Renan de la Godelinais was born in Fougères on January 25, 1908. After studying at the School of Fine Arts in Rennes, he became a student and collaborator of Ruhlmann in Paris. After Ruhlmann's death, he continued to work with his nephew Porteneuve. He personally executed works for the Ministries of Finance and National Economy, as well as for the Press Pavilion and the Brittany Pavilion at the 1937 Exhibition.
In 1938, he joined Michelin as a decorator and studied the equipment for high-speed pneumatic trains until the outbreak of the war. After being demobilized, he became a collaborator of his father-in-law, A. Boutillier du Retail, a curator at the National Library and Director of the Documentation Center.
In 1942, he was assigned a mission at the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. He then fully devoted himself to his career as a decorator, creating collective installations and designing numerous furniture and objects in wood, metal, and rattan intended for mass production.
In 1950, he co-founded the "Centre de Documentation de l'Habitation" at the Louvre and the Museum of Decorative Arts, along with R. Herbst, Ch. Perriand, and André Hermant. While continuing his activities as a decorator, since 1951 he has held the positions of Artistic Advisor and Model Creator at Etablissements Fontaine. Renan de la Godelinais is a member of the Society of Decorative Artists, the Board of Directors of the U.A.M., Formes Utiles, the Board of Administration of the U.A.D.C.E., the Autumn Salon, and the Institute of Industrial Aesthetics. He participates in their events and all decorative art and home equipment exhibitions organized in France and abroad.
He has received Honorary Diplomas, Medals, and prizes for his work. Despite their diversity, Renan de la Godelinais' activities exhibit a remarkable unity. As a decorator and industrial stylist, ethnographer, and documentalist, he brings a traditionalist spirit to all his work, paradoxical as it may seem. Through his heritage and cultural knowledge, he understands and appreciates the art and ways of life from both the past and the present. He has set himself the task of establishing a connection between our era and the past.
The "useful forms" for which he advocates in all areas have always existed. Throughout history, there have been "functional" useful forms among everyday objects, even before the term was coined, executed manually by artisans who were well aware of the inherent problems of domestic life.
These problems still exist today, but industrial solutions must be found for them, using new materials that are affordable. His ethnographic research on traditional furniture has prepared him for this renewal, as well as his work at the Documentation Center of the National Library, where he has become familiar with methods that he applies at the Documentation Center of the Habitation.
This center aims to provide architects, decorators, and all specialists in Reconstruction and its equipment with professional and technical information necessary for their work in an easy and fast manner. As an opponent of pastiche or copying, Renan de la Godelinais wishes for decorators to break free from foreign influences and strive to create resolutely modern furniture with a French spirit, as some have already achieved.
Sources : Mobilier et Decoration N° 9 Decembre 1955