LUXURYCULTURE.COM - Thoroughly Modern Matali


She has been called the new Philippe Starck. Learn what is so uncommonly captivating about French designer Matali Crasset.

Matali Crasset's designs refuse pure shape and dull color. Learn how this rising star is tackling the topography of everyday life one addictive design at a time.

At 40, French designer Matali Crasset keeps one creative foot permanently planted in the playful, colorful and inventive world of childhood. Former student and collaborator of Philippe Stark, Paris-based Crasset branched out on her own in 1998 and earned quick recognition for her experimental playground of flexible, hospitable and modular forms. Objects with real-life narratives appear frequently in her work: one of her early designs named 'When Jim comes to Paris,' is a space-friendly felt-and-foam column that doubles as a rollout bed for visiting friends. Fluent in a wide range of domains including industrial, graphic and set design, Crasset rolled them all into one at the HI Hotel in Nice, the internationally-acclaimed poly-sensorial vacation destination that opened in 2003. Her latest project, a new commercial platform in Paris called Lieu Commun, is one of her most personal to date. Though the boutique means "common ground" in French, its collective concept is far from typical — sharing the space with long-time friends fashion designer Ron Orb and Eric Morand from the techno label F Communications, Lieu Commun gives fans direct access to all aspects of their individual and collaborative creations and promotes the concept of democratic joint endeavors.

Matali Crasset
26, Rue du Buisson St Louis
75010 Paris
+ 33 1 42 40 99 89

3 avenue des fleurs
06000 Nice.
+33 (0) 4 97 07 26 26

What is your definition of luxury?
Luxury is to take your time.

If luxury were an object what would it be?
An hourglass since everything is a question of time

If luxury were a moment when would it be?
At a dinner with close friends—a daily luxury.

If luxury were a place, where would it be?
A bush, it's where I live.

What are you working on right now?
The interior renovation of a 17th century palazzo in Padova, Italy.
The design of a knife with Pierre Hermé for Laguiole.
A collection for Guy Degrenne.
A dog salon in Nice.
The restaurant Vert Anis in Annecy
The SM's Museum of Contemporary and Decorative Arts in s'Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands
I'm also preparing for a solo exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design in New York next summer.


Where do you most like to travel?
I mix work with pleasure. In general I go to far away countries. I am quite excited and enthusiastic to see Brazil in November.

What does your ideal suitcase contain?
Very little, some clothes, a few books, an iPod, a cultural guide of the place...and my little family.

What are your travel routines?
My luxury during my vacations is to take the time to go see shows and think. I wake up early, before everyone else and I think. The fact of being away allows me some real distance, a real reevaluation.

What is your favorite destination?
Definitely the seaside. I also like to travel to "extreme" cities like Rio and Stockholm. And London.

Places in London

What do you bring back from your travels?
Coloring books for my children. The colors and the graphic look are in general very different in each country. They vividly represent local identity.

What is your favorite hotel?
The Bleibtreu Hotel
On the principal in West Berlin, on the "Kurdam," Don't look for an interior designed by a star, or any famous people in the lobby.

The Bleibtreu Hotel
Bleibtreu Strasse 31
10707 Berlin
+49 (30) 884 740

What are your favorite restaurants?
Alain Alexanian is one of the most eminent representatives of Lyon gastronomy. His cooking is inventive, with strong references to Armenian cuisine. Not to miss: The duck from Callans in lime. In winter, the "game" menu, which features the very special Scottish red grouse.

83 Rue Moncey
69003 Lyon
+33 4 72 61 15 69

La Fruitière
On the Bellevarde massif.

La Fruitière
La Daille
73 150 Val d'Isere
+33 (0) 4 79 06 07 17

What is the best place to shop for furniture?
One of the greatest collections of 1970s furniture, lamps and accessories with an excellent selection of designs from the 50s to the 90s all in a gigantic showroom. Unique pieces, often signed by Mies Van der Rohe, Isamo Noguchi, Pierre Paulin, Roger Tallon, etc, or anonymous designers with styles true to their period. You can also buy or lease for special occasions.

78 Rue de la Fraternité
+33 1 48 18 08 88

What is the best place to shop for fashion?
Grosse Brinkgasse
9 D-50672 KÖLN
+49 221 946 11 72

What are some of the places that inspire you most?
The Grand-Hornu
It a really magical place that I discovered when I was invited to an exhibition. It's an old abandoned industrial site in the province of Hainaut in Belgium where coal mining has died out, which is something you can see in the streets and on the facades. Not to be missed: an ellipsoidal court surrounded by arcades. It is here that the shadows of men and machines cross each other. Declared an historical site in the Walloon region, the Grand-Hornu has many ruins next to a contemporary art center (the MAC's) that was designed by Pierre Hebbelinck. The space leads you into a relationship with time that is essential for dialogue.

The Grand Hornu
82, rue ste louise
7301 Hornu

The Jardin des Buttes-Chaumont
Because of the calm of its nooks and crannies, and the suspended bridge.

What are you reading right now?
A book on anthropology, a science book, serious stuff, and then some lighter reading. The last book by Bruce Benderson "Autobiographie érotique", "Electrochoc", the book written by Laurent Garnier and David Brun-Lambert, and Valérie Mréjen's, "eau sauvage."

What music do you travel with?
Jori Hullkonen, Dualizsm (F Communication)
Snooze, America (Ostinanto).
Visa Le Vie, A Futuristic Family Film (F Communications)


My Favorite Neighborhood Addresses:
Du Pain et des Idées – EN ATTENTE
Let's not be afraid to say it, it's the best bakery in town.

Du Pain et des Idées
34 Rue Yves Toudic
75010 Paris
+33 1 42 40 44 52

Le Verre Volé
Because of its natural wines and marvelous Côtes de Rhône.

Le Verre Volé
67 Rue de Lancry
75010 Paris
+33 1 48 03 17 34

For the Italian cold cuts and cheeses
108 Rue Saint Maur
75011 Paris

Fromagers de France
The best cheese store I know.
Fromagers de France
39 Rue Bretagne
75003 Paris
+33 1 42 78 52 61

Boucherie de la République
For its exceptional beef from Coutancie and lamb from the Limousin
Boucherie de la République
3 Rue Beaurepaire
75010 Paris
+33 1 42 08 33 47

La Bague de Kenza
For sweet delicacies
La Bague de Kenza
106 Rue Saint Maur
75011 Paris
+33 1 43 14 93 15

My Favorite Restaurants and Bars:
Tokyo Eat
With an interior by Stéphane Maupin, and a chef, Thierry Bassard, that delights with artichoke carpaccio, and creamy vegetable risotto. On a lovely terrace on the esplanade between the two wings of the museum with a very "Festival d'Avignon" feel.

Tokyo Eat, Palais de Tokyo restaurant
2 rue Manutention
75016 Paris
+33 1 47 20 00 29

Le Café Chéri
For the mafé and chorba, as well as the electronic, jazz and rock music nights that they host with open turntables on which anyone can play.

Le Café Chéri
44 Boulevard de la Villette
75019 Paris
+33 1 42 02 02 05

My Favorite Shopping Address:
Lieu Commun
It's the space that I created with Ron Orb and F Communications. Now we only have to convince Ron Orb to start designing women's clothes too!

Lieu Commun
5 rue des Filles de Calvaire
75003 Paris
+33 1 44 54 08 30

Maison Martin Margiela
Martin Margiela (Men)
23 rue Montpensier
75001 Paris
+33 1 40 15 06 44
Martin Margiela (Women)
23bis rue Montpensier
75001 Paris
+33 1 40 15 07 55
My Favorite Addresses for Culture.
The Palais de Tokyo
To see, watch, eat and read. It's a space where you can bring the children because they can run around inside.
Palais de Tokyo
Site for contemporary arts
2 rue de la Manutention
75116 Paris - France
+33 1 47 23 54 01

Le Plateau because it's right near where I live and near to the Buttes de Chaumont Park.
Centre d' Art Contemporain Le Plateau
22 rue des Alouettes
75019 Paris
+33 (0) 1 53 19 84 10


Your most marked characteristic?
My energy for work.

The quality you most like in others?

What is your principle defect?
I don't like ordered, fixed things.

What is your favorite occupation?
To listen to music.

What is your dream of happiness?
To continue like this.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
To not continue like this.

What would you have liked to be?
I am fine...

Where would you like to live?

What is your favorite color?
Fluorescent orange.

What is your favorite natural thing?
Asparagus. (It'll be misinterpreted I'm sure, but it doesn't matter.)

What is your favorite animal?
The hippopotamus.

Who is your favorite writer?
Georges Perec, because he speaks of life's little nothings.
Life: A User's Manual

Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Robin Wood (I like the idea of coming to the aid of the disenfranchised.

Who is your favorite composer?
Pierre Henry. He worked with Maurice Béjart; the grand father of "techno.'

Who is your favorite artist?
Yves Netzhammer, a Swiss artist who combines drawing and digital art. Poetic and dreamy.

Who is your real life hero?
There aren't many heroes any more. Maybe the Abbé Pierre.

What is it you most dislike?

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
The gift of being everywhere at once.

How would you like to die?
With dignity.

What is your present state of mind?
Everything is going well.

What fault are you most indulgent about?

What is your motto?
"Accompany in the contemporary."

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