Interior Designer Andrée Putman dies at 87
21 January 2013 14:00 GMT
Andrée Putman, the French interior designer famous for creating the aesthetic of the world’s first boutique hotel, died at her home in Paris on 19 January.
Putman, who was 87 years old, had a global career spanning decades which saw her contribute to a huge variety of ambitious design projects. But it was her creation of the interior of Morgans Hotel in New York in 1984 that introduced the concept of the boutique hotel to the world, and marked a turning point in her career.
Putman revolutionised the role of design in the New York hotel industry by creating an interior that was modern, chic and unpretentious. Simple lines, a monochromatic black and white palette and works from the famous contemporary photographer, the late Robert Mapplethorpe, combined to create an ambience that was the antithesis of conformist luxury but became wildly popular.
“I loathe pompous luxury,” she once said. “I take interest in the essential, the framework, the basic elements of things.” Considering the project a living piece, she returned twice to the hotel during her life to tweak and update the design.
Born in Paris to a wealthy family, Putman’s style was heavily influenced by childhood summers spent at the Fontenay Abbey, her family’s Cistercian monastery in eastern France. The austerity of the interiors and geometry of the architecture would leave a deep impression on her personal aesthetic for the rest of her life. “All this made me very wary of awful excesses of anything,” she said.
Putman studied music at the Conservatoire National before working as a journalist for Femina magazine. She went on to write the design column at Elle and edit the interiors section of the prestigious art magazine L’Oeil. It was not until her divorce from the art critic and collector Jacques Putman in the late 1970s that she founded her furniture re-editing studio, Ecart International, and began her career as an interior designer. She was 53 years old.
Through Ecart she re-released 1930s furniture from forgotten designers such as Herbst, Charroud and Gaudi. Following the sucess of the venture she went on to design entire interior spaces, and her body of work ranged from hotels such as Le Lac in Japan, Im Wasserturm in Germany and the Sheraton in Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to stores for Azzedine Alaia, Balenciaga, Bally, Lagerfeld and the CAPC – Bordeaux’s contemporary art museum. She created the Guerlain flagship store on the Champs-Élysées, redesigned the interior of the Concorde and designed private residences all over the world.
The Studio Andrée Putman was created in 1997, specialising in interior and product design. Putman’s daughter Olivia Putman became Art Director of the company in 2007.