PEO­PLE – CHAR­LOTTE MACAUX PERELMAN

Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - Contents -

Artis­tic Di­rec­tor of HER­MÈS MAI­SON, who was in Sin­ga­pore re­cently for the brand’s lat­est in­stal­la­tion, ‘Through The Walls’.

ARTIS­TIC DI­REC­TOR OF HER­MÈS MAI­SON CHAR­LOTTE MACAUX PERELMAN WAS RE­CENTLY IN SIN­GA­PORE FOR THE BRAND’S LAT­EST IN­STAL­LA­TION ‘ THROUGH THE WALLS’, A DE­LIGHT­FUL PLAY OF CON­TRASTS – PLAY­FUL, AND SE­RI­OUS – SET UP IN THE LIAT TOW­ERS STORE. WE SPEAK TO CHAR­LOTTE ABOUT HER ROLE IN HER­MÈS MAI­SON, THE IN­STAL­LA­TION, AND HER IN­SPI­RA­TIONS.

H&D: HOW DID YOU BE­COME AN AR­CHI­TECT AND WHAT AT­TRACTED YOU TO IT?

Char­lotte: I have al­ways wanted to be­come an ar­chi­tect. I launched my first agency in New York in 2005 and then I opened a new branch in Paris in 2010. In Novem­ber 2014, Her­mès asked me to join the team as deputy artis­tic di­rec­tor along­side Alexis Fabry, in charge of the Her­mès Home Uni­verse, Her­mès Sur Mesure, Saint Louis and Puifor­cat. I was sur­prised be­cause I am more of an ar­chi­tect than a de­signer. But I think that they liked my con­vic­tion and knew my deep feel­ings for ob­jects and crafts­man­ship.

What I like about be­ing an ar­chi­tect is the re­la­tion­ship you can have with spa­ces, lights and the en­vi­ron­ment, which I am very sen­si­tive to. To me, the strong­est mon­u­ments are the one linked to the en­vi­ron­ment. H&D: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IN­SPI­RA­TION FOR YOUR WORK?

Char­lotte: There is no limit to in­spi­ra­tion. It is ev­ery­where. I get it from ar­chi­tec­ture, or de­signs, from today’s life, from pho­tog­ra­phy, or exhibitions. The ar­chi­tect Luis Bar­ra­gan is a great source of in­spi­ra­tion too. His min­i­mal­ist work us­ing ver­nac­u­lar ma­te­rial with col­ors and lights is amaz­ing. It is es­sen­tial and very close to what hu­man be­ings need. I am also found of ce­ram­ics: there is a great Turk­ish artist AlevSies­bye, who is spend­ing her life mold­ing bowls. It is the same ges­ture over and over, but the ma­te­rial she is us­ing is a liv­ing ma­te­rial, which is very in­spir­ing. Fi­nally, I also get in­spi­ra­tion from the artists, de­sign­ers, and ar­chi­tects I meet through my ac­tiv­i­ties out­side of Her­mès. They lead us to ideas which could fit into Her­mès.

H&D: WALK US THROUGH A DAY AT HER­MÈS MAI­SON IN YOUR SHOES.

Char­lotte: With Alexis Fabry, we work closely with our team. It is not just about us; we have an en­tire team of de­sign­ers stand­ing be­hind us. What is im­por­tant to keep in mind is that we share very sim­i­lar be­liefs, but at the same time, we also have dif­fer­ing as­pects. We have dif­fer­ent back­grounds and though we start with dif­fer­ent points of view and per­spec­tives, our con­clu­sions are usu­ally the same, which is mu­tu­ally re­in­forc­ing.

H&D: SO IT’S A GROUP EF­FORT?

Char­lotte: Yes, team ef­fort is what mat­ters. We all want what is right for Her­mès. We try to ask our­selves to right ques­tions. There are no set pat­terns. Ev­ery­thing is the re­sult of an open, col­lec­tive ef­fort. The re­la­tion­ship with crafts­men and their ex­per­tise is cru­cial in the elab­o­ra­tion of the ob­jects. They are the ones, for in­stance, who know if or how we can use leather in the cre­ation of the ob­jects. If we cre­ate a piece, we can’t cre­ate it with­out them.

H&D: SO YOU DO THINK IT’S VERY IM­POR­TANT TO HAVE A GOOD RE­LA­TION­SHIP WITH THE CRAFTERS?

Char­lotte: Yes, Her­mès stands for crafts­man­ship. In this re­gard we favour

tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als, for which of course we can also rely on our unique savoir-faire and a net­work of first-class work­shops. So much en­ergy has been put into the crafts­man­ship and the de­tails of this col­lec­tion.

H&D: WHAT WOULD SAY DE­FINES ‘QUAL­ITY’ WHERE HER­MÈS IS CON­CERNED?

Char­lotte: Her­mès is a house of qual­ity and cre­ation. With our col­lec­tion for the home, we pro­vide an art of liv­ing, an art of be­ing, that em­bod­ies all the val­ues of Her­mès: no­blest ma­te­ri­als, au­then­tic crafts­man­ship, bold cre­ation, time­less el­e­gance. Qual­ity is the ef­fort that goes into each de­tail. Our Karumi col­lec­tion de­signed by Al­varo Siza is the per­fect il­lus­tra­tion of this idea: We first thought of us­ing rat­tan but were forced to aban­don that idea be­cause rat­tan has too much flex­i­bil­ity. Bam­boo, which is more ro­bust, seemed bet­ter suited. But bam­boo, in its tra­di­tional form, doesn’t bend! It took all the tal­ent and in­ven­tive­ness of a great Ja­panese mas­ter, com­bin­ing his ex­pert com­mand of ma­te­ri­als with in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy to achieve this re­mark­able feat, bam­boo fur­ni­ture of ex­cep­tional pu­rity and light­ness. This in­no­va­tive tech­nique, mar­ry­ing tra­di­tion and high-tech, has en­abled us to strengthen the bam­boo while re­tain­ing its pure line.

H&D: IN TERMS OF DE­SIGN, WHAT QUAL­I­TIES MAKE A PIECE PER­FECT FOR THE BRAND?

Char­lotte: Ma­te­ri­als, but also the strength of the de­sign are what make a piece per­fect. For ex­am­ple, the AES cof­fee ta­ble de­signed by Bar­ber & Os­gerby is cast in bronze, in a sin­gle-use mould. We chose to work with this an­ces­tral ma­te­rial, bronze, be­cause it re­quires a spe­cific ex­per­tise that we wanted to ex­plore. Bronze is an an­ces­tral ma­te­rial but this ta­ble looks very con­tem­po­rary. This cof­fee ta­ble has the look of a metal girder, pow­er­fully struc­tur­ing the space in which it re­sides. Be­hind its ap­par­ent aus­ter­ity, this mono­lith in­dulges in some skill­ful il­lu­sions through the de­tail of the matt ma­te­rial and the waxed patina of its sur­face. We ap­proached Bar­ber & Os­gerby for the strength of their min­i­mal­ist de­sign and their no­tion of in­no­va­tive crafts­man­ship.

H&D: SO IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANC­ING THE FEEL?

Char­lotte: For us there is no hi­er­ar­chy be­tween the ob­jects of the Home col­lec­tion. All the ob­jects, big­ger or smaller are linked to­gether, they are com­ple­men­tary. We be­lieve that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the en­sem­ble and the ob­jects taken sep­a­rately is fun­da­men­tal. So it is about the bal­ance of the gen­eral col­lec­tion. For ex­am­ple, we feel that fur­ni­ture should be more rig­or­ous while tex­tiles and wall­pa­pers should be more about fan­tasy.

H&D: ON YOUR PER­SONAL WORK – WHAT DO YOUR CLIENTS LOVE BEST ABOUT YOUR WORK?

Char­lotte: Peo­ple say that I have a great in­tu­ition for vol­umes and pro­por­tions. I want to cre­ate de­signs that last, that go be­yond the mo­ment and are at the same time an­chored within it. I try to do time­less ar­chi­tec­ture.

H&D: WHAT WOULD BE THE ONE PIECE OF AD­VICE FOR HOME­OWN­ERS LOOK­ING TO FUR­NISH THEIR OWN HOMES?

Char­lotte: To me, a beau­ti­ful in­te­rior con­sists in har­mony through eclec­ti­cism. Home­own­ers have to lis­ten to them­selves and not to be afraid of mix­ing fur­ni­ture of dif­fer­ent styles. To me, the best home is not a home en­tirely made by Her­mès. Mix is im­por­tant.

H&D: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE HER­MÈS UNI­VERSE ADDS TO THE HOME AND FUR­NISH­ING IN­DUS­TRY?

Char­lotte: Home liv­ing viewed by Her­mès is a mat­ter of spirit and at­mos­phere, where you care­fully choose the ob­jects you want to be sur­rounded by, for their qual­ity, their beauty, their func­tion­al­ity and the plea­sure they con­vey. We cre­ate ob­jects with sense, and to do it we main­tain close re­la­tion­ships be­tween artists and hand­made ob­jects. This what makes us unique.

H&D: SAY SOME­ONE TAKES A WALK INTO THIS SHOW­ROOM AND TAKES A LOOK AT THE COL­LEC­TION. WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU WANT TO GO THROUGH THEIR MINDS?

Char­lotte: This year, we mainly wanted to make ev­ery ob­ject of equal im­por­tance, whether it is a piece of fur­ni­ture or a fab­ric. We want peo­ple to un­der­stand that our col­lec­tion con­veys a story be­tween the pieces. We also want peo­ple to be sur­prised by the bal­ance that ex­ists be­tween rigour and fan­tasy. FOR MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION, VISIT WWW. HER­MES. COM OR VISIT THE HER­MÈS SHOW­ROOM IN PAV­IL­ION, 168 JALAN BUKIT BIN­TANG, KUALA LUMPUR.

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