Born in 1966 in Brittany, France, Gwenaël Nicolas graduated from the Royal College of Art in London with a Master’s in industrial design. In 1998, he founded Curiosity, his Tokyo-based studio, which works with architecture, and product and interior design. Nicolas begins each of his designs with a storyboard into which he incorporates elements of discovery and unpredictability, an approach that allows him to combine beauty and functionality in his products and spaces. The first foreigner to be awarded Japan’s prestigious Kukan interior design prize, Nicolas has designed two stores and a maison for Louis Vuitton in Japan. LV: Why did you agree to create an Objet Nomade for Louis Vuitton? GN: I loved the idea that the designer could propose the object he wanted to design; it becomes very personal and a serious commitment. A project like this is an opportunity to discover a mysterious world, to go behind the curtain and see how products are actually created and developed. LV: What were the inspirations for your objects? GN: I always start a project like this one with a scene, like in a movie, with the actor, the lighting and the composition. I was thinking about a great voyager and I thought about Ernest Hemingway, and I imagined a scene during one of his journeys to Africa. It is late evening and, with his mind and eyes full of the images and discoveries of the day, he wants to rest in a bed floating over the rough floor of his tent, with a light he can pull from his bag to read a favorite book or write a new essay. That is why the bed is called Ernest and the lamp Miller: Ernest Miller Hemingway. LV: What does Louis Vuitton mean to you? GN: Louis Vuitton has always asked me to create unique spaces that imagine and reveal a different facet of the brand, while being avant-garde and surprising. The House has a very different way of working with designers. The team constantly asks for reinterpretations of the brand, demanding fresh eyes and different perspectives to challenge the brand’s identity and stretch it towards the future. Yet it always remains strongly rooted in tradition and savoir-faire, and respects the people who design and make the products.
Ernestbed —Inspiredbyernesthemingway’safrican travels,theernestbedunrollstobecomealuxuriouscot: aleather-edgedcanvasmattressandattachednomadeleatherpillowaresupportedbyasturdyoakstructure.
Millerlamp —Simplystretchthemiller Lamp’scaramelgrained-leathercase torevealashadeoffoldedfabricthat softensthelightoftherechargeable Ledhiddenwithin.