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JA N S E N

PIERRE DESHAYS, SUCCESSOR TO PRESIDENT OF JANSEN, S.A.

PIERRE DELBÉE AS

and his immediate successor, Deshays; the accomplishments of Jean-Henri Jansen, Schwartz, and Boudin were downplayed, with Boudin not even receiving acknowledgment in the credits for illustrated rooms he had personally decorated. Soon after the shah’s celebration, Deshays introduced a line of Jansen-designed furniture, which was made available to designers throughout the world. Marketed as JC or the Jansen Collections, the line of cabinets, tables, writing desks, and chairs was promoted as “exclusives Jansen.” Ranging from Louis XV, XVI, and Directoire standards to more contemporary confections, such as the Persepolis Pouf—a stool or seat made of two or three stacked cushions, upholstered in leather or fabric—the collection offered luxurious custom finishes, ranging from white, black, and navy blue lacquer to imitation malachite, ivory-veneer, and mahogany with ormolu mounts. One of the more suc-

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cessful designs was the “Royal Table with ‘Leaf-Work’ Decoration,” an ingenious extension dining table that easily could be reduced to a demilune console. The need for this line was explained in an orchestrated interview with Deshays that accompanied its launch. He said: “Several decades ago we worked on mansions . . . today we do five bedroom apartments. A new class of consumers has been born. This class demands beauty, sophistication, but also accessibility. It is for this class that we have created the Jansen Collection.”74 When asked whether he was afraid that the firm would subsequently be viewed as a furniture maker, as opposed to a decorating house, Deshays responded: “Our reputation guarantees to our clients that we will not make mistakes of taste. We do not direct to our clients anything that we do not stand behind. It would not be in our collection . . . be it selected by us, or made by us, it always needs to fit the [Jansen] décor.”75 Deshays’s effort to tailor Jansen, S.A., into a more mainstream design firm was not as successful as he had initially hoped. The Jansen Collections sold well at first, but inevitably the designs were copied and sold much more affordably by others. By the mid-1970s, Jansen of Paris focused almost exclusively on modern design. Eventually, the designer Serge Robin took over the contemporary design department and secured the highest level of quality. New furniture designers were celebrated within the ground-floor galleries of rue Royale. Representative of this program was the work of artists and designers Elizabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti, known as The New Barbarians. They unveiled their first collection at Jansen in 1981. Garouste, a theater and costume designer, and Bonetti, a photographer and sculptor, produced avant-garde designs, somewhat reminiscent of the naturalistic Art Nouveau

Jansen: Decoration (excerpt)  

Jansen showcases 30 of the company's most alluring commissions, including rooms for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Shah and Shahbanou...

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