February 18 - June 5, 2011
French partners Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku of Jouin Manku studio designed a site-specific installation for the “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels” exhibition, which draws on the domestic history of the 1902 Carnegie Mansion, home to the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
The original function of the historic spaces will be highlighted through the studio’s design, which Jouin says pays special attention to the “memories of the past.” “It’s a house where people were living; they were having dinner; they were sleeping; they were receiving friends,” he said. “I thought it was interesting to reconnect the design of the exhibition with the history of the building, because Van Cleef & Arpels also has a long history.”
The designers’ intention to evoke the building’s past is clear in the dining room of the mansion. In a nod to the sumptuous dinners that the Carnegies’ held with world leaders, they chose an expansive and opulent dining table and set it with jewelry. The objects will be presented under glass bubble encasements that accentuate and illuminate the finest details of each piece of jewelry. The shape and idea of the table are repeated in the music room, devoted to innovations, and in the breakfast room of the mansion in order to connect and link the different rooms of the exhibition.
In the mansion’s conservatory, the designers recall the glass domes used to house and protect flowers and expands the idea to the large-scale, domed architectural space. A flutter of Van Cleef & Arpels butterfly brooches, made of precious metals, some with Japanese lacquer, will inhabit that space and relate to the natural world visible just outside in the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden.
The nature section features four 3-D holograms, which create full-color, virtual images of the jewelry within the case. The 3-D lenses surrounding the objects allow for 360-degree viewing of the jewelry and amplify the details and intricate craftsmanship of the work on view.
By recalling the history of the house in his design, Jouin Manku studio aims to emotionally connect the visitor to the work on view. “It is very important that the space allows the body and spirit of the visitor to see the beauty of the pieces,” Jouin said.
Adding to the visitor experience, music was commissioned by the young composer Nicolas Jaar to complement the exhibition design. Each room has a different piece, created in response to the room’s architecture, its original use and the themes of the exhibition. Jaar’s composition was inspired by a musical “promenade onirique” (dream walk), and is characterized by minimal, meditative melodies.
A graduate of École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris, Jouin established his own firm in 1998 and began a partnership in 2006 with Manku, a Canadian architect of Indian origin. In 2008, the firm created two
distinct branches, Jouin Manku for space design and Patrick Jouin ID for furniture design. In total, a team of 18 designers, interior designers and architects work together on projects ranging from the W Hotels to a private house in Kuala Lumpur.
A recipient of many design awards and public commissions, the firm’s work has recently been exhibited at the Instituto Tomie Ohtake in Sao Paolo, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Jouin’s Solid C2 chair—manufactured by a process called stereolithography, a kind of 3-D printing in which a computer-controlled laser heats and solidifies a photosensitive epoxy resin upon contact—was recently acquired by Cooper-Hewitt for its permanent collection.
“Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels”
Since its opening on the Place Vendôme in Paris in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has played a leading role in style and design innovation. Its timeless pieces have been worn by style icons, including the Duchess of Windsor, Her Serene
Highness Princess Grace of Monaco and Elizabeth Taylor. This exhibition will explore the historical significance of the firm’s contributions to jewelry design in the 20th century, including the establishment of Van Cleef & Arpels in New York with the advent of World War II. On view will be more than 350 works, including jewels, timepieces, fashion accessories and objets d’art by Van Cleef & Arpels, many of which were created exclusively for the American market. The exhibition will examine the work through the lenses of innovation, transformation, nature as inspiration, exoticism, fashion and personalities, and will include design drawings from the Van Cleef & Arpels Smithsonian’s
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Cooper-Hewitt is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Founded in 1897, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications.
The museum is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City.