JOSEPH-ANDRÉ MOTTE

1925-2013
France

« There are as different forms of seatings as way to seat, according to do some gestures, eat at a table, read a book, listen to music, and so on. If they match with their destination, these seatings has to be as beautiful as the human body in diverse positions. »

• Joseph-André Motte •

Joseph-André Motte is a two-headed design figure : his importance is major in the design field but the general public knows little about him. Known as «  the designer of the 30 years of post-war economic growth » in France, his strict ergonomic creations are everywhere from private spaces to public areas. 

Graduated from the « École des Arts Appliqués à l’Industrie » in Paris, he learns from great designers like René Gabriel and Louis Sognot. He is valedictorian and he begins his career at the art workshop of the Bon Marché (Paris, France). He is attached to connections and sharing : he takes part in foundations of two importants groups for design history : he founds the « Atelier de Recherche Plastique » (ARP) with Pierre Guariche and Michel Mortier in 1954. Then he creates the « Groupe 4 » with René-Jean Caillette, Geneviève Dangles and Alain Richard.

Joseph-André Motte works with many manufacturers : he designs furniture for Steiner or Hucher-Minvielle, lights for Disderot, and luxurious  pieces for the Mobilier National, a prestigious French state institution. His iconic creation is the « Chistera » unit, edited by Rougier (France) and made in rattan, a material he loves especially.
His production is abundant as in the private homes as in the public spaces. Indeed, Joseph-André Motte is the greatest designer for both public and state buildings : he is in charge of furnishing and equipment for these sites. The most famous among them it’s the Parisian subway (1973) for which he draws the well-known colored shell-seatings and the bevelled white tiles. He is also the one who designs the layout of the Orly airport with geometrical sofas and armchairs (1958-1961) with the architect Paul Andreu, the one of the Havre ferry terminal (1963-1964) and the Cergy-Pontoise prefecture (1970).

This is not a coincidence if Joseph-André Motte participates to so many public construction : his design is perfect and ergonomic and tends toward universality. His drawings are simple and he has a true sens of details : his obvious rationality and his elegant harmony are both sides of one piece. His strength comes from his reinterpretation of classical forms he twists with his genius thanks to modern techniques and various use of materials.
Joseph-André Motte is step by step out of the spotlights but his work of teacher was really important to him : he trains generations of designers at the « École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs » (Ensad), the « École Boulle » and the « École Camondo ». He received the most higher decoration from the Culture Minster, « Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres » : his mark is essential in French landscape and worldwide •

CATALOG :

Chistera coffee table

JOSEPH-ANDRÉ MOTTE1949

Chistera armchairs

JOSEPH-ANDRÉ MOTTE1949

Catherine armchair

JOSEPH-ANDRÉ MOTTE1952-1953

Tripod Chistera armchair

JOSEPH-ANDRÉ MOTTE1949

Asymmetrical daybed

JOSEPH-ANDRÉ MOTTE1955