This project is without a doubt a dream come true: to build a Museum in a foreign country! A great challenge, for I had never been in West Africa. It is yet another most pleasant encounter: the country of Benin in Africa, its people and its culture. The Museum is neutral, and I would like to think that it could have been built in another country. The materials used are local. Bronze, stone and ebony from Benin constitute the essential materials used to build the Museum. I am thankful to Bob Vallois and the HED association for having given me such an improbable mission.
It is fortunate that our profession provides opportunities to collaborate with legendary brands. Reza belongs to that bewildering category of firms for whom excellence is the sole leitmotiv. Reza is famous for the rarity and beauty of its gems and its designs. Our work consists in designing spaces that will allow the jewelry to stand out for the visitors. And also in imagining an architecture that tells a story. The luxurious settings we have elaborated have succeeded in accompanying the brand in its ambitious developments throughout the world.
The Biennale des Antiquaires is among the finest antique fairs worlwide. 2012 was marked by the participation of Karl Lagerfeld. He gave me in a nineteen century engraving of a covered market space somewhere in Paris, and wanted the Champ Elysees avenue in the Grand Palais. It was a difficult exercise that resulted in an exceptional scheme. Never were there such immense carpentry works in former Biennales. The challenge was exciting and led to an extraordinary event. On top, even if the construction was difficult indeed, dismantling was even more difficult for we had only 35 hours. Everything was trashed and we miraculously succeeded in the given time.
I have designed the last 8 exhibits at Sarran. I am grateful and thankful to both the President Chirac and his wife Bernadette Chirac for having given me these fantastic opportunities. The region of Correze was a true discovery. Being used to city settings, my frequent trips to the Museum allowed me to encounter culture where I would not have expected it to be. The diversity of the exhibit themes illustrated the desire of the local people to grasp culture in its multiple forms. One short thought on this Museum, designed by renowned French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte: it is a beautiful and functional building.
All along the year, we design stands for galleries in fairs worldwide. This activity allows us to do three things: to literally toy with space, to develop a greater culture of objects and to meet with experts that make sense out of these objects. I am accustomed to say that our task consists in the making of a frame and not the painting. Otherwise the setting is too strong and the objects are not well seen by the visitors. It is the thin line between the design set and the object that will make a space work for an exhibitor.
Charles-Edouard Jeanneret also known as Lecorbusier said once that architecture on paper is as important as built architecture. This project that wasn’t done has a great value to me. I was not told the reasons for not going ahead with it, but I feel that the design has beautiful dimension that I cherish and even more want to share on my website.
I unfortunately don't spend enough time doing design work. It is a shame because I cherish design. I have had in the recent years a close design relationship with Roche Bobois designing furniture. It seems that in the past few years, the design that I still do is done in private houses, galleries and stores. However, I do envision in the nearby future to collaborate with galleries in doing furniture and objects in limited series.
In 2015 I took part to a design competition in London to renovate Vesuvius HQ on Fleet Street and won this ambitious 1000-m2-large project. It was a beautiful design idea completed in less than three months and within the estimated budget. In 2001 I worked for the famous brand Vente Privée in Saint Denis, cumulating 9000 M2. Jacques Antoine Granjon (CEO)'s passion for art allowed us to make a unique place in terms of open space and art exhibit.
The Glenn Gould chair ranks among my favorite projects. It is the collision of two world, design and music. More than 30 years have elapsed since Glenn Gould passed away. He is still among the most appreciated and acclaimed artists. His records still sale. Glenn Gould is so different, he use to describe himself as a man of communication that plays the piano at his spare time. I have never had the opportunity to meet Glenn. This copy of the chair is as close as I’ll ever get to him and the people worldwide that much like me Glenn has enchanted.
As the vice-president of Transoceans, I believe that it is necessary to rehabilitate airships. France is the country in which aviation started and in the challenges that lay ahead of us, France should lead aviation to its ecological pursuit. Transoceans is an association that has undertaken to prove that airships have a definite role in our modern societies. It is about technology, design and ecology. In order to illustrate the performance of airships, Transoceans aims at breaking four world records. More at www.transoceans.fr