PALAIS is a furniture collection inspired by 17th century French classicism and crafted in coloured marble. It takes its inspiration from the ornamental elements of classicism. 5 new designs by Pierre Gonalons are edited all produced from Saint-Pons de Thomières quarry marble by Marbres de France.
« The diversity and structural richness of marble has fascinated me for a long time. Having loved it so much in classical architecture, I dreamed about it being reincarnated. With Palais, Pierre Gonalons has more than met this expectation, he enables us to rediscover the beauty of French polychrome marble and he reacquaints with what is utterly universal in classicism: the harmony of forms. »
This classicism, that we have now lost sight of, can be summarised in seeking a perfect harmony of proportions and equilibrium between the whole and the detail. From this ideal antiquity, endlessly revived over time and always reassessed in light of trends, remains some decorative elements: mouldings, fluting, compartmentalization... How do we perceive them? Do they still resonate with us? These decorative feats are vestiges of long-gone eras and at the same time perhaps the mere existence of a truly timeless style, and which is, in my opinion, what makes it modern.
What other material is more able to reveal this timelessness than marble? It is the ideal medium for classical architecture. The intrinsic décor of marble with its colour and veins seems for many reasons just as contemporary as the classicism that inspired me. I chose French marble, and in particular Rouge de Saint-Pons (red), equivalent to the one covering the Grand Trianon in Versailles. The Trianon symbolises the penchant for marble favoured by the French decorative arts throughout its history. The Fleur de pêcher and Perle de Nacre marble that are also used, are extracted from the Saint-Pons quarry and lend an essential appearance to this collection:
polychrome. The effort required for extraction and new processing techniques, like the 6-axis robot for cutting or the aluminium mesh for filtering, are real tours de force and I wanted to take part in this process by using the technique as a finishing tool.
I wanted to convey the codes of classicism by interpreting them through the filter of our time, by differentiating them in objects where detail is paramount. Their contours are inspired by academic drawings, but I diverted the scale and function, I changed surface into volume, added perforation where there was fluting, highlighted asymmetry where there should be symmetry… This apparent distance allows the work’s message to be better recognised: to propose a reinterpretation of this formal repertory with a freedom of interpretation that reflects the poetry of its vestiges. PALAIS is a scenario as well as an exercise in style. This project recalls the journey between poetry and style, between dream and rigour, but above all supports a permanence of forms through an inseparable link between the past and the future.