When Art Conspires With Architecture

Armed with a bold vision and unwavering determination, French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel set his sights, in the late 19th century, on constructing a monumental iron structure in Paris: the eponymous Tour Eiffel. He planned to erect a colossal building at over 300m tall to grace the Champ de Mars. Given the tower’s immense stature, structural integrity was a key concern. Gustave’s team worked tirelessly to devise a meticulous system of trusses and diagonal bracing to ensure stability and resistance to strong winds for the towering edifice.

While installing these supportive elements, a peculiar phenomenon emerged. The Parisian sunlight danced across the intricate lattice, reflecting patterns of light and shadow that seemed to shift and change when viewed from different angles. This shimmering effect caught the attention of young artist Robert Delaunay, who was mesmerized  by the tower’s interplay of lines and shapes. He studied the tower fastidiously, absorbing its every mood, perspective, and light effect from near and far, by day and by night. The ethereal play of light and shadow Delaunay witnessed sparked an artistic fascination with its form. He saw the tower as a living organism, pulsating with vibrance and energy. 

Captivated by the immense latticed structure, Delaunay began to commit the Tour Eiffel to canvas. The more he painted the monumental landmark, the more abstract it became. Deploying a distinctly Cubist style as he deconstructed the tower, he blended bold lines, angles and fragmented forms with dynamic movement to depict its essence. Most Cubist painters of this period tended to depict traditional subjects, but Delaunay found its hard-edged geometric style the perfect vehicle for conveying his visions of Paris and the modern urban experience. The Tour Eiffel Tower became a recurrent motif throughout Delaunay’s career and his exploration of Cubist fragmentation in his Tour Eiffel series serves as testament to the interconnectedness of different forms of creativity. Delaunay was influenced by the Cubist works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, among other avant-garde artists of the early 20th century who founded the movement in response to a rapidly changing modern world. Using cube-like imagery and other geometric forms to replace techniques such as perspective and shading and deploying a simplified colour scheme that created a greater emphasis on the structure and form of the subject, the cubist movement became one of the most ground-breaking styles of the early twentieth century. 

Inspiration often arises from the unlikeliest of sources. It is with that in mind that we are delighted to introduce our latest design, The Pablo. Drawing inspiration from some of the early characteristics of Cubism, this diminutive design is a study in gentle geometric forms, artisanal details and a beautifully simple, earthy colour palette. 

The playful nature of the Pablo is found in its perfect proportions, ideally sized to fit comfortably in the hand or to be worn, with ease across the body. The Pablo's punchy little personality and exquisite quality make it a natural choice for design and art lovers.

Discover here and in our studio on North Parade Avenue, Oxford, England

Art Works:

Top Left:  Robert Delaunay, The Tower (1911)
Top Right:  Robert Delaunay, View over the Eiffel Tower (1910)
Centre: Pablo Picasso, Maisons à Horta (Houses on the Hill, Horta de Ebro), (1909)