Robert Mallet-Stevens


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A leading French architect, designer, and writer connected with progressive design in the interwar years, Mallet‐Stevens studied at the École Spéciale d'Architecture in Paris from 1903 to 1906. An important influence was the Palais Stoclet (1905–11) in Brussels, designed by Josef Hoffmann for Mallet‐Stevens's uncle. Such an outlook was evident in the geometric underpinning of Mallet‐Stevens's designs for the Écorcheville house (1914), his 1917 drawings for city buildings, and the 32 plates of city buildings in his publication of Une Cité Moderne (1922). Mallet‐Stevens also participated in the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels, for which he designed the Pavilion of the French Embassy. His commission for the Noailles Villa (1923–6) at Hyères, for which he also designed furniture, revealed the influence of De Stijl. During the 1920s Mallet‐Stevens designed a number of film set designs including those for Marcel l'Herbier's L'Inhumaine (1923–4) and Le Vertige (1926). For the former, he was responsible for the exterior architectural sets including the De Stijl‐influenced engineer's villa. Other designers involved included René Lalique and Jean Puiforcat who designed objects, Fernand Léger who was involved with the engineer's workshop, and Paul Poiret who contributed a number of the costumes. Mallet‐Stevens also designed for Man Ray's film set for Les Mysteres du Château du Dé (1928), the latter based on the Noailles Villa. He carried out many other commissions for houses, the most significant being the complex of five private villas in the Rue Mallet‐Stevens at Auteuil built between 1926 and 1927. It included his own house and practice, with stained glass by Louis Barillet and metalwork by Jean Prouvé, who had also carried out metalwork for shop front designs for Mallet‐Stevens. Barillet also worked on decorative glass for Mallet‐Stevens's La Semaine à Paris newspaper offices of 1928–9. Some of the detailing of the houses in the Rue Mallet‐Stevens, particularly the sweeping horizontal lines and sweeping curves of the detail at ground level shares visual characteristics with elements of Streamlining in the United States. Mallet‐Stevens was a founding member and president of the progressive Union des Artistes Modernes founded in 1929.

Subjects: Architecture — Industrial and Commercial Art.

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