Adnet, Jaques (1901 -1984)
Jaques Adnet was a French art deco modernist designer, architect and interior designer. He was known for his Art Deco Modernist designs and was an icon of French Modernism. Distinctivly avant garde, Adnet wasamong the first to expect metal and glass to integrate with the structure and decoration of furniture. Adnet used exotic woods with a combination of metal, smoked and plain glass, leather galuchat, parchment and mirrors. Summing up his streamlined, elegant design aesthetic, Adnet remarked “What a lot of work to achieve simplicity”.
Born in 1900 near Bourgogne, Adnet attended the Municipal School of Design in Auxerre and the École des Arts Decoratifs where he studied architecture. Upon graduation, he established the firm J.J. Adnet with his twin brother, Jean. He was acknowledged as one of the most exciting young designers of both the 1925 Salon D’Automne and Les Expositions des Arts Decoratifs. In 1928 he accepted the directorship of La Compagnie des Arts Francais, the atelier which had been founded by Sue et Mare in 1919. CAF provided Adnet with an ideal platform from which to promote his modernist designs. These incorporated precious woods, chromed metals, embellishments such as mirror, leather, parchment and smoked glass in linear styles with decoration pared away wherever possible.
His team of artists and decorators included: Francis Jourdain, Charlotte Perriand, Alexander Noll, Serge Mouille and Georges Jouve. His style incorporated the use of very expensive veneers. After the Second World War, he was President of the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs from 1948 to 1949 and he exhibited regularly there and at the Salon des Arts Menagers. During the 1950s he created leather-covered furniture with Hermes. He redecorated Frank Jay Gould’s house, Mme. Alice Cocea’s apartment, the study of the French President Vicent Auriol at the Elysee, many luxury ocean liners like the Ferdinand de Lesseps (1952), the meeting room of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris (1958). In 1959, he ceased his activities with Compagnie des Arts Francais to direct the École Nationale Superieure des Decoratifs.
Adnet died in 1984 having created a legacy of fine design that feels ‘modern’ even today.