Look Twice at Jaime Hayon’s Bardot Collection

According to Bernhardt Design president Jerry Helling, Jaime Hayon's new Bardot Collection of soft seating inspires conflicting emotions: "Initially I thought I understood the design and now I'm not as sure. Some days I think it is baroque or classical and others I see it as pop or modern, so the only thing I'm sure of is that it's good." If some of the qualities that make a piece "good" include eclecticism, versatility, and an enduring duality, than Bardot clearly fits the bill.

Bardot Collection. Designed by Jamie Hayon.

The ensemble of 87" sofas, 72" loveseats, and spacious chairs all seem plush and commodious at first look, yet at a second glance they each appear long and slim with a most gracious silhouette. Perhaps some of these contrasting qualities are owed to the textural interplay between seats and backs-the one plump and pouty like a certain iconic actress' lips, the other sleek and sultry like long legs and curvaceous calves.

Look Twice at Jaime Hayon’s Bardot Collection

Look Twice at Jaime Hayon’s Bardot Collection

Look Twice at Jaime Hayon’s Bardot Collection

Look Twice at Jaime Hayon’s Bardot Collection

Hayon chose as the namesake for his new collection none other than famed French actress Brigitte Bardot, whose 50s and 60s heyday made her a contemporary of Marilyn Monroe. The two women pretty much defined popular culture's notions of female sexuality during those decades, so the Bardot Collection comes laden with all of that alluring baggage. The individual pieces are certainly sexy. They remind me of iconic feminine curvature in much the same way that Jean Marie Massaud's Aspen Sofa does (the signature cherry red doesn't hurt either). But Hayon's choice of a name is also intriguingly problematic. The former actress-now approaching her 76th birthday-is a multi-dimensional and controversial figure, whose various interests and activities defy the familiar formula for stardom. In addition to acting, she has been and/or continues to be a ballet dancer, a pop star, a writer, a fashionista, and an active and outspoken animal rights activist. And she's been accused of race baiting-the French government has censured her multiple times for her inflammatory comments.

All this doesn't speak specifically to Hayon's fine design, but it does inform the collection's penchant for multiple personas. Hayon's take on Bardot would seem to be that outright sex appeal is a window into a complicated inner life, the inner life in this case being Bardot's spring support, high density foam, and fiber fill. And the finish upholstery comes in multiple flavors beyond my favorite cherry red: Bernhardt offers Bardot in a wide array of colors in commercial grade knits, existing Bernhardt textiles, or the customer's own material.

Via Contemporist.

Posted August 16, 2010 by Joseph Starr

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