The Paganis: On Sculpture, Fashion and Finishes

Frouwkje and Stephane Pagani

Designers and artists Stéphane and Frouwkje Pagani, the creative forces behind PaganiStudio, partnered with Baker in 2009 to create The Pagani Collection.  The striking lighting designs that resulted from this partnership have been called modern sculpture. We asked the Paganis to share with us the inspiration behind these designs — and weren’t surprised to learn how much art, architecture and fashion influenced their lighting collection.

The Pagani Collection

While designing the Pagani Collection for Baker, we approached this project with our signature design philosophy: marrying classic materials with contemporary forms, to achieve an elegant and timeless balance. We carefully chose four noble materials for the collection: Murano Glass, Cast Bronze, French Plaster, and Sculpted Marble.

These four materials are steeped in history. Each is hand-sculpted, hand-blown or hand-cast by artisans whose work is a result of appreciation, sensitivity, and passion. When working with the Baker artisans in Italy, we were very impressed and we knew they understood immediately what we were looking for.

To complement our study of materials, we looked at Parisian 1940s interiors and furniture, men’s and women’s couture fashion, modern jewelry, large scale garden sculptures, the organic shapes of natural pearls, and the elegance of Murano Chandeliers.

Murano ChandelierHand-blown Murano chandeliers have ornamented Renaissance Venetian palazzos for centuries, and we were interested and eager to explore this classic material.

Jewelry InspirationWe wanted to give the hand-blown glass a sculptural, contemporary and fashion-like quality by celebrating the natural shape of pearls and the fine quality and delicate hand of modern jewelry.

1940s Furniture DesignWe were also inspired by 1940s Parisian interiors and the juxtaposition of the delicate scale of 1940s design with its masculine sensibility.

Perla ChandelierThis juxtaposition inspired the design of the Perla Chandelier. Its six sinuous arms flow from a central cast bronze hub and end in large-scale round silk shades.

Henry Moore Bronze SculpturesWe value cast bronze as a monumental medium to work with and large-scale sculptures from Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth were wonderful influences.

Bronze sculpture, artist unknownCast bronze is able to translate textural nuances with exactitude. It takes a beautiful patina and ages with grace, making bronze chic and timeless.

Anneau Table Lamp - Cast BronzeThe cast bronze Anneau Table Lamp translates the design into an exquisite sculptural piece that emphasizes the interaction between volumes and shading variations within the luxurious hand patina of the bronze.

Alberto Giocometti's Head SkullWe especially love when a chiseled angular surface of a sculpture transitions into a smooth and sensuous curved form, as with Alberto Giocometti’s sculpture “Head Skull.”

Brancusi's "Sleeping Muse"We also love how Brancusi, in “Sleeping Muse,” uses this sculptural technique.

Blanc Sculpte Table LampThis wonderful study was of great importance to us while designing the Mode, Anneau and Sculpte fixtures, and the selection of sculpted plaster, cast bronze and marble was evident to translate the beauty of the juxtaposition of forms and textures.

Maeght Foundation Sculpture Garden

While in the South of France, we always make our annual pilgrimage to the Maeght Foundation in Saint Paul de Vence.  It’s a spectacular museum for mid-century sculpture and art. They have a wonderful sculpture garden that has been greatly influential to us and our work. We love to spend an afternoon walking through the pine trees, past meandering stone walls, around the water fountains; listening to the cicadas and enjoying the sunlight and shadows that celebrate the beautiful sculptures and interact with the modern architecture.

Men's FashionFor the design concept of Linea fixtures, we were inspired by men’s fashion, and specifically, the clean lines of a tailored Burberry men’s suit. We were inspired by their choice of exquisite fabric, elegant form and impeccable execution.

Linea SconceThe tailored and linear forms of the Linea fixtures have that classic simplicity.

ParisWhile spending time in Paris, and in one Parisian apartment in particular, we were inspired by the beautiful plaster moldings.

Parisian ApartmentThe natural light during the day would change the appearance of the white plaster, from an ethereal bluish tone, to a warm, sun-filled hue.

Linea LampThis subtle nuance of the play of shadows is found in the Anneau and Linea Lamps.

Spoon Woman

The simplicity and noble quality of the material, combined with its flexibility, demanded further exploration. French white plaster also lends itself to creating an ethereal sculpted silhouette, as with Diego Giocometti’s plaster sculpture, “Spoon Woman.” Giocometti focuses on the pure shape and form. We love how the angular head piece transitions into a full bodice. The beauty of its sculptural possibilities in conjunction with its purity, offered an exciting prospect.

During this design process, we also looked at flowing layers of fabric in couture dresses, wrapping around the body, creating negative and positive space, revealing and hiding the natural curves as they transform the body into a sculptural form.

Stone WallsTo explore the abilities of French plaster even further, we were eager to develop a custom hand patina finish that added warmth and was textural. We spend a lot of time in the South of France, and when we were in Italy, working with the Baker artisans, we described to them that we wanted to create a custom finish, evoking the rich texture of ancient French stonewalls, when the bright sun shines upon the stones, creating a warm glow and capturing the textural beauty of the Mediterranean landscape.

Anneau ChandelierAfter a passionate exchange, we felt that the father and son team understood what we were describing and the next morning, they had created the perfect custom finish (shown on the Anneau Chandelier, above).

We were impressed and very pleased.

Visit our website to explore the extraordinary table lamps, floor lamps, sconces and chandeliers of The Pagani Collection.

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One Response to The Paganis: On Sculpture, Fashion and Finishes

  1. Crystal Lee Jordan says:

    Absolutely beautiful and stunning results. Modern classics!

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