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Paris Design Week 2020 took place across the French capital as a combination of real and virtual events between 3rd to 12th September. David/Nicolas was one of the highlights of the design fair, with a furniture design collection, for Pierre Frey.
In 2017, French decorating house Pierre Frey acquired one of France’s leading manufacturers of furniture, expanding its range of products. Sam Baron, Pierre Frey’s newly appointed artistic director for furniture, worked with Lebanese designers David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem of design studio David/Nicolas.
The duo focused on the theme of travel and the great transatlantic liners by the likes of René Prou, boldly reinterpreting his codes to create the collection. Verso responds to new lifestyles with both functional and modular design. A link between decoration and function, the collection demonstrates an innovative approach by mixing classical, contemporary and futuristic elements in a timeless aesthetic.
All of the solid oak “sculptural and imposing” pieces comprising Verso are made by hand in the Pierre Frey workshop in Villers-Cotterêts, France. The seating is upholstered in mohair or a reissued fabric emblazoned with an animated Prou pattern. David Raffoul, who runs David/Nicolas with Nicolas Moussallem, says that the duo designed Verso as furniture they would put into their own home. They made it “look sleek and simple,” featuring some notable details, such as the brass knobs that “are a bit like jewels,” Raffoul explains. “But you’re not just going to look at it. You’re going to use it.”
Suited for more compact rooms, Verso doesn’t just channel a grand era of travel—it’s functional and modular. Each piece is imbued with multiple possibilities. One version of the lounge chair, for example, incorporates gleaming drawers and a folding top that allows it to easily morph into a dressing table, writing desk, or minibar. Any configuration is bolstered by a matching pouf-cum-footrest and petite coffee table that complements a curvaceous statement sofa.
“We like beautiful things,” says Raffoul. “We want these pieces to add value, personality, and a bit of sexiness.” Baron also designed two pedestal tables and a clever folding screen containing a built-in shelf that melds its wood base with wallpaper, stretched fabric, and caning. A rug, which flaunts one of Prou’s bold geometric designs, fittingly completes the collection.
“There are a lot of companies, they put velvet on their furniture and they think it’s glamorous. But glamour comes from a lifestyle and how people interact with furniture, where they eat, where they sit and write a small poem,” says Moussallem. Baron agrees, pointing out that Verso was launched as a way to strengthen the connection between design and “the French way of living, of comfort, and of generosity. This is furniture that could have existed in the past and will still be relevant 50 years from now. True quality is related to life’s different moments.”
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