Quinet Jacques


Jacques Quinet's work as a designer and architect began in earnest after his military service ended in 1946. While re-engaging in his architecture studies, he met a famed cabinet maker in Faubourg St. Antoine (a suburb of Paris), which was then the centre of cabinetmaking in France. It was during this period that Quinet learnt the production techniques of the finest French furniture. Quinet's desire, however, was to develop his own style as much as his technique. He began to design pieces with a restrained sense of elegance and proportion, continually referencing traditional works. His approach entailed starting with a geometric drawing and excising any ornament deemed unnecessary, culminating in pieces with weightlessness, brilliant proportions, and exquisite materials. The desk he designed in 1957, for example, features: bronze legs, an X-shaped strut, a sycamore top that subtly plays off the bronze base, and bevelled edges that harmonise with the soft edges of the metal. Of course, Quinet's architectural instincts played no small part in the qualities of his furniture. Quinet participated in numerous exhibitions beginning in the late 1940s, including Art et Industrie and Salon des Artistes Décorateurs. He soon attracted large-scale commissions, designing the ocean liner La Bourdonnais, the Centre de l'Energie Atomique, and la societé des Eaux d' Evian. Later in the '60s he was commissioned to design the hotel Plaza-Athénée in Paris, after which he moved into more domestic circles, designing various Parisian homes. For these residential projects, he made use of furniture designed in his signature style, often incorporating bronze, steel, and Japanese-style lacquered wood. Quinet's diverse output ultimately saw him decorated as a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 1985, Officier des Arts et des Lettres in 1988, and - in 1990, just two years before his death - he was presented with the prestigious Legion d'Honneur.


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