Andrée Putman (23 December 1925 – 19 January 2013) was a French interior and product designer. Andrée Christine Aynard was born into a wealthy family of bankers and notables from Lyon. Her paternal grandfather, Edouard Aynard, founded the Maynard & Sons Bank; her paternal grandmother, Rose de Montgolfier, was a descendant of the hot-air balloon inventors’ family. Her father was a graduate from the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure who spoke seven languages but swore to a life of austerity and seclusion to protest against his own milieu; her mother, Louise Saint-René Taillandier, was a concert pianist who found comfort in the frivolity of “being a great artist without a stage”.
Andrée grew up in the 6th district of Paris, rue des Grands-Augustins. As a child, she spent most of her summers at the Fontenay Abbey, a magnificent Cistercian structure which used to be the Montgolfier brothers’ workshop. This austere place influences her first aesthetical perceptions: the geometry of the architecture, the views and the perspectives, “the effects of stone and light, the richness and the diversity of non-colours…” These elements find an echo in her future achievements:
“All this made me very wary of awful excesses of anything”.