“Elegance is elimination.”
Jean Michele Frank is considered to be the most influential designer of the 1930s for his understated and stripped-back interiors. His ‘less-is-more’ approach allowed simplicity and proportion to be the key factors within his spaces, creating a ‘lightness’ and somewhat minimalist aesthetic. In addition to this, his interiors are surprisingly multidimensional, due to his innovative furniture design and finishing approach.
Frank is the master of luxurious minimalism. Through his designing, luxury was displayed in the quality and not the quantity of the furnishings. He brilliantly demonstrated the importance of scale in furniture, as well as the need for rigour when selecting decorative objet.
Colour was either absent or shocking, however his use of colour was normally displayed through his mastery of finishes, of both super luxurious and under-appreciated materials. His powerful combination of the simplest forms with the most exquisite materials allowed him to create objets that were considered noble and utterly modern.
As well as his celebrated interiors, Frank is also credited for his furniture design. Similar to his interior aesthetic his designs were rigorously plain but with stylistic distinction. His stark, rectilinear design and details were inspired by the architect Robert Mallet- Stevens, while his experimental use of materials and finishes were purely based on his own creativity.
One of his most celebrated designs is the ‘Parsons Table’ of 1923 which is a perfect example of his minimalist distinction. Whatever its length or width, its square legs were always the same thickness as its top. He would then wrap the table, or any of his furniture designs, in rarefied materials like goatskin, vellum, shagreen, parchment, plaster etc. allowing the style to look modern rather than clinical. His blocky rectangular club chairs and sofas have also been repeatedly replicated and produced over the years.
Areas of Inspiration: importance of materials, simplicity of form, importance of scale.