The Osaka – Futurism and Pierre Paulin

Designers of the 60s and 70s sought to move away from traditional seating and dwelling orders, and to reinvent living environments, seating landscapes, and integrated pieces that would challenge the way people have lived for centuries. Among those revolutionaries were Verner Panton, Joe Colombo, and Ettore Sottsass. Pierre Paulin was no different, and he did it in his own and personal chic, bright, cheerful, futuristic approach. In his rich oeuvre, there is one piece, which I have always found magical, the Osaka, now being reproduced by La Cividina and Paulin, Paulin, Paulin®, a family business that circulates, develops and preserves his works. In 1967, the French star designer, who invented his iconic modular seating system for Mobilier National, was commissioned with Osaka, named after Expo 70, the Osaka World Exposition in Japan where it was first exhibited (below). A world fair dedicated to ‘Progress and Harmony for Mankind,” it took place during the height of the Space Age, and informed futurism. The French pavilion, where the Osaka was on display, was designed as four giant shiny white plastic geodesic domes, an engineering marvel, capturing the futuristic allure of its time (seen below night view). Its complex structure is demonstrated in the video below, produced by La Cividina, and demonstrating Paulin’s revolution.

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