Altitude: Charlotte Perriand & Carlo Mollino, design from the Alps

NOMAD, St Moritz, February 2019


Carlo Mollino and Charlotte Perriand, two fundamentally very different artists, are acknowledged masters of 20th century design and architecture. What links them, apart from their place as pioneers of modernism, is their shared love of the Alps and the influence this had on their work. For NOMAD, St Moritz, Oscar Humphries & Rémi Gerbeau will present a selection of furniture by Mollino and Perriand made for, or inspired by, their respective alpine projects. It will be the first time this material has been shown together, and the first exhibition to make a special focus of the two designers. The presentation will include a bunk bed, table, and chairs from the Casa del Sole. This project – begun by Mollino in 1947 in Cervinia -  was a resort for skiers, an idea anticipating what is today considered the most efficient solution for winter sport: a condominium made of small rational apartments. With this project Mollino sought to break from what he saw as ‘romantic, folkloric’ mountain architecture in an effort to create a structure contemporary to his own time. Perriand took as her architype the forms of similar traditional mountain furniture – and like Mollino – made them both her own and very modern. At Nomad, furniture from her huge project Les Arcs (1967) will be shown, as well as other works by Perriand born of a love affair with the French Alps that began as early as the 1930s. 

Charlotte Perriand (1903 - 1999) was a French architect and designer. Her work aimed to create functional living spaces in the belief that better design helped in creating a better society. As early as 1927, at the age of 24, Perriand produced a number of critically acclaimed innovative pieces of metal furniture, which drew the attention of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. She went on to become the most important female designer and architect for her generation. From the 1930s, Perriand worked on private and public projects in the Alps which included, perhaps most famously, Les Arcs and her own Chalet in Méribel.. 

Carlo Mollino (1905-1973) was an Italian architect, designer, photographer, and theoretician of architecture, photography, skiing, and all things modern. The son of an engineer, from the late 1940s until the early 1970’s, Mollino produced a spectacular portfolio of works and projects, including domestic commissions, hotel interiors and commercial developments. What is exceptional about Mollino and why, over forty years after his death, he continues to have such singular interest to us, is that he took the essence of Art Nouveau, Modernism, and Surrealism and created for himself an entirely new language which he applied with virtuosity to the fields of architecture, photography, and design.