She designed the palace of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as well as numerous villas.
1937 was the year Maria Pergay fled her native Moldavia and headed to Paris. In 1947, she enrolled in the filmmaking programme at the Insitut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques (IDHEC), all the while frequenting Zadkine’s studio. In the mid 1950s, once married to Marc Pergay, one of her friends gave her the opportunity to create window dressing items for Durer’s shoe store. Her installation of large wrought iron birds in the store’s windows was a huge hit with the public and with professionals. And it launched her career. New orders started rolling in. The likes of Dior, Hugonet, and Hermès commissioned original wrought iron pieces set with semi-precious gems and seashells for their window displays.
Her string of successes in this middle of the century allowed her to open her own shop in the heart of Paris. There, in the Marais quarter, right on the Place des Vosges, her modern creations stood in stark contrast to neighbouring antique shops’ rich pieces, and the refined Asian art of dealers on the square. She introduced a unique collection of silver objects. This was about the time that she met Dali and began collaborating with him on Le Mythe du Papillon et du Feu. Deploying her talents, she proved that rather than battling the past, one can forge an alliance between the modern and the antique. In questioning ancient myths, she remains formally anchored in her present.
Ever keen to be on the cutting edge of innovation, it was in the mid 60s that she opted for stainless steel. This new material became a source of inspiration for her. She called it “as precious as the most precious of woods”. Her first collection in steel featured the Ring Chair and the Wave Bench. Then, in 1968, she exhibited her collection at the Galerie Maison Jardin, run by none other than famed decorator Jean Dive.
Stainless steel remains her hallmark material today. She worked with it all through the 70s, a period when Pierre Cardin was her leading patron. From that point on, she began exporting her work to the USA, to Morocco, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. She designed the palace of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as well as numerous villas.
Throughout her career, Maria Pergay has created furniture, decorative items, and whole interiors, all with a knack for combining luxury, refinement, and dreamlike atmospheres. Pergay softens stainless steel’s otherwise uncompromising lines and turns out graceful, sensuous pieces of furniture that invite our touch and admiration.
Stainless steel coffee table with two slot-in stools
H. 47 x D. 100 cm
H. 18 ½ x D. 39 ½ in.