Pierre Paulin was born in 1927 in Paris. He grew up in the working-class city of Laon.
It was certainly his great-uncle, the Swiss sculptor Fredy Balthazar Stoll, as well as his uncle Georges Paulin, an automobile designer and inventor of the retractable car roof, who sparked his interest in art.
In 1945, he entered the Camondo School, where he obtained his diploma three years later. His talent was noticed by one of his teachers, the decorator Maxime Old. The latter advised him to work in the workshop of Marcel Gascoin, one of the creators of U.M.A. (Union of Modern Artists), along with Pierre Guariche and Michel Mortier; Paulin discovered Scandinavian design there.
After a trip in Sweden, he exhibited several of his self-published creations that did not go unnoticed at the Paris “Salon des Arts Ménagers” in 1953. That same year, he collaborated on a series of furniture for Thonet France, a publisher with whom he would work for over twenty years. At the end of the 1950s, he also became one of the privileged collaborators of the Dutch company Artifort, for which he designed seats equipped with Pirelli foam covered with a removable elastic fabric cover, often in bright colors, such as the “Mushroom” armchairs in 1960, “Ribbon” in 1966, and “Tongue” in 1967.
In 1967, Jean Coural, administrator of the “Mobilier national” , recommended Pierre Paulin for the furniture design of the Louvre and introduced him to President Georges Pompidou and his wife. Four years later, Paulin redesigned the private apartments of the Élysée Palace at the request of the Pompidou couple. This marked an important step in the recognition of his work.
In 1975, Pierre Paulin founded the ADSA agency with his wife Maia Paulin and Marc Lebailly. He redesigned the Mediterranean hall of the Lyon train station for the SNCF, as well as the first-class waiting rooms of the Concorde for Air France. He also created mass-produced objects for various brands including Tefal/Caldor, Thomson, and Bosch. In 1987, he received the National Grand Prize for Industrial Design.
The works of Pierre Paulin are part of the collections of the MoMA in New York, the Centre Georges-Pompidou and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, as well as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
He passed away in Montpellier on June 13, 2009.
Interview with Pierre Paulin - Maison et Objet 2008