Seven words for the most curious
I first joined the Ecole Boulle in the Bronze and Silversmith Department in the School of Crafts. The years of classical training taught certain values that remain to this day: attention to detail, patience, high standards, the importance of know-how, and the spirit of camaraderie. I later turned my attention from ornamentation to other disciplines: ephemeral architectures or, more specifically, stage design. I then went on to complete my degree in scenography at the National School for Theatrical Arts and Techniques (ENSATT).
Scenography is an ephemeral art that is not intended to be regarded as a work in its own right. In my opinion, the scenographer’s position is initial rather than central. His work is not an isolated artist act; on the contrary, it is a canvas on which other actors then develop their own vision of a project, amplifying it and engaging with the audience as a whole. Stage constructions are my career’s historical and foundational anchor. Nevertheless, I very quickly felt the need to navigate scenographic practice in a much broader way, to look beyond the stage (theater, dance, opera).
“Construct for a fleeting glance.” Guy Claude François
I started working on plays and contemporary dance projects; a time spent as an assistant on various projects, working with young companies, attending workshops. I most enjoyed working with directors on a text – a structured starting point to then set the scene, design it, and build it. No matter the project, the scenographer engages with the spectator in a visual conversation. I am convinced that the spectator, be they at a play, a concert, or fashion show, are there to feel an emotion. This is what drives me the most.
For the most part, my interest lies in the work that precedes production: research and design. For every project, no matter the context, one must pay close attention to the words gleaned during preliminary discussions, uncover clues, devise a strategy – like trying to solve a riddle. The design phase unfolds in many different ways as it ultimately depends on the project client or sponsors. The only constant is that you observe and scout the venue – everything starts from there.
Fashion and luxury events are currently my main field of experience. The goal is to create a visual extension of a designer’s universe and their collections, all the while respecting the fashion house or brand’s identity, helping them engage with audience at a specific point in time.
Fashion is movement, replete with constant novelty. It is very essence of ephemerality; it forces us to reinvent and question ourselves, to be flexible and constantly awake; it is the antonym of monoculture as it draws myriad references from other disciplines – cinema, visual arts, and design – and even the street or the world we live in. It is extremely stimulating and the ongoing quest is reflected by a vast array of theatrical and aesthetic vocabularies used.
Fashion also brings an additional and unique parameter: the production of images. Events are filmed, photographed, and broadcasted on multiple media and platforms. Although my main focus is on the space, it is also about producing strong images.
I am greatly interested in modern devices, in what we can create with technology, in how we can experiment. Fashion events are a perfect opportunity to utilize the latest in digital technology all the while working with the best craftsmen, builders, carpenters, metalworkers, painters, traditional craftsmen. The multifaceted skill sets and diversity of mediums opens up to wonderful worlds of expression.
For me, the quality of light is paramount. It is about creating a dialogue. Granted, lighting serves to reveal and envelope, to imbue atmosphere; but, it also direct one’s gaze, giving life and substance to architecture and installations. It is ‘alive’ yet bodiless; sometimes it serves the story and or an image in fleeting moment or sudden pulse, or rather as a very slow, almost imperceptible movement.
In a world where artists are working in ever different ways, it seems necessary to take time to reflect and experiment. It is also very important to foster vibrant artistic collaborations, not to doze off or become idle! Future collaborations with the fashion world, of course, but my eyes and ears are always alert to other worlds that pique my interest: music, the stage… the image-dominant world. Why not cinema?