Who is Mathieu Lehanneur, the French designer who designed the Olympic torch? | EUROtoday

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Mathieu Lehanneur won’t overlook the emotion in Usain Bolt's eyes. This July 25, 2023, the athlete is the primary to grab the torch that the French designer designed for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “I have been doing this job for more than twenty years, but I must admit that I do not I have never held it in great esteem. If it gives me real pleasure, I don't save lives, I don't teach anyone anything, I don't cause goosebumps like a musician can… But, that day, I realized that it was not such a useless job! » confides the designer from his office in Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne), in the Paris suburbs, where his Factory is located.

In the 800 square meters of this former EDF premises from the beginning of the 20th centurye century that he completely redesigned, he installed his studio, his design office but also his workshop and his stock. Around fifteen people are busy designing an armchair, perfecting the prototype of a seat, checking the electrification of a chandelier, assembling a table, packing the objects in crates stamped with the “Mathieu Lehanneur since 1974” label.

This yr is his: 50 years so all spherical, a nonchalant magnificence with that Parisian je ne sais quoi, the opening of a “pied-à-terre” in New York – the United States being his first market –, the consecration by the Maison & Objet commerce present, which elected him designer of the yr, and Paris 2024 which presents him a incredible window on the world.

“Values ​​of equality and parity”

It was from his workplace that he responded to the decision for tenders issued to round ten designers chosen by the Olympic Games committee. One month to suggest a cauldron – which might be unveiled throughout the opening ceremony – and an Olympic torch. About sixty centimeters in peak, 2 kg most and a system making certain longevity of the sacred flame.

“The brief was quite free. I started from the values ​​of equality and parity, embodied by symmetry, I integrated undulations in reference to the Seine, the setting for the opening ceremony, and I added gentle curves to recall transmission and peace carried by this recycled steel torch. I am gradually becoming aware of the mythical, almost liturgical dimension of this object which will pass through the hands of nearly 12,000 torchbearers. It's a piece of history. »

He also exhibited a prototype on the first floor of his Factory, next to his curvy sofa Familyscapefrom his series of tables Happy to be Here and its great candlestick The ropes with its transparent tubes.

“Objects that touch the intimate”

His favourite achievement, Tomorrow is one other day, crossed the Atlantic, heading to the Denver Art Museum, the place she’s going to shut the Biophilia exhibition, which might be inaugurated in May. It is definitely the venture that greatest embodies Mathieu Lehanneur's humanist imaginative and prescient and his emotional strategy to performance.

Designed for the rooms of the palliative care unit of the Diaconesses Croix Saint-Simon hospital group, this climate station within the type of an LED display screen broadcasts a luminous picture of the subsequent day's sky, within the geographical location chosen by every affected person.

READ ALSO Trimmings, glass, ceramics… Artistic crafts tackle design “It is a meditative and spiritual support. It allows you to connect with real life, thumbing your nose at death. I like to imagine objects that touch the intimate, echoing our dreams, our fears and our human needs which, from prehistory to the present day, have not fundamentally changed. » He then mentions his table Ocean Memorieswhose sculpted marble evokes the undulations of the sea.

“It’s a way of recreating the emotion that one can feel in front of the ocean, an experience that transcends the centuries. We are no longer in the era of the Thirty Glorious Years. Today, almost everyone has a table, a lamp, and two plates. The role of the designer is to bring an emotional dimension to objects. »

“Build a coherent story”

Born in Rochefort (Charente-Maritime) and raised within the Paris suburbs, Mathieu Lehanneur thought of finding out medication after which turning into an artist earlier than touchdown, considerably by probability, on the benches of the National School of Industrial Creation, in Paris (Ensci-Les Ateliers).

He obtained into the sport and began his personal enterprise as quickly as he completed his research in 2001. “Unlike a work of art that you hang on the wall and look at with a certain respect, I prefers the way design enters people's homes, integrates into their lives and generates emotion in a more subtle way. »

It is to control the entire chain and avoid compromises that he chose to edit his objects himself and open his Factory, where the first sketches are made until the final shipment. “If I only designed the furniture without taking care of production, marketing, I could do five times more! But, rather than adding references to a publisher's catalog, I like to build a coherent story, imagining pieces that dialogue with each other. I keep control of the initial intention, it's obviously more complicated and involves other financial risks! In a design agency, there is no need to hire a logistics manager, a production coordinator, a shipping manager… »

“A very contemporary approach”

For his venture offered at Maison & Objet in January, he designed an ecosystem, known as Outonomy, a brand new way of life that’s each impartial and linked to the surroundings. “Inventing life, rethinking interactions with others… Design will not be restricted to things, it may be human, spatial, relational. »

For Mélanie Leroy, basic director of the present, “his contemplative view of the world is exceptional and he is without doubt one of the uncommon designers of his era to embrace so many fields of creation. He attracts his inspiration from nature and historical past, he has labored carefully with scientists and start-ups, he combines design, know-how, artwork and artisanal know-how. It’s a really up to date strategy to design. »

Already in 2009, in collaboration with David Edwards, American researcher and professor at Harvard, Mathieu Lehanneur designed Andrea, an air air purifier drawing on the filtering capabilities of crops. Another venture which testifies to its roots within the period.