A tightly-packed crowed of visitors thronged to 15, rue Martel in Paris’s 10th arrondissement this weekend. The reason? A sale held at...
When Stéphane Garotin and Pierre Emmanuel Martin, the founders of Maison Hand, met, their lives changed. With Morocco in the background, like a wink to the beginning of their common history. They fast embarked together on interior design and founded Maison Hand. Linked to the handmade they love. Both lovers of new horizons and trips, crafts are at the heart of their world. First in Africa and then in Asia, they go and look for crafts techniques of weaving, embroidery, basketwork or ceramics for Maison Hand Editions and create mixed settings where traditional savoir-faire and contemporary influences mingle. In their apartment in Lyon, monochromic atmosphere bathed in light, they assemble and pile up works of art, crafts from the ends of the earth and design furniture with delicacy. For a dozen of years, these experienced collectors have lived and taken every new project up with the same sensitivity, for an elegant and warm result.
Pierre Emmanuel, Stéphane, who is behind Maison Hand?
A duo formed in Morocco in 2003. I was then the head of marketing in a pharmaceutical laboratory. Stéphane lived in Marrakesh and had a company of fashion and decoration items. A brand called Kim&Garo. After we met, we kept doing things together. We very fast decided to create a common project and started up Maison Hand. We started as interior designers, in the old-fashion way. Things evolved and we had to really get into business. We hired an architect. Stéphane learnt about 3D and interior architecture. We make our own sofas, but also tables, etc. We’d like to do a lot more but we don’t have enough time.
Why did you choose this name?
We really like crafts, what’s handmade and we conceived our project around it. At the beginning, we mainly had fabrics, linen and cushions. We have worked in Morocco for a long time and then in Vietnam where we discovered by chance embroiderers who had the same savoir-faire, passed on by holy sisters. In Tunis, we had a collection of shoes and travel bags made. We then opened a first little boutique in Lyon where we used to sell our products and Caravane’s ones. There, people were very curious about our world and were often asking for advice for decoration and trips. One thing leading to another, we started having others projects and collaborations with brands, apartments, a guesthouse and a hotel for my sister.
We really like crafts, what’s handmade and we conceived our project around it.
Are trips the common thread of your world?
Yes, trips have the place of honour. It’s unbelievably inspirational. Every year, we set ourselves an unknown place to visit. We must say we are Asia lovers. People are nice, have a form of wisdom we don’t find in France and a true sense of service. They are hard-workers. When I see a coconut tree, a rice field or a banana tree, I’m happy! We are currently preparing a trip to Japan. We’ll go in villages of potters to meet raku wear masters and in Naoshima to see the whole Tadao Ando architecture. There is always an artistic and cultural journey in our trips.
Which detail characterises Maison Hand?
We love collections, so we pile up a lot! More than 10 years ago, we tried to have a boutique as if it were our apartment. With its imperfections: a mess with a lot of things lying around. I think that people were feeling comfortable straightaway in this world and it was easy for them to imagine it at their place! When we had pieces of furniture which were too cumbersome for our house, we put them in the boutique. And we still do it today! As we collect a lot, we sometimes sell the whole to someone who is really interested in it. In our apartment, it’s an accumulation of objects from all around the world. The creel comes from Thailand, the peacocks comes from a market in Thessaloniki, the basketworks in the kitchen are a mix from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Bali, Myanmar, Japan, a bit of Morocco. Only things from trips! We usually like objects we don’t get tired of.
We love collections, so we pile up a lot! More than 10 years ago, we tried to have a boutique as if it were our apartment.
Which objects left a mark on you?
A little basket we still have today. We found it on a market in Tokyo. A young girl was making it with weeds she picked herself. The weaving is very fine and we still see the dried john barleycorns. It looks like a small bird nest. There are also some carpets, and for example the one we bought the year we met. We could not go and get it so we spent 10 years without hearing from it. We went back there and the owner had kept our carpet all these years! I also love the cow head we bought in India.
Who are the artists you follow?
It’s often the people we meet and our friends. Art is quite present in our entourage. We are great friends with Olivier Castaing from the School Gallery. We started going to contemporary art fairs in Lyon because we love following artists. Our next purchase will be a collection of herbariums in Galerie du Désordre. The first work Stéphane offered me was made by a man from Lyon, Jean-Philippe Aubanel, a very talented guy. He draws, works on tar, paints and creates objects. We are still following him, but also Axel Vervoordt, one of the pioneers from the movement Wabi Sabi, whom we admire a lot.
As for me, I also love the work of the photographer Antoine Schneck and his collection “Du masque à l’âme”.
Do you have places to recommend?
In New York, our favourite shop: BDDW. Just in front of it, there is a small boutique run by a Danish, in the hotel 11 Howard, entirely designed by Scandinavian designers. The result is gorgeous. Otherwise, we loved a restaurant in Copenhagen, called Geist. The Puli, in Shanghai, is an amazing hotel in a very Asian style. In Lyon, Serge and the Galerie du Désordre – his shop – are just unclassifiable. He has an unbelievable story, bargain-hunts a lot and create scenographies worthy of a theatre. To get more inspiration, the Milanese showroom De Padova, with more than 1.800 sq metres of enchantment.
Where will we meet this year?
In Arles, Menorca, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Mexico City (which is a city that is exploding). But also in Greece.
Photography & Text: Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily