portrait of Joseph-André Motte

Joseph-André Motte

Joseph-André Motte was born in 1925 in the Hautes-Alpes, and studied in Paris at the School of Applied Arts to Industry, under the direction of Louis Sognot and Rene Gabriel, two of the great masters of French modernity. He graduated from his class in 1948 and in 1952 he joined the studio of the third French master, Marcel Gascoin. It is there that he met Pierre Guariche and Michel Mortier, with whom he developed a friendship and a deep professional complicity. Together, they created the Atelier de Recherche Plastique (ARP) in 1954, to present French manufacturers a practical, comfortable, modern furniture at a reasonable price.

Joseph-André Motte developed a very prestigious career that made him one of the most important leaders of contemporary creation during the second half of the twentieth century. He radically renewed traditional materials such as rattan, rethought the design of French apartments after the war and created a range of revolutionary seats for Steiner. He first imagined a folding chair to be delivered disassembled cardboard, an all-metal tube seat, covered with a molded foam, and a removable cover, and an exceptional range of furniture made of stainless steel.

This great agency manager is probably the one who created the most models for French design. His career has also been crowned by many prestigious orders. Joseph-André Motte, in fact, arranged most of the major French airports, and was mandated to remake more than one hundred metro stations (it remains the Motte style with its seats and lights that still equip many stations today), and was often called to collaborate with the National Furniture for the furnishing of the national palaces. He received almost all of the possible rewards for a designer in his day, until he was promoted to the rank of Commander of Arts and Letters. His great capacity for formal invention is often copied.  His sober and daring style is emblematic of the French creation of the twentieth century. His rigor was recognized throughout his career, and he taught in the best schools and ran the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs.

He designed two sets of fixtures for the Pierre Disderot Workshops, one in white glass in a very Japanese spirit, the other in plexiglass sheets folded and stretched between brass rods. They reveal both the great concern for the quality of light dear to these functional creators but also the particular care that Joseph-André Motte has spent all his life in detail, materials and the search for the perfect proportion.

Rewire Selects by Joseph-André Motte