Stemming from the corner of a sheet of paper that was accidentally turned-down, the concept of “Tapis-Siège” became an obsession early on in Pierre Paulin’s work. Fascinated by the tatami, a major feature of the design of the traditional Japanese house, Paulin often cites Liwan and Diwan as other sources of inspiration, imagining with relish the future of furnishing after the disappearance of furniture and the advent of modular floors. He started to sketch out the first drafts of the Tapis-Siège as early as the late 50’s, but it was only in 1968 that he drew plans and made a model as part of an ambitious modular project for Herman Miller. In the end, the project would never be put into production by the American firm. In 1980, still impatient to see his idea come into existence, Pierre Paulin would end up independently producing a simplified version of the Tapis-Siège for his family house on Rue des Ursulines.
Although numerous creations by Paulin met public acclaim, some never went beyond the testing phase of the prototypes. Industrial partners were at the time the sole decision makers as to the potential of a project and no competing gallery market existed in order to support designers.
In this context, projects that had been refused – Dune, Déclive, Tapis-Siège- were sent back to Paulin and were only known to, and enjoyed by, a handful of close associates who were able to experience them during private visits to the designer’s house.
Since 2014, many exhibits have been organized and enable the audience to finally discover the industrial utopias of one of the greatest French designers. Both collectors and amateurs are now very keen to put into production late versions of early editions of prototypes, which make for valuable additions to the designer’s iconography, in keeping with Pierre Paulin’s will,.
‘I would like to perfect some of the things I developed in the past… They made an impression upon people and some have asked us if we were willing to produce them […] We may well end up doing so.’
Pierre Paulin, RFI (Radio France International), 2008