DESIGN DICTIONARY: Jacques Adnet
Who is Jacques Adnet and why should you know him?
If you can only remember one thing about Jacques Adnet, know that he is the original designer of the round mirror sheathed in leather with brass buckles and hung by a strap, copies of which are seen everywhere.
Of course there is much more to know. Jacques Adnet's work is considered the epitome of luxury. He is a French Art Deco and modernist designer, architect and interior designer. He believed in the functionality of furniture paired with a geometrical simplicity, readily seen in his iconic mirror design. Adnet was inspired by pre-classical styles and was experimental with materials, being one of the first designers to combine metal and glass.
In 1950, he partnered with Hermes to produce a collection of leather-covered furniture and accessories.
Jacques Adnet is a 20th century man. Born in 1901, he studied at the Municipal School of Design in Auxerre and the École des Beaux-Arts Paris. He was a twin and worked with his brother Jean until age 28. His talent was recognized early. In 1928, at age 28, Adnet became the Director of La Compagnie des Arts Français (CAF) which he headed until 1960. Some of the decorators he supervised at CAF included Charlotte Perriand, Serge Mouille and Georges Jouves. While at CAF he indulged his avant garde modernist ideas and embellished his pared down, linear designs with exotic woods, chromed metal, smoked glass, parchment and mirror.
Jacques Adnet, as an interior designer, was eager to introduce plaster sculpture and wrought-iron creations to interiors, at a time when they were considered suitable for outside decoration alone. He designed this fireplace for a mansion in Chantilly France, recruiting sculptor Hubert Yencasse to carve the caryatids. Edgar Brandt fashioned the fireplace screen.
Other acclaimed interior design commissions include the private apartments of a French president at the Elysée Palace and the meeting room of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Adnet's designs are seen in some of today's finest homes.
Jacques Adnet died in 1984. His designs are timeless and live on.