of the Hotel du Collectionneur (1925) interior designed by Pierre Patout
Salon of the Hotel du Collectionneur (1925) interior designed by Pierre Patout

Pierre Patout (1879-1965) was a French architect and interior designer who was a pioneer of Streamline Moderne design and a prominent role in the Art Deco movement. In the 1930s, he designed the interiors of the ocean liner Normandie and other French transatlantic ships and the main entrance and Pavillion d’un Collecteur at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts Paris in 1925.


Pierre Patout was born in Tonnerre, in the Yonne Department, on April 23, 1879. He passed away on May 21, 1965, in Yonne, Souzay-Champigny, Maine-et-Loire. He served in the French Army’s camouflage department during World War I, among several other French artists, under painter Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévolaor.

1925 Exposition of Decorative Arts

Following the war, he collaborated with his friend Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, a decorator. They worked together on designs for the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, which took place in Paris from April to October 1925 and gave the style its name. It was attended by sixteen million people during its seven-month existence, with 15,000 exhibitors from twenty different nations. The Exhibit’s primary goal was to promote French luxury furniture, porcelain, glass, metalwork, textiles, and other decorative items producers. Every major department store and designer in Paris had its Pavillion.

Patout built the Exposition’s main entrance on the Place de la Concorde, as well as the Hôtel du Riche Collectionneur, one of the Exposition’s most famous attractions. Inside, it featured Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann’s new furniture designs, as well as Art Deco fabrics, rugs, and a painting by Jean Dupas. The interior design adhered to the exact symmetry and geometric forms that distinguished it from Art Nouveau, vivid colours, high craftsmanship, and rare and expensive materials that characterised it from the rigid functionality of the Modernist style.

The Style Paquebot

Following his triumph at the 1925 Exposition, he was commissioned to design the interior of the newest French transatlantic ocean liner, the Ile-de-France, which he completed in 1926. Following that, he received commissions for the L’Atlantique (1930) and, perhaps most famously, the Normandie (1935). The dining room, which was illuminated with rows of lighted Lalique crystal columns, was the focal point of the Normandie interior.

In France, this style was known as Paquebot, or ocean liner, and it had a significant impact on Art Deco’s subsequent Streamline Moderne form. Patout used it to design several buildings in Paris, including one on rue Docteur Blanche (1929), another on rue Félicien-David, and one on Boulevard Victor, which he designed to resemble a ship, with a pointed bow, long narrow terrace with railings resembling decks, and roof structures resembling smokestacks. On Avenue de Wagram, he also erected the Hotel Mércédes.

World’s Fairs and Postwar work

He kept working on exhibition architecture. For the 1937 Paris International Exposition, he designed the Artists and Decorators Pavilion, and for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, he designed the stunningly futuristic oval glass and concrete Pavilion of France. Following WWII, he assisted in the reconstruction of Tours, which had been seriously devastated by the war. He designed the new city public library in Tours, among other structures.


Wikipedia contributors. (2021, May 17). Pierre Patout. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:17, September 23, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pierre_Patout&oldid=1023558274

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