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Visionary architect, curator, and big wave surfer Francois Perrin

posted by Chrysanthe Tenentes   Apr 03, 2019

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Architect, curator, surfer, knight of the French government, partner, father, son, brother, and dear friend to many, Francois Perrin died on Monday in Ventura County, close to a favorite wave. He was from Paris but had been in Los Angeles for decades so was simultaneously both French and Californian. I really have no words sufficient for this so will let Alissa Walker’s tribute on Curbed LA stand. It deserves a full read but I’ve included some excerpts and quotes below.

‘He was a center of gravity’: Architect Francois Perrin dies at 50

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On a breezy April evening in 2013, hundreds of partygoers were shuttled up Benedict Canyon to the Sheats-Goldstein Residence. The iconic Los Angeles home designed by John Lautner was familiar to every guest, but on that night, it would appear utterly transformed.

Tucked into the house’s concrete corners were a half-dozen site-specific pieces by French artist Xavier Veilhan, one of which was a surprise musical performance with Nicolas Godin, of the French electronic band Air. Guests sipped cocktails on a deck laced with nylon cording that knit the triangular roofline to the legendary pool. In the cantilevered window of the master bedroom, a facet-cut emerald sculpture of Lautner gazed out at the city below.

It was another ambitious installation from Francois Perrin, the type that LA’s design community had come to expect from the architect and curator who defied boundaries in his field and connected artists and designers across a wide orbit.

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“He managed to create this really remarkable web of people and ideas and projects,” says LA architect Frank Escher. “It drew not just on his encyclopedic knowledge of recent architecture and art history, it also drew on on his ability to connect with people. That’s the thing that made him so interesting, the ease with which he built bridges and drew connections and made introductions. He was a center of gravity.”

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Perrin’s concept-driven architecture made a splash, like the Skatehouse he designed for the owner of a skateboard shoe company in 2011. Although the home, which was supposed to be built in Malibu, was never realized, a full-scale model where every surface is skateable was produced, including curved ramp-like walls and a built-in headboard above the bed for grinding.

Goodbye friend. We’ll remember you, your expansive ideas, and your navy.