Leleu furniture has been at the pinnacle of good taste since the 1920s when it became synonymous with the exquisite sophistication of the Art Deco movement. The atelier was founded by Jules Leleu (1883-1961), a French provincial furniture designer who hit the jackpot winning a Grand Prize at the 1925 International Exposition of Decorative Arts in Paris which brought him worldwide acclaim.
The business soon became a family affair with Paule (1906-1987) his daughter, in charge of the design studio; Jean (1912-1982) his eldest son, in charge of the office that supervised the ocean liner commissions Normandie and Ile-de-France and public building interiors; and Andre (1927-1995) the “PR person”, also oversaw the atelier’s production and the private residence commissions. Maison Leleu, – décorateurs ensembliers, whose design talents covered lighting, fabrics, wall paper, rugs and furniture – closed its doors 1973, though brothers Jean and Andre continued as consulting decorators thereafter.
Their insanely chic furniture produced in the 1920s and 1930s was not knocked out in the post-war years, when aesthetic sensibilities changed. The House of Leleu succeeded by adapting and incorporating “modern” elements to their furniture like glass, aluminum, steel and even fiberglass. But while function may have dictated form, the understated elegance and sybaritic sensitivity of each LELEU piece remained as you can attest from the images shown herein.
This introduction is a good segway into what is bound to be one of the design highlights this Fall in New York City – the selling exhibition of Leleu furniture at Maison Gerard entitled “Maison Leleu: 1960s” running from 1 October through 29 October 2014.
The show focuses on 2 residential commissions of the House of Leleu from the 1960s. The first, the commission by the South American financier Robert Grief for his Villa Medy Roc in Cap d’Antibes and the second, the commission by entrepreneur Pierre Frilet for his sprawling apartment on avenue Foch in Paris.
Richard Rabel is a New York Interior Designer and Principal at Richard Rabel: Interiors+ Art, a design studio offering residential design, decorating and art advising services.
image credits: Maison Gerard, New York. All images from the selling exhibit Maison Leleu: 1960s through until 29 October 2014.