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July 7, 2022

A Space-Age Iconic Desk: The Swildens Desk For Peugeot in 1966

In 1966 Ben Swildens in collaboration with Max Ingrand, designed this desk for Peugeot’s relocated headquarters to Avenue de la Grande Armée in Paris. Also assisting with the design were architects Louis, Luc and Thierry Sainsaulieu. Only three desks were produced, by the Croiseau workshop in Paris, and made specifically for Peugeot’s reception assistants.

Dutch designer Swildens, a graduate from the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, had collaborated with Ingrand from 1962 to 1969 on various projects, but none has become as iconic and as memorable as their interiors for Peugeot. It was a minimalist space that came to provide a chic and sophisticated backdrop and to highlight the cars. In recent years, this desk has been reproduced by French furniture company Furdess in a limited edition of 8.

The three desks were thus installed right next to each other in Avenue de la Grande Armée, not far from the Triumphal Arch and Champs Elysées, in the hall of the Peugeot building.

“The effect was phenomenal. The three receptionists stood behind the desks. They had been chosen for their elegance. The three desks were placed on a white Carrara marble floor so that the girls would not feel cold. I integrated heating cords in the seat. There was even a little hook on the back where the assistants could hang their bags. In this way nothing could interrupt the purity of the desks’ line. All we could see was their knees. We had placed the three desks obliquely to enhance the sliding effect of the hall, so that they would catch the public’s attention and give the receptionists some intimacy. All this may seem anecdotic, but it is very important that these desks, although very atypical and exceptional, have always fit for human nature. Nowadays their feminine touch gives them an evident appeal and authenticity.”


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