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BY R.K.

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There’s no arguing that when French furniture and interior designer Pierre Paulin conceptualized a residential project for Herman Miller in 1872, he was ahead of his time. His idea: to manufacture industrial parts for open and empty residential spaces, allowing clients to add to their collection over time to fit the changing needs of work and living spaces. In the end, Herman Miller chose not to invest in the ambitious project, due to the first oil crisis, but thanks to Louis Vuitton, the collection has now been resurrected. “Twenty years ago, [the market was] more into interior decoration,” says Maia Paulin, Pierre’s surviving wife, who worked with him for 40 years. “I think today we’ve come to the idea where we move more easily and change things more easily.” In December, at a satellite Design Miami exhibition called “Playing with Shapes,” Louis Vuitton brought Paulin’s design to the public for the first time, showcasing a reproduction of la Maquette (the original of which is now owned by the Centre Pompidou in Paris), a proposal of a sex-level modular personal living space with movable furniture. Also featured in the presentation were sketches and models, as well as 18 pieces of furniture from Paulin’s original collection—all of which Maia and Louis Vuitton had manufactured. “I was so happy to know that Pierre had been creating for 60 years,” Maia says, “and that he still remains so contemporary.”