Contemporary thrones

Seats like thrones are the protagonists of the exhibition of Downtown + in Paris, in the setting of the Hôtel de Guise

Trônes by Downtown + - Photo © Michael Brunn
Trônes by Downtown + - Photo © Michael Brunn

Seated in an armchair at home, everyone can have the sensation of casting their gaze across the whole living area, in a special, separated, even lofty position. The armchair as a functional island, or perhaps a domestic throne. This seems to be the idea behind the exhibition “Thrones” by Downtown +, a project created by Laffanour / Galerie Downtown and Luna Laffanour. An artistic blitz, lasting just four days – from 31 May to 3 June – ready to rapidly offer stimuli for thinking about this central object for both history and design, with multiple and mutable meanings, depending on the context.

With the exhibition “Thrones,” Downtown + puts the spotlight on a wide variety of seats, with their different sculptural forms, their multiple identity and character, bringing together pieces from the gallery’s collection and works by contemporary talents. Retracing modernity from the 1950s to the present, the show investigates the notion of the throne, its overtones from the majestic to the functional, the sacred to the utilitarian.

Chairs by Charlotte Perriand are matched with others by Ishigami; the creations of Leo Orta establish dialogue with items by Fouillen and Ellen Pong, while the seats of Aleksandr Delev make room for a sofa by Hoi Chan Kwok. The furnishings are accompanied by a series of paintings by New York-based artist Tim Wilson.

The exhibition accentuates the sacred aura of these pieces, but the location in the spaces of the Hôtel de Guise (an abandoned facility at 72 Rue de l’Université) raises questions and contradictions: are they useful objects or works of art? This is the question the curator Romain Bitton seems to be asking the visitors. 

“Thrones” is the first exhibition of Downtown +, but over the years Laffanour / Galerie Downtown has become associated with the work of modern architects of the 20th century, gaining international renown for its exhibitions on Prouvé, Perriand and Jeanneret. 

Photo © Michael Brunn