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Jean-Guillaume Mathiaut’s world is messing with architectural codes and brings us into a soft and feminine world, bathed in natural and warms colours. When he was a young architect, he continued his brilliant record and won the Van Alen Institute contest when he was only 23. Then, he worked as a creative architect for several great fashion brands and tried to work into scenography for Hervé Sauvage and Hugo Matha. After having returned to his first love, his worked developed and evolved, for the boutique Atelier Issey Miyake in rue Royale. Year after year, this creative man has tried and experimented even more, but still with as much as soundness. With Jean-Guillaume Mathiaut, our notions of space are called into question. We enter a world made of ovoid cabins and of furniture-city where he is the only one to be able to guide us.
To discover Jean-Guillaume Mathiaut’s universe, it’s here.
How would you describe your work?
I was first trained to be an architect, and then I became interested in veneer. I took classes with some friends, and then I found my own way through. Now, I am between both activities. This can appear in the creation of “sculpture-houses” in solid oak but also in the little architecture in pinecones. For some projects, and especially for the cabins, I work on unique pieces, for great dreamers and collectors. The requests are coming from all parts of the world. We meet the customers and we talk about their dreams. Their projects are signed and made-to-measure. I use noble material, such as stones, metals, wood, and I am really committed to respecting the environment. I use wood from protected forests but also cardboards and recycled paper. I am lucky enough to work with a very united team. We are faithful and attached to human values. Most of my craftsmen and friends are of Italian origin, and we are a true family.
Can you explain to us what these “cabins” are?
Since 1995, I had been doing “small architecture”, like a hobby. It has expanded. First, I started making cabins for children bedrooms, and then for collectors and for events. It is about constructing/deconstructing, while travelling in a world of childhood, with a notion of shelter. They protect the secret gardens, and sometimes have a foetal form just like an incubator. In some of these wooden bubbles, even 4 people can sleep in it. They are ephemeral: their lifetime is between 2 and 10 years. I am really attached to the first moments, to the childhood and the moments related to this period. I work a lot on volume measurement, geometry, perspectives and multiplication of surprises. There is always a part of game and the interpretations are infinite. A stool can become a coffee table or even a piece of furniture.
How did your approach to architecture evolve?
For 2 years, I have worked on something else than cabins: “landscape-furniture”. I related them to my architecture. In one of my series, they are open-air cockpits. You feel like you are in a drawing. I am now trying to connect it all, to create a full world where architecture develops around nature, and where nature meets architecture but also furniture. For example, I explore every topic with the “town-furniture”, which are reinterpretations of 70’s buildings on the fronts of the pieces of furniture. I have also changed my process. For 2 years, I have stopped working on the 3D imaging. I am now directly going from drawing to volume and models.
Do you have upcoming projects?
I have several projects right now. There a series of 5 wooden magic carpets, set in vineyards near Caudalie’s farms. I also work on the prototype of 3 sleep pods which will levitate above a stream in a castle.
Credits : Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily