Charlotte Perriand: Design Museum

2020–21

Assemble was invited to design the exhibition for a retrospective of the French modernist designer Charlotte Perriand at the Design Museum in London (2021). Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life follows the successful display of Perriand's work at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris (2020) which drew heavily on her extensive archive.

This Modern Life exhibits a more intimate study of Perriand’s design process through original drawings as well as objects which define her numerous collaborations. Countering the conventional way that modern design is often displayed, Assemble injected the show with colour creating a joyful setting for exhibiting Perriand's designs, framing Perriand as both a furniture designer and architect.

Perriand often designed large room recreations to display her creations meaning that her furniture particularly, was always shown among and in contrast with other objects.

 

We echo this by establishing a series of interior rooms throughout the exhibition, using a series of picture windows to connect the visitor to works from a number of different time periods, creating a sense of layering and emphasising how she revisited and repurposed her own works throughout her lifetime.

Calcium silicate blocks were dry stacked to form a variety of platforms for display, providing a somewhat brutal yet pragmatic contrast to the elegance of Perriand's furniture and a nod to her pioneering interest in industrial materials, and modularity.

Graphic designers APFEL created an accompanying system for captioning whereby each caption, made from a thin metal sheet, simply slots in between blocks. Constructed without any fixings the majority of the exhibition therefore can be recycled, with the blocks intended for use in a permanent setting after the show closes.