André Bloc is a French architect, sculptor and interior designer. He is a powerful figure in the publishing world and the co-founder of the famous Espace group. He is one of the figurehead in the French artistic landscape, creating a dialogue between art and architecture with permanent social and human concerns.
Born in Algiers in 1896, he began his career as an engineer. He met Auguste Perret (1974-1954) and Le Corbusier (1887-1965) in the 1920s and he decided to give up engines and turbines to turn into architecture. But it’s not the only art where André Bloc shined: from the 1940s, he also started sculpture, with a free and monumental expression. His private home in Meudon, the Villa Bellevue, designed from 1949, is a perfect example of his two-faced practice. He is both influenced by the leading lights of the Modern Movement and his own practice of sculpture: he combines local stone with the materials of his time – iron, glass and concrete – in a curved plan; he colored some of interior walls to create dynamic and vibrant spaces; the whole is widely open to the outside with large patio doors. This building is classified as a “Monument Historique” in 1983. It is, with Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, probably one of the main architectural icons of Ile-de-France. He created expressive furniture for his house with sculptural lines, as such in the “Boomerang” desk or the table with “S” legs.
The Villa Bellevue garden is a perfect journey to the fantastical world of André Bloc as a sculptor. He creates his “Habitacles”, a language that can be described as functional abstraction. They are powerful and majestic expressions, a brilliant dialogue between sculpture and architecture.
His work in the publishing world began very early and had a deep impact: he widely spread ideas and debates about the Modern Movement and the post-World War II era.
He started as general secretary of the magazine “Science et Industrie” in 1922, then he moved to the “Revue de l’Ingénieur” in 1923. He founded his first magazine in 1924: the “Revue générale du Caoutchouc”. He also was responsible for two major magazines creations: “L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui” in 1930, which he directed for many years, and “L’Art d’Aujourd’hui” in 1949.
In 1951, he created the Espace group with famous artists like Félix Del Marle (1889-1952), Jean Gorin (1899-1981) and Victor Vasarely (1906-1997): they deeply believed in the social impact of art on life so they put architecture, painting and sculpture at the service of urban transformation by carrying neoplastic and constructivist ideas. In 1959, André Bloc participated in the prestigious Documenta II in Cassel.
André Bloc has a rich and eclectic career: he worked worldwide like his projects in Teheran, Nice, Jacksonville or Dakar prove it. Every time, he let a mark in the public space by proposing an artistic form halfway architectural and sculptural, always in an innovative way.