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Set atop short pillars that can be extended to meet owner specifications, the layout’s open terrace links indoor areas, one for living and dining, and the other for sleeping and bath quarters. Due to the small scale, every nook and cranny holds a function, whether aesthetic, like the “collector’s wall” to exhibit natural found objects like coral fans and starfish, or a large wooden tub filled with bobbing succulents to collect rainwater through the hole of a sail-inspired canopy. Residents can listen to its trickle while reclining on low slatted chaises, part of the minimal, but meaningful, decoration that also gives a sense of Perriand’s innovation. A trio of vintage stools balances a sleek banquette around the Gutmann table, and iconic Siège Tournant leather armchairs occupy each bedroom.
In an interview on Monday, Burke said Perriand’s pioneering spirit, audacity, sense of adventure and commitment to simple-yet-luxurious designs dovetails with Vuitton’s brand values.
He explained that this “gutsy” woman made her mark in a profession dominated by men, although she was long overshadowed by French contemporaries such as Le Corbusier. In another daring move, she lived and worked in Japan in the Forties, creating furniture and helping the government raise design standards.
Perriand is emblematic of a group of architects and designers in the Twenties and Thirties, when many enduring design principles were forged. “All designers are still tremendously influenced by the period,” Burke marveled.
Perriand, who died in 1999 after a long career that also included photography and urban planning, is “very well known in the design field,” Burke said, while acknowledging the Miami exhibition “is going to be an eye-opener for the general public.”
Perriand’s daughter, Pernette, told WWD her mother designed many of her own clothes for her trips in Asia, right down to the fabrics. As with her modular furniture, the architect experimented with standardized wardrobes. While in Japan, for example, she made do with four skirts, sweaters, blouses and bustiers to create a variety of silhouettes.
“By adding scarves, stoles, atypical jewels and gloves, I achieved a wide variety with a great deal of surprise and fantasy — always similar, but never the same,” she wrote at the time.
Perriand had a penchant for arty and demonstrative jewelry, sometimes designed by herself and incorporating shells collected on her travels, her daughter said. Her jewelry box also included pieces by Alexander Calder and Jean Fouquet.
Jacques Barsac, a Perriand historian, noted that she and Vuitton had collaborated on a “concept house” in the Fifties, at a time when French magazines invited various creative types to imagine new ways of living.
Pernette Perriand said her late mother remains an inspiring figure, given how she broke through in a male-dominated trade with her fundamentally modernist approach to her work and life.
“Her demeanor was very fashion-forward,” Burke concurred, noting that her colorful furniture, building designs and personal style pointed to a “whole modern lifestyle.”
Separately on Monday, Vuitton said it would open a pop-up store on Dec. 13 in the ski resort of Courchevel, France, where it also operates a permanent location at the LVMH-owned Cheval Blanc hotel. It is to remain open until April 6.