An influential Parisian furniture and interior designer, Jean-Michel Frank took the design world by storm with his minimalist aesthetic, clean lines and neutral color palette, a reign that started in the ’20s and lasted until his death in 1941. Included in his impressive portfolio is the design work he did for the Villa Noailles in France and Nelson Rockefeller’s Fifth Avenue penthouse in New York.
“I love his style because the pieces he designed were sleekly sophisticated yet elegantly simple,” says Kansas City interior designer Jan Kyle. “Their descendants mix well with edited pieces of other eras, lending the collected-over-time ambience I like to create in my own work.”
Modern design, with its bold furniture pieces covered in luxurious fabrics and paired together to create a room’s identity, makes a powerful design statement. With midcentury-modern style the preferred aesthetic these days, you’ll find his style—such as the track arm sofa from his original design, as well as the X-based desk and Parson’s table—taking over showrooms.
“These pieces are popular because they resonate with other iconic pieces and lend a clean, modern aesthetic to a room, ” Kyle says.
Though his designs were simple, they didn’t lack style. He punched them up with lacquer, bleached leather, shagreen, straw marquetry, gypsum, quartz and vellum-sheathed walls, and incorporated design works of art from those he admired.
Sharing in his love for less, esteemed designers like Andree Putman and Jacques Grange have designed contemporary pieces and places inspired by Frank’s work. In France, it’s called “le style Frank.”