Fascinated by life’s encounters, inspired by opposing forces and enthusiastic about using colour and light, French industrial designer, Matali Crasset, goes about sculpting life. She adds dual functionality and beauty into her work which are as diverse as architecture for hotels and primary schools, jewellery and furniture!
Text By Deepanjolie Sonya Figg
Her self-description reads: “I am an industrial designer. I look upon this trade through projects I take on, like a mid-wife who helps give birth.”
Her design work is less a matter of handling aesthetic form and more about being able to bring out, collaborate, organise and give good intention and common values to creating links and networks in society.
She revels in taking the contradictory creator’s approach to life: “I take a lot of pleasure in confronting opposing forces and working from them,” she says.
She is the inimitable Matali Crasset!
Matali skillfully pours her heart into projects as varied as the Maison des Petits in Paris to the Maison Sylvestres pour le Vent des Forêts in Fresnes (Mount in the Meuse), a school called ‘Le Blé en Herbe’ at Trebedan (Bretagne) working with the Foundation of France and the Dar’hi at Nefta in Tunisia, in addition to Cédric Casanova and his Sicilian olive oils (Belleville).
Matali likes to use colour as a friend, explaining, “In Europe one is afraid of colour; colour is forbidden. But, to remove colour is like stopping life, because it is a bigger, more universal language than form. To interpret form requires understanding, but colour gives instinctive interaction without any filters.”
She also loves blending drama, utility and modernity into her designs, like the multi-purpose Double Side (DS). Available in blue, orange, green and beige, this versatile seat can be transformed intuitively into a workstation suited for writing, using a computer, eating or playing, as the back flips open to operate as a small plane.
This new typology of products challenges the notions of traditional living and purposes and Matali explains its purpose: “An object isn’t generous enough if it has just a single function.” This is the reason why she designed DS beyond the archetype of the seat, making it positive, warm and familiar with the use of natural materials like wood and felt, and of course color.
Thus, DS presents an open solution that is ideal for public spaces (waiting rooms, relaxations centers or informal meeting places), semi-private ones (interiors of offices and halls) and totally private ones (studies and bedrooms).
Aware of Matali’s vibrant and unique view to living and designing with a passion, Le Buisson, the famous Parisian design house, approached her to expand on a contemporary concept for their 2011 Jewellery Collection. Matali designed three types of pendants for Le Buisson fusing energy and movement.
The Mobilité series thus features futuristic figurines, encased in white gold, which are fitted with an enamel-peaked helmet that moves with the energy of the stone set in it. This becomes the diver’s bottle of gas, a bicycle wheel, or a wheelbarrow in a sort of homage to Duchamp’s Roue de bicyclette, as the Mobilité pendants invite wearers to play with the mobile stone.
The Equaliseur and Torche series play somewhat on light effects, namely, electric light treated with subtle irony. As Matali reveals, “I also like to work with light, which is difficult but the result is magical. Light has its own logic that is necessary to understand if one wants to harness it. It subtly demands a great intervention in order to attain simplicity.”
Thus, an enigmatic radiance wraps this unique pendant design created by Matali Crasset in tandem with Le Buisson for patrons of joyful pieces of jewellery that is fun to wear and perfectly finished.
Admitting an affinity with designer Bruno Munari, whom she finds may have created “too few objects to be considered as a designer, yet too much to be simply an artist” and who she is enamored with for his work with children, Matali expresses a surprising lack of pursuing a dream in the design world. “I have no dream project. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would create a hotel in the south of the Tunisian desert.”
Excited about her current works: two hotel projects, one in the South of France and another in collaboration with a NGO to perpetuate education in Senegal and a tentative one for a primary school in Brittany, Matali continues on her quest – to make objects that do not remain in their initial state.
This is why the form is not the centre of her work – and Matali won’t have it any other way, either!