Inheriting an extensive body of work over four decades from the late design dignitary Andrée Putman, Olivia Putman says her mother’s humanity has shaped her own world views
When designer Andrée Putman died early last year, her extraordinary legacy was assured of living on through her daughter Olivia, who, as artistic director, inherited Studio Putman from her mother. A member of the judges panel for Perspective’s A&D Trophy Awards 2014, Olivia Putman was in Hong Kong recently for the opening of Ambassador of Style, an exhibition of Andrée Putman’s lifetime achievements.
Organised by Le French May, the exhibition is currently at the revitalised Police Married Quarters (PMQ) in Soho, paying tribute to Andrée Putman, whose spirit and design ethos has been described as art de vivre (the art of living). “Listening to people and working for people are key to my work, a commitment I inherited from my mother,” says Olivia, who has led Studio Putman since 2007 in the capacity of artistic director.
Dubbed the La Reine du damier (‘Queen of the Checkerboard’), Andrée Putman’s signature monochrome graphics at the Morgans Hotel, New York, features in the Hong Kong exhibition — reinterpreted in a shopping mall setting. “Can you imagine a bathroom in the middle of Landmark?” asks Olivia, clearly tickled by the idea. “It’s very funny for me to imagine people passing by in the morning and seeing this bathroom on their way to the office. We gain a lot of pleasure associated with how people feel. A sense of humour is very important to me, and was to my mother as well.”