Pierre Chareau VR

Artist’s name: Pierre Chareau

Bio on Artist: Chareau was from Bordeaux and grew to become a renowned designer in France. He created custom furniture and interiors for esteemed clientele, such as leaders of French-Jewish intellectualism. In his work, Chareau countered the opulence of traditional French decorative arts with interior designs that were functional, aesthetically pleasing, and resonated well with the demands of modern life. He often used rare woods and sometimes used exotic materials to create slick profiles and moveable parts.

Name of Artwork: Maison de Verre, 1932

Describe Artwork: Maison de Verre is French for “House of Glass”. The house was built from 1928 to 1932 in Paris, France. Chareau constructed the house in an early modern style of architecture, so he emphasizes three traits in his design: variable transparency of forms, honesty of materials, and juxtaposition of industrial materials and fixtures with a traditional style of home decoration. Chareau primarily used steel, glass, and glass blocks to construct the house. He also used industrial materials such as rubberized floor tiles, bare steel beams, perforated metal sheet, heavy industrial light fixtures, and mechanical fixtures. At the Jewish Museum VR exhibit, it was a VR demo of a room Chareau designed with actual furniture from the room on display.

Opinion of Artwork: I think that the VR exhibit did a marvelous job at examining Chareau’s work with fine detail. The level of quality in the VR construction of the room was impressive, as it captured essential details to the experience of the room quite seamlessly. I was most struck by the way light danced in the room, and how the VR demo accomplished such a realistic effect at creating a dawn-like tonality in the room. The shadows that were cast and the furniture’s response to the light flooding in from the windows were a particular set of details that managed to convince me of the demo’s accuracy of Chareau’s room. It was undoubtedly the clearest VR experience I’ve had thus far. The actual furniture surrounding you when you removed the VR headset was also a pleasant element to the display. The curator’s decision to orient the furniture around the user in such a manner as to replicate the actual room gave the furniture a historicity that I found compelling.

The Jewish Museum talks more about Chareau’s work on display here.

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