The exhibition

The exhibition

Esplanade des Invalides|

Esplanade des Invalides 
‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’, Paris 1925
Copyright: RIBA Library Photographs Collection

“Works admitted to the Exposition must show new inspiration and real originality. They must be executed and presented by artisans, artists and manufacturers who have created the models, and by editors, whose work belongs to modern decorative and industrial art. Reproductions, imitations and counterfeits of ancient styles will be strictly prohibited.”

The Information Handbook of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, 1925

The ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ opened in Paris on the 28 April 1925. The planning had started as early as 1909, but the outbreak of the First World War, as well as a number of other factors, contributed to the postponing of the exhibition. The site chosen, in the heart of Paris, was the same used for the 1900's ‘Exposition Universelle’. The general layout, designed by the architect Charles Plumet, developed along two main axes at right angles to each other: the main one running from the Grand Palais on the Right Bank, across the Pont Alexandre III to the Esplanade des Invalides on the Left Bank; the other one along the two banks of the Seine.

In spite of the 'international' character of the exposition, two-thirds of the total site were occupied by French exhibits. The exhibition had indeed been conceived as a showcase for French luxury goods and with the purpose of reaffirming their superiority over foreign competition. Unlike previous international fairs, the emphasis was not on industrial and technological advancements, but rather on the role that the decorative arts industries could play in providing a 'shop window' for French goods on the international marketplace. At the same time the exhibition also provided a showcase for the city of Paris itself. The general plan made use of existing vistas in order to 'draw' the city into the exhibition and emphasise its beauty and grandeur.

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