Andree Putman by Nour El Gammal

Andree Putman is a French designer and interior architect. Her career spans over a period of more than forty years and consists of designing interiors as well as furniture and products.

Putman is best known for her avant-garde furnishings and interior designs. Her focus is on aesthetically pleasing and visual comfort rather than physical comfort. She believes that the sensations offered by a space should be favored instead of taking it up by its function. Her aim is simplicity and minimalism, in order to make life easier. She doesn’t use decoration for its sake but “the beautiful within the useful”[i]. Putman always thought of ways to please a person in a space since a person should feel good at any time in his space. According to Putman: “Places crammed and suffocated with wealth, effects and sparkles are unbearable.”[ii] She starts by getting rid of the unnecessary, everything material .She puts some kind of order to the space without altering or distorting it, to not reveal its frame work. She then plays with the immaterial such as perspective, lighting effects, colors and materials, instead of cluttering up.

Lighting is very important, as it makes her see “the purity and the real nudity of the space”.[iii] Putman uses light in order to transform a space, to shorten it or lengthen it, empty it or make it full .It is key for solving constraints. She, for example created a stairway for Gildo Pastor Center (1996) by making it look like a necklace. The stairway is a source of light, without any visible bulbs, apparatus or wires. Everything is in the wall and “it gives the impression of walking on light”.[iv] For Sheraton Aeroport Charles De Gaulle (1996), she created in the entry hall a glass wagon streaked with a huge luminous basket that splits the light and reflects on the marble floor. Not only does it structure and fill the space, but it also hides the elevators and the plant rooms. Putman also plays with colors to create light; she creates special effects by using chromatic colors, different shades of a same color. For Jack Lang’s office (1984), she used different shades and fabrics of beige and created an infinite variation of a same color. For The Putman hotel (2007), she created special effects by playing with the lighting, which made the color of the interior change with the sun. That system of light also illuminates the façade from far away. For La Bastide restaurant (2003), she painted each wall in a slightly different shade of a same color to create a shadowy effect. Moreover, she created the patterned squares for Morgans Hotel (1984), in which the gradations of white, black and gray tones are comforting to the eyes.

Putman’s “rebel” [v] “and anti –ghetto”[vi] spirit is reflected in her work. She used her black and white graphic everywhere in the Morgans Hotel, from the bathrooms, bedrooms, dinning room to the corridors and elevators. She wanted to “tear up the walls” to create reconciliation and harmony. Putman blends expensive and affordable materials together. In the Morgans Hotel she used the cheapest tile with expensive furniture made of cashmere and leather. Putman also mixes classic and modern pieces together, again breaking the rules. While designing the modern interior of Guerlain store, she used chandeliers of Diego Giacommetti. She believes that objects shouldn’t be put together according to their date, and even when she is using an ancient object she would present it in a modern way. Her black and white checkered pattern also combines the digital age because of the oversized pixels effect and the evocation of the 30’s. It is all about “timeless good taste”[vii]; luxury has nothing to do with money.

Putman has defined her most successful projects as “the perfect balance between discipline and revolt.” [viii]She uses her “feelings and mind” [ix]to create new styles and concepts. Her “non-conformist”[x] ideas about arrangement of space and light, combination of materials and the elegance of details have given her the title of the “High Priestess of Style”.[xi]

Gildo Pastor Center (Monaco)
Sheraton Charles de Gaulle (Paris)
Guerlain Flagship Store (Champs Elysees,Paris)
Morgans Hotel Lobby (New York)
Morgans Hotel Bedrooms
Morgans Hotel Bathrooms


[i] “Andree Putman.” http://www.andreeputman.com. Available from http://www.andreeputman.com/english/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

[ii] My contemporary 1ere communaute de l’art contemporain. “Andree Putman.” http://www.mycontemporary.com. Available from http://www.mycontemporary.com/artist/find/name/andr__e_putman. Internet; accessed 20 April 2010.

[iii] “Andree Putman.” http://www.andreeputman.com. Available from http://www.andreeputman.com/english/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

[iv] ibid

[v] Designboom. “Andree Putman.” http://www.designboom.com. Available from http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/putman.html. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

[vi] Design build network. “Andrée Putman – Rebel Icon.” http://www.designbuild-network.com. Available from http://www.designbuild-network.com/features/feature56903/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010

[vii] “Andree Putman.” http://www.andreeputman.com. Available from http://www.andreeputman.com/english/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

[viii] Steffen, Mark . “Andree Putman, Style becomes her.” http://www.planet-mag.com. Available from http://www.planet-mag.com/2009/books/mark-steffen/andree-putnam/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

[ix] “Andree Putman.” http://www.andreeputman.com. Available from http://www.andreeputman.com/english/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

[x] Design build network. “Andrée Putman – Rebel Icon.” http://www.designbuild-network.com. Available from http://www.designbuild-network.com/features/feature56903/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010

[xi] Art daily. ” Andrée Putman, Beyond Style To Open at the Embassy of France in New York.” http://www.artdaily.com. Available from http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2∫_new=25579. Internet; accessed 25 April 2010.

Readings and sources:

– “Andree Putman.” http://www.andreeputman.com. Available from http://www.andreeputman.com/english/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

-Capilla, Maria. “A Show of Luxury.” http://www.actuallyhome.org. Available from http://www.actuallyhome.org/Andre-Putman-A235.html. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010

-My contemporary 1ere communaute de l’art contemporain. “Andree Putman.” http://www.mycontemporary.com. Available from http://www.mycontemporary.com/artist/find/name/andr__e_putman. Internet; accessed 20 April 2010.

-Catton, Pia. “Andrée Putman’s Masterful Output.” http://www.nysun.com. Available from http://www.nysun.com/arts/andree-putmans-masterful-output/86010/. Internet; accessed 23 April 2010.

-O’Byrne, Dave. “Andree Putman.” http://stylemetothemoon.com. Available from http://stylemetothemoon.com/arts/andree-putman/. Internet; accessed 23 April 2010.

-Designboom. “Andree Putman.” http://www.designboom.com. Available from http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/putman.html. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

-Design build network. “Andrée Putman – Rebel Icon.” http://www.designbuild-network.com. Available from http://www.designbuild-network.com/features/feature56903/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010

-Steffen, Mark . “Andree Putman, Style becomes her.” http://www.planet-mag.com. Available from http://www.planet-mag.com/2009/books/mark-steffen/andree-putnam/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

-Art daily. ” Andrée Putman, Beyond Style To Open at the Embassy of France in New York.” http://www.artdaily.com. Available from http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2∫_new=25579. Internet; accessed 25 April 2010.

-Rapsel. “Rapsel commemorates a quarter-century with Andree Putman.” http://rapsel.wordpress.com. Available from http://rapsel.wordpress.com/designers/. Internet; accessed 22 April 2010.

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