Best-Laid Plans

Louis Vuitton realizes a modernist masterpiece in Miami.

Pierre Paulin's La Maquette

The late modernist designer Pierre Paulin’s greatest achievement was arguably the interiors at the Elysée Palace he created for Georges Pompidou in the ’70s, when Pompidou was the president of France. Asked not to disturb the Napoleon III–era boiserie, Paulin carved out a smoking room, a dining room, a library, and two salons using freestanding curved walls of fabric stretched across steel frames. In terms of sheer ingenuity, this project may have been matched only by a residence Paulin conceived for the Herman Miller furniture company in 1972. La Maquette, as it was called, was a six-part blueprint for futuristic modular living— an interchangeable, endlessly variable environment defined by Paulin’s innovative seating, shelving, and walls. The plans are being realized for the first time by Louis Vuitton, in an installation that will run December 2 through December 7 in the Miami Design District. As Paulin once remarked, “My favorite design is the one to come.”