Installation shot of David Zwirner at PAD Paris.
Photo: Courtesy of David Zwirner

Discover the Highlights from PAD Paris 2024

From David Zwirner’s installation of Austrian artist Franz West’s works to a hammered-stoneware seat by Indian architect Bijoy Jain

Galerie Gastou at PAD Paris. Photo: Edouard Auffray

There is no collectible design fair more fun or fabulous than the Paris edition of the Pavilion of Art and Design (PAD). This year, it opened its doors on a sparkling spring day in the Tuileries gardens, and the almost entirely francophone crowd swarmed in. “It really is a local event,” laughed Clara Krentowski, the daughter of Galerie Kreo founders Clemence and Didier Krentowski, who is now a key part of the team.

Among those locals were a cluster of notables—Rick Owens and Michele Lamy, who still have an enviable home on the Place du Bourbon; rising interior designers Fabrizio Casiraghi and Hugo Toro; and the venerables—Jacques Grange and Caroline Sarkozy (no relation of the equally famous Nicolas). Pierre Yovanovitch stalked the aisles as the major Belgium art and design collector Hubert Bonnet arrived on his motorbike. “It was the only way I could avoid the terrible traffic,” he explained.

Photo: Jeroen Verrecht

On the stands, change was afoot. Once a place to find acres of the revered French names—Jean Royère, Pierre Paulin—this year’s fair had pivoted both backwards and forwards. As predicted, the 1980s has found its place in the historic sector, and there was plenty to see here. But also a deeper interest in earlier work seems to have emerged, with wood pieces by designers such as Joseph Hoffmann (most known for his Successionist style work made in Vienna in the early 20th century) reclaiming the territory.

The prizes were announced on the opening day, with Galerie Gastou winning Best Stand. The French gallery had commissioned Joy Herrero to create a no-holds-barred installation to display the work of jeweler Béatrice Serre—a series of unique solid silver boxes set with precious stones and metals. With a central mirrored bolder encrusted with glittering minerals, and encircled by white columns, it was like a cross between a monochrome temple and a Judith Lieber handbag.

Four chandeliers by The Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. Photo: Courtesy of PAD

The Best Contemporary Design prize went to a hammered-stoneware seat by Bijoy Jain, an Indian architect who works entirely with natural materials and is represented by Belgian gallery Maniera. The Historical Design prize was a truly inspired choice on the part of the jury. They selected an exquisite suite of four dainty brass chandeliers, made around 1900 by the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. Hubert Bonnet had already spotted them the minute he got off his motorbike.

Franz West's re-editioned dining chairs of epoxy resin at David Zwirner. Photo: Courtesy of David Zwirner

David Zwirner

This is the first time that the Zwirner gallery has shown at PAD, and it turned up with a full display of works by Franz West. The German artist played across the boundaries of sculpture and furniture, producing both huge-scale forms (often very pink and very phallic) as well as useable pieces—such as the re-editioned dining chairs presented here with a stainless steel frame and a seat of epoxy resin coated with acrylic lacquer in lush colour combinations, including pastel pink and blue. “David opened his first gallery in Greene Street, New York, in 1992 with a show of Franz West,” explained a gallerist. “He’d seen the work at Documenta and formed a relationship with Franz immediately that lasted until the artist’s death in 2012.”

Fabric changing room by Gaetano Pesce presented by Luna Laffanour. Photo: Courtesy of PAD and Luna Laffanour

Luna Laffanour

With the passing of the experimental designer Gaetano Pesce on the day after the fair’s opening, the proliferation of his work had taken on added meaning by the weekend. Though the legendary Italian architect and designer, who spent part of his design life in New York, was renowned for his work in jewel colored resin, Luna Laffanour obtained an exceptional and rather different work. It was a fabric changing room that Pesce had designed for a Belgium boutique in the early ’90s. Though barely big enough for even me to stand in, with its stripy blue fabric exterior, padded and buttoned, around a metal cage-like frame, this one-off piece should go to a museum.

Gaetano Pesce bed. Photo: Courtesy of PULP


There was more Pesce at PULP, a new French gallery normally run from a splendid 200m2 apartment in Paris’s ninth arrondissement. But Paul Menacer-Poussin and Paul-Louis Betto had recreated that same environment at PAD, down to the sleek oak parquet floor and its salon’s double doors. A highlight of their stand was a Pesce bed called Nobody’s Perfect, with a red and orange resin headboard signed and stamped “Pesce, March 2007.” Only 15 were made, and this one had spent its life so far in a beautifully appointed home in Sicily. Another, which sold in Milan last September, made €114,300, one of the highest figures achieved by a Pesce work. Though that is obviously set to change.

Couch by Georges Charpentier presented by Patrick Fourtin. Photo: Courtesy of Patrick Fourtin

Patrick Fourtin

One of Paris’s top blue-chip dealers, Patrick Fourtin knows how to start a trend. This year at PAD, the work of Georges Charpentier figured large. That’s large, as in a 13-foot-long couch, sculpted from oak and varnished to a deep brown black. “It was made in the 1960s for a chalet in the Pyrenees. Apparently it was quite a jet set party place–lots of singer and actors,” said Fourtin. On the wall, Fourtin had also arranged a set of shelves by the same designer, a little less imposing and even more sculptural and arresting. In a case of nominative determination, Charpentier (it means carpenter in French) worked alone in a completely artisanal way. “There’s not much known about him,” said Fourtin. “We are on a voyage of discovery.”

Elmar Berkovich desk from Romain Morandi. Photo: Courtesy Romain Morandi

Martin Szekely chair from Romain Morandi. Photo: Courtesy of Romain Morandi

Romain Morandi

Gallerist Romain Morandi has set his own agenda in Paris’s chic sixth arrondissement, where he mixes early modern with modern and post-modern design to exquisite effect. This was played out perfectly on his stand at PAD, particularly with a Martin Szekely chair, the first that the designer made in carbon fibre around 1982, that Morandi had matched with a desk by Elmar Berkovich, circa-1935. The desk, in black-lacquered wood, with its slick Constructivist lines, was one of the delights of the fair, as was a Josef Hoffmann chair from 1907, with a decorative beaded and arched back. “It’s when you put things in dialogue that you get a really critical view,” said Morandi. He has the eye.

Cover: Installation shot of David Zwirner at PAD Paris.
Photo: Courtesy of David Zwirner


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