FREN

JEAN-PAUL BATH
Executive Director of VIA

Biography

INNOVATION NEWSLETTER

Subscribe

PRATICAL INFORMATIONS
VIA Gallery

120, avenue Ledru Rollin
75011 Paris
Metro : Gare de Lyon / Ledru Rollin

Opening :

monday-friday : 9.30am – 6.30pm

FOLLOW US ON...
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Prisunic & Design

“Beautiful things don’t have to cost more than ugly ones” Denise Fayolle

“All that separates the product from the object is the distance from the factory to the store. And all that separates the object cult to the cult object is the distance from the store to the museum”. Françoise Jollant-Kneebone in “Design carrefour des arts”, published by Flammarion, 2003

Plastics, pop art, crazy teenagers, prêt-à-porter boutiques, flashy billboards – that was the 60’s scene. Low-income apartment blocks, the Renault 4L family hatchback, art for everyone, the May 1968 student uprising. Rinascente and “compasso d’oro”. Ikea in Sweden, Habitat in the UK, introducing a new breed of stores which, each in its own way, marketed high-quality products for the average French family.
PRISUNIC was born as a low-priced store offering a new way of life - one which was 100% PRISUNIC, art included. A completely new look, designed with a broad-based, streamlined philosophy for the contemporary lifestyle.
From 5th September to 30th November 2008, VIA (Valorisation de l’Innovation dans l’Ameublement - a French organisation promoting innovation and creation in home environment) will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first PRISUNIC catalogue. Launched in April 1968, the catalogue was a pioneer project offering modern furniture
which could be ordered by mail at affordable prices. The title of this landmark event is PRISUNIC AND DESIGN, a unique adventure. VIA will also be presenting a temporary and specific exhibition at the September session of Maison&Objet.

PRISUNIC & DESIGN, a unique adventure...

... brings together some sixty pieces of furniture and household objects which evoke the excitement and novelty of the 60’s youth revolution, with all of its radical changes and challenges. Innovation and audacity were blowing in the wind, and encouraging the day’s designers to seek new sources of inspiration, both at home and abroad – new ideas, new materials and new manufacturing processes. No stone was left unturned in the search for unexplored directions and concepts which could give new shape and colour to the home environment.

PRISUNIC AND DESIGN, a unique adventure, illustrates the revolutionary way in which this dynamic company tapped the creative talents of the brightest French and foreign designers of the time, who were put to work under the sacred motto “style + quality + price”.
PRISUNIC was also a pioneer in marketing its wares through a mail order catalogue, thus doing away with the need for the vast amounts of floor space required for furniture displays. This revolutionary step had the effect of creating a vast amount of extra sales area which, as soon as it was launched in April 1968, gave the company a crucial competitive edge.

When VIA set about recreating this fascinating adventure, with all its human, creative and industrial ramifications, it was realized that a simple exhibition catalogue would not be enough to reflect all that it contained. So it was decided to have the story told in a book entitled, like the exhibition itself, “PRISUNIC and design”. The writer selected was Anne Bony, well known in France for the authorship of the collection “Les Années” (The Years), published by Editions du Regard. The book – a major reference work in its own right - is being brought out in partnership with Editions Alternatives of the Gallimard Group, and will be available for purchase, at a very affordable price, by early September.



The exhibition

“PRISUNIC AND DESIGN, a unique adventure” Prisunic’s mail order catalogue, “Unique”, is an icon of a bygone era. Launched in the heady springtime of the year 1968, it played a vital role in France’s coming of age as a modern consumer society. In the midst of nation-wide strikes, it was a look forward to the innovative concept of “first equipment” products affordable for the average French family.

For the first time in furniture production and marketing, designs were entrusted to creative artists whose names would soon achieve fame, such as Marc Held, Gae Aulenti, Terence Conran, Marc Vaidis, Danielle Quarante, Jean-Pierre Garrault, … and sales were innovatively carried out through the company catalogue and mail order system. A total break was made by using a wide range of materials and techniques for the creation of a new habitat: inflatable plastic, fibre glass, polyurethane foam, thermoforming, and the novel use of brightly coloured industrial high-gloss paints. All these forms, models and materials enabled the designers to provide French families with furniture which was fully in sync with their up-to-date lifestyle. The irrepressible spirit of the 60’s had come in from the street and was available on the shelf.
Some of these creations ended up in the homes of famous artists and personalities, such as the armchair/carpet created by Olivier Mourgue, which was purchased by the actress Jeanne Moreau, and the bed designed by Marc Held which was acquired by Karl Lagerfeld. A set of furniture made of fabric and tubes was chosen to grace her home by the writer Edmonde Charles-Roux.

Forty years later, VIA, as part of its mission to promote design applied to home environment, chose three genuine pioneers in the field to take charge of the exhibition: Francis Bruguière, Yves Cambier and Michel Cultru. Back in 1967, Francis Bruguière first conceived the idea of creating a furniture section in PRISUNIC, and to do it he called on René Preborski, Philippe Grummer, Yves Cambier and then Michel Cultru, who helped him develop the new PRISUNIC furniture catalogue. The idea for this revolutionary purchasing group was inspired by the work of Jeanine Roszé, an associate of Denise Fayolle. The initiative benefited from the enlightened support of Jacques Gueden, at the time the store’s General Manager, and also from the close influence of Denise Fayolle, director of the integrated styling and advertising bureau which she created in 1957. Her simple motto was ‘beautiful things don’t have to cost more than ugly ones’. Later on, in 1968, Denise Fayolle, working
with Maïme Arnodin, created the still-famous MAFIA agency, at a time when new shopping centres were springing up, such as Parly II (in 1969) and Vélizy II (in 1972) near Paris. The PRISUNIC furniture catalogue acted as a real testing ground which paved the way for the arrival of Habitat in1973, followed by Ikea in 1981. In fact, it was the “Francis Bruguière - Michel Cultru - Yves Cambier” triumvarite which, after leaving Prisunic, launched Habitat in France.

The pieces displayed in “PRISUNIC AND DESIGN, a unique adventure” come from museums and private collections, while models no longer in existence have been meticulously reproduced especially for the show. There are also lithographs, numbered and signed by Alechinsky, Pierre Messagier… The exhibition, designed by architect and stage designer Yves Gradelet (VIA), evokes the crucial role played by this ingenious experiment, at a major turning-point in the history of household furnishing design. It also brings us up to the present day and current ways of seeing the democratization of furniture design.
In order to share this unique experience, VIA and the Maison&Objet salon will be presenting to professionals, from France and abroad, a temporary and specific exhibition. It will be held during the next session of the fair, from 5th to 9th September 2008, and installed at the entrance to Hall 6. The exhibit will include emblematic pieces taken from the Prisunic catalogue, all of them created by the great designers of the times. It is our hope that this exhibit will give our foreign guests a chance to gain deeper insights into an amazingly creative period which was so crucial for the history of French design.



Pieces on display

Terence Conran kitchen + living
room
Round table Conran
Folding chairs Gae Aulenti
Chandelier with adjustable height
tableware
kitchen cabinet (upper and lower)
low chair / table chest
low lamp on floor or on low table

Gae Aulenti table with chairs
high round table Gae Aulenti
chairs Gae Aulenti
chairs Gae Aulenti
chair Gae Aulenti
Conic suspension
Objects on tabletop

Marc Held bedroom
Double bed
Single bed
Low tables on wheels
Blanket
Lamp flexible globe
Lamp globe and cylinder

Jean-Pierre Garrault / couch
Modular couch
Floor lamp with third flexible globe

Prisunic studio / office
Cabinet metal curtain
Low cabinet metal shelves
Metal wall shelf (red)
Trestle table JC Muller
Folding chair Gae Aulenti
Drawer under desk
Lamp flexible globe

Danielle Quarante / living room
Low chairs
Floor lamp with 2 chrome
lampshades

Prisunic studio office / bedroom
Tube bed
Tube desk
Chair
Low chair
Desk lamp
Blanket

Prisunic studio / bedroom
Wardrobe cloth
Valet
Clothes rack
Shelf cloth
Hold-all

Marc Vaidis / Prisunic studio
2 low chairs
Book shelf
Lamp flexible light

Garden
Round orange parasol lines/dots
Orange deck-chair lines/dots
TOP


The book – a word from the author

“PRISUNIC AND DESIGN”
Anne Bony, Editions Alternatives (Groupe Gallimard)

“Prisunic is the museum of the modern times”
Martial Raysse

Prisunic, a brand of entrepreneurs
”For the development of the article of everyday use”

Historical background
France’s first department stores – les grands magasins – began to appear in the mid-19th century. Interior decoration studios followed, with Le Printemps opening the first specialized store, Primavera, in 1912. Just like the mighty warships Pomone and La Maîtrise, these establishments were France’s pride and glory, when they represented the new French luxury market at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, which was held in 1925.
Le Printemps created another revolutionary precedent in 1931 by opening a store on Paris’ Rue Caumartin, modelled on the American five-and-dime stores, with items sold at discount prices – for example, 65 centimes for a can of sardines and 10 francs for an electric hotplate. Articles were arranged according to price and all mixed up, with foodstuffs displayed side by side with cleaning products. This new store was so successful that by 1936 it had been given a name of its own, Prisunic. It was as much a part of day-to-day French life as the strikes of the Front Populaire, the newly conquered right to yearly holidays and just plain trying to make ends meet. By 1939, the revolutionary new company had opened 60 different outlets.

Buying Prisunic brands means saving money
Jacques Gueden, appointed general manager in 1946, was the guiding light behind the Prisunic boom. He invented the retailer brands, which personalized the products being sold by giving them registered trademarks, with names such as FORZA for foodstuffs, PRISU, FLORINE and KILT for novelties and convenience store articles. He brought to the company
an innovative philosophy, by giving it a specific style, new brand names, attractive packaging, advertising, stylishly designed furniture and tableware, and above all striking fashion collections. It was a daring business policy and a highly effective strategy as well. Discount stores and department stores faced different problems, and Gueden was quick to understand how these differences could be used to best advantage.
Prisunic, France’s first discount store, daringly used the methods of the leading trademarks and retailers, as well as styles and designs inspired by contemporary art.
“We believe that Prisunic should work towards the creation of a new moral code for daily living. This code is based on pricing, on quality and especially on a key element of quality, which is beauty.”
Interviews: Philippe Houzé, Patrick Gueden, Nicole Gueden.

Industrial design
Development of the American way of life with supermarkets, merchandize presentation methods, aisle shelves and product promotion. Raymond Loewy, “Ugliness sells badly”.
The two things which most characterized post-war France were the gradual return of consumer goods and the baby boom. New houses were built which had to be furnished, a wider variety of clothes had to be made, more staple goods and household equipment had to be produced to satisfy a growing population.
Prisunic opened its first self-service store in 1954, and by 1957 Denise Fayolle had created her styling and advertising bureau for Prisunic. “What this all means is that we can never again overlook customer expectations. And the best way of living up to their desires is to show them that beauty really doesn’t have to cost more.”
Plastics, pop art, crazy teenagers, prêt-à-porter boutiques, flashy billboards – that was the 60’s scene. Low-income apartment blocks, the Renault 4L family hatchback, art for everyone, the May 1968 student uprising. Rinascente and “compasso d’oro”. Ikea in Sweden, Habitat in the UK, introducing a new breed of stores which, each in its own way, marketed high-quality products for the average French family.
This total new look called for a coherent and comprehensive drive aimed at creating designs that reflected the contemporary life-style. In 1960, Denise Fayolle created a department exclusively focused on advertising, press relations, packaging and aesthetically conceived industrial design. Packages were streamlined, merchandize was displayed more rationally and functionally, and innovative store layouts made shopping easier, thus increasing sales. Denise Fayolle was so successful that the department soon hired 13 home designers, 10 industrial draughtsmen, a photographer, two ad-writers, a packaging team and a manufacturing team. Andrée Putman came to work with her, as did the photographers Guy Bourdin and Peter Knapp, and the graphic designers Roman Cieslewicz and Folon… In 1967, Denise Fayolle left Prisunic and created Mafia with Maïme Arnodin. The design office was given to Jacques Lavaux, and the house style assigned to Janine Roszé. And Prisunic continued to triumph in fashion trends, in new plastic materials, in foam, and in the colours and graphic innovations of the Pop Art style.
Interview: Alice Morgaine

Prisunic, a partner in creation
In 1968, under the joint direction of Francis Bruguière, Michel Cultru and Yves Cambier, Prisunic created for its customers the first mail order catalogue for furniture and contemporary objects (Francis Bruguière, Michel Cultru and Yves Cambier left the Prisunic project in 1973 to launch Habitat in France). Furniture kits, designer furniture, all went big time. Terence Conran took part, as well as other gifted young designers such as Gae Aulenti, Marc Held, Olivier Mourgue and Jean-Pierre Garrault…

The catalogue was square in shape and featured articles which everyone could afford. There were smart styles at low prices, food products, home furnishings and even artworks. In 1966, Jacques Putman brought out a collection of lithographs costing 100 francs each, by artists such as Bram van Velde, Pierre Alechinsky…
Interviews: Terence Conran, Jean-Pierre Garrault, Andrée Putman, …

By 1970 Prisunic had about 348 stores on the French mainland and another 48 spread around Europe and in Africa and overseas France. As well as all the standard consumer products such as foodstuffs and quality fashions for men, women and children, Prisunic was now selling furniture through its mail order catalogue. The aim was to successfully personalize the full collection of Prisunic articles by constantly increasing quality and reducing costs, in accordance with the company’s founding formula: style, quality and price.

Prisunic’s adventure into the world of furniture came to an end in 1977, but all those who were directly and indirectly involved will never forget the new life which the company infused into the world of design and modern living.

Prisunic was taken over by the Galeries Lafayette Group in 1997.
Interviews: Jeanine Roszé, Pascal Mourgue…



Useful information


The book
PRISUNIC & LE DESIGN
Anne Bony, Editions Alternatives (Groupe Gallimard)
Retail price: 25 euros (VAT included)
Available at the VIA Gallery or in bookstores.



Special thanks to : 50soixante70, AFPIA Est-Nord, AFPIA Sud-Est, Les compagnons du devoir, SCE, skai fashion, musée(s) Art Moderne, Un point trois, Xtra Xtra Original Design

Turnkey exhibition, available on request with Yves Gradelet
Scenography : Yves Gradelet (architect, scénographer - in charge of exhibitions)

Press : Pauline Lacoste - lacoste@mobilier.com - t. +33(0)1 46 28 11 11 - f. +33(0)1 46 28 13 13


Practical informations

'PRISUNIC & LE DESIGN, une aventure unique' exhibition
From 5th September to 30th November 2008
VIA Gallery
33, avenue Daumesnil 75012 Paris
Telephone: +33(1) 46 28 11 11
E-mail: via@mobilier.com
www.via.fr
Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 1pm and from 2 to 6pm
Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 6pm
Free admission

HD images

NB : The images are strickly limited to the presentation and promotion of the corresponding event.
All use of images must be accompanied by the mentioned copyright.
VIA is not responsible for misuse of images.

Procedure for HD downloads

1/ Open the picture by clicking on its tag.
2/ It will then open in a new window.
3/ Right click on the image.
4/ Select "save to".

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© Poly

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© S. Durand

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© M. Duffas

© M. Duffas

© M. Duffas

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© M. Duffas

© M. Duffas

© Sandrini

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© M. Duffas

© M. Duffas

© M. Duffas

© M. Duffas

© M. Duffas

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Studio Prisunic

© Éditions Alternatives

© Éditions Alternatives

Top