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The Francis Files

The Notebook: Jacques Adnet's Visionary Designs

May 16, 2023 - Written by Kevin O'Gara

Nate Berkus dining room design with Jacques Adnet chairs, interior design style inspiration via Kevin Francis Design

(Dining chairs in a dining room by Nate Berkus via MyDomaine)

Jacques Adnet, a true avant-garde artist of his time, captivated the design world with his innovative thinking and originality in form and material choices. Born in France in 1900, Adnet's creative spirit blossomed in an era of exploration, where he fearlessly revolutionized the industry by pioneering the combination of metal and glass in furniture construction and decoration. His visionary approach embraced the newfound electricity, a nascent innovation at the turn of the twentieth century, culminating in his iconic lighting designs and other works inspired by light. HIs style combined Art Deco and modernist silhouettes, often characterized as French Modernism.

Adnet's materiality was often inspired by the manmade light that became more widely available during his lifetime, including the use of metal and glass, materials he believed harmonized seamlessly with the evolving possibilities of electricity. This bold exploration led to the creation of groundbreaking furniture pieces that married function and aesthetics in a way never seen before. Adnet's early foray into lighting design, exemplified by the Quadro VII Lamp (1929), shows how avant-garde his designs were for his time – this piece still feels futuristic today!

P.S. You can explore Jacques Adnet originals on 1stDibs and similar styles on Chairish!

Jacques Adnet Hermes leather armchair, furniture design and interior design style inspiration via Kevin Francis Design

(Leather armchair via Metcha)

Jean Louis Deniot Paris apartment dining room design with Jacques Adnet chairs via Elle Decor on Kevin Francis Design

(Dining chairs in a Paris apartment by Jean-Louis Deniot via Elle Decor)

During the 1950s, Adnet formed a remarkable partnership with French fashion house, Hermès. Together, they ventured into uncharted territory, introducing a range of iconic leather-covered furniture, something Adnet became well-known for. Among his most celebrated designs is the Circulaire Mirror (1950), a single circular pane suspended from a supple leather strap. This piece not only exemplified his streamlined and elegant design aesthetic but also showcased his unwavering dedication to achieving simplicity through meticulous craftsmanship. Adnet once reflected, "What a lot of work to achieve simplicity."

Jacques Adnet red leather armchair, furniture design and interior design style inspiration via Kevin Francis Design

(Red leather chair via Metcha)

Black leather daybed designed by Jacques Adnet via Phillips Auctions on Kevin Francis Design
Cabinet designed by Jacques Adnet via Phillips Auctions on Kevin Francis Design

(via Phillips: Daybed, Cabinet)

Los Angeles Tudor house design by Nate Berkus via Architectural Digest, with Jacques Adnet dining table and chairs, on Kevin Francis Design

(Dining set in a home by Nate Berkus via Architectural Digest)

Adnet's impact on aesthetic values was profound, steering the design world away from highly stylized Art Deco to the refined and minimalist allure of modernist French design. His extraordinary repertoire of materials, including exotic woods, smoked glass, parchment, metal, and, of course, leather, ensured his pieces stood out amidst contemporary offerings, just as they did during his lifetime. As Louis Cherronnet eloquently noted in his monograph "Jacques Adnet," Adnet was among the pioneers who envisioned the integration of metal and glass in furniture, celebrating their inherent sparkle. It's amazing to think these materials weren't common before him!

Jean Louis Deniot Paris apartment design with Jacques Adnet desk via Elle Decor on Kevin Francis Design

(Desk in a Paris apartment by Jean-Louis Deniot via Elle Decor)

Jacques Adnet's indomitable spirit and visionary design approach have left an indelible mark on the world of furniture design. His fearless exploration of materials, particularly his fusion of metal and glass, revolutionized the industry and paved the way for a new era of possibilities, and he played a pivotal role in shaping the aesthetic values of modernist French design, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to inspire and captivate today.


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Whether you're building a new house or refreshing your living room, Atlanta interior designer Kevin Francis O'Gara can help you bring your vision to life.



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