Jean Royère France, 1902-1981
Jean Royère (b. 1902, Paris, France; d. 1981, Pennsylvania) was a French designer known for his playful, whimsical furniture creations. In 1931, with no formal education in design, Royère left the import-export trade to become an apprentice at Faubourg Saint-Antoine, a cabinetmaking workshop in Paris. After only a few years in the industry, Royère won a competition to design the Brasserie Carlton on the Champs-Élysées, which catapulted the designer’s career. It was through this competition that Royère was discovered by the established French furniture designer Pierre Gouffé, who hired Royère to create and run the contemporary line for his workshop. In the following years, Royère exhibited his groundbreaking designs at several major shows including the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Décorateurs. Royère quickly expanded his design work to include an international audience; the designer operated several showrooms in Middle Eastern and South American cities including Beirut, Tehran, Lima and São Paulo. There, Royère worked on several large-scale projects for royalty and government officials. Royère utilized uncommon materials for his designs such as metal tubing, Bakelite (the first plastic made from synthetic components), raffia, rattan, ponyskin, and zebrawood. While his style was largely decorative in the beginning, the designer developed a minimalist aesthetic in the later stages of his career. Royère produced his biomorphic and sleek designs on a small scale, making his work both rare and highly prized within the market of interior design. His work has been collected by such notable figures as Jennifer Anniston and Kanye West and is held in important museums including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.