Andrée Putnam (1925 – 2013), French Interior Designer

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Andrée Putman photo in black and white
Andrée Putman photo in black and white

Andrée Putman (1925 – 2013) was a French interior designer, furniture designer, and entrepreneur. She was born in Paris. Putman was probably best known internationally for her black and white palette, illustrated by the 1985 interior of Morgans Hotel in New York. It was commissioned by the entrepreneurs Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell.

Biography

She was married to Dutch businessman Jacques Putman. She worked for the magazines L’Oeil du Decorateur and Femina. In the 1960s, she was hired as a stylist by Denise Fayolle for Prisunic, the sizeable French store chain. She became a pioneer in inexpensive, well-designed furniture and housewares. She commissioned artists Matta (Roberto Sebastian Matta Echaurren), Bram van Velde, Pierre Alechinsky, and Jean Messagier to design lithographs, tableware, fabric patterns, and housewares for Prisunic. 

Free-flowing space penhthouse Andrée Putman
Free-flowing space penthouse Andrée Putman

In c1963, she decorated the house of Michel Guy, later French minister of culture. In 1968, Putman accompanied Fayolle to the partnership formed by Maime Arnodin and Fayolle called MAFIA, for which Putman designed interiors, textiles, and furniture. In 1971, she collaborated with Didier Grumbach on clothing and home furnishings in the shop Createurs et Industriels and promoted young fashion designers.

Écart International

She established the furniture firm Écart International in 1978 and the design firm Écart with Jean-Francois Bodin. Ecart International reproduced Eileen Grey’s designs, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Pierre Chareau, Rene Herbst, Michel Dufet, and others, including the 1907 projection lamp by Mariano Fortuny and the contemporary designs of Patrick Naggar, Sylvain Dubuisson, and Sacha Kétoff. 

Putman began Ecart’s production by weaving the carpet designs of Gray. Putman’s furniture was issued by De Sede, lighting by Baldinger, and fabrics by Stendig. Ecart’s first commercial interior design assignment was the YSL Rive Gauche boutiques in the USA.

Interior Designs

Her 1983 layout for the office of the French minister of culture Jack Lang was widely published. She designed numerous boutiques, including those for Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint-Laurent in 1985, Thierry Mugler 1980-83, Balenciaga, Azzedine Alafa in 1985, Ebel, and Hemispheres, and the 1987 decors of the Rouen Musee des Beaux-Arts, and Bordeaux Centre d’Art Plastique Contemporain; Saint James Club, Paris; and Hotel Im Wasserturm, Cologne. She designed the Basel Trade Fair, restoration of Le Corbusier’s Villa Turque (Ebel’s public relations bureau) in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), and the 1990 ‘Les années VIA’ exhibition at the Paris Musée des Arts Decoratifs. 

Hotel im Wasserturm interior Andrée Putman
Hotel im Wasserturm interior Andrée Putman in New hotel designs.
Hotel im Wasserturm interior designed by Andrée Putman
Hotel im Wasserturm interior designed by Andrée Putman in New hotel designs.

Putman was best known for her black-and-white palette in interior design, illustrated by the 1985 Morgan Hotel in New York. For the same builders, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, she executed the 1985 Palladium nightclub’s interior design in New York. In c1989, she began incorporating colour into her work, illustrated by dinnerware for Sasaki and rugs for Toule-monde Bochart. 

Sources

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

Trocme, S. (1999). Influential interiors. Mitchell Beazley.

Trocmé Suzanne, & Hayden, K. (2002). Classic chic: the ‘little black dress’ of interior design. Jacqui Small.

Vleeschouwer, O. de. (1998). New hotel designs. Telleri.

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