Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann

Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann's furniture and interior designs were sleek, sexy and incredibly luxurious, and they define him as the interior designer most representative of the Art Deco style.

Ruhlmann was born on August 28, 1879 in Paris and initially showed no interest in the family building and decorating business - he was more interested in painting at the time.  However, when his father died in 1907 and Émile-Jacques inherited the family firm, he took over with much enthusiasm and passion.  He added a huge furniture workshop and began designing incredibly glamorous furniture pieces and interiors.

He is most famous for his hand-made cabinets made of exotic and expensive materials like Macassar ebony, Amboyna wood, ivory and mahogany.  Besides cabinets, he also designed "dining tables, chairs, beds, desks, secretaries, mirrors and upholstered armchairs." (Avery, 2004)

A superb and rare vanity by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, circa 1925.  Image source: Sotheby's

His pieces were the creme-de-la-creme of lavish design.  His famous 'Sun' bed exhibits the essence of Art Deco style - elegance, sophistication and modernism.  But besides furniture, "he also designed silks, carpets, textiles and lighting" (Avery, 2004) and painted elaborate interiors which he used to showcase his exquisite designs to his upper-class clients.

Art Deco "Sun Bed" by Ruhlmann.  Image courtesy: Ruhlmann.info

His L'Hotel d'un Collectionneur was the most talked about exhibit at the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, and earned him the reputation of the world's premier Art Deco furniture designer. 

Ruhlmann's Grand Salon exhibit at the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes

To learn more about Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and see some rare photos of his work, you must visit: Ruhlmann.info - fantastic site!

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