M/B., Two-Headed Design

M/B., Two-Headed Design

M/B. depends on the mood. That of its designers Marine de Bouchony and Camille de Laurens. Friends since Penninghen art school, the two have never really been apart. Artistic directors, photographers, scenographers: while most people specialise, they like to cover all the bases. Merci/Beaucoup, Mention/Bien, Manger/Boire, Marre/Bordel, Michel/Blanc or Michel/Berger, M/B. is first – and foremost – a design studio that doesn’t do things by halves. To best reflect the period, Marine and Camille work on the form, explore the material and play with contrasts backed by a healthy dose of humour and curiosity. The same curiosity that drives them to mix up the rules and the media. A multidisciplinary approach that’s attracting the brands, starting with our own. For The Socialite Family, M/B. has recreated a photographic studio . But…not just anywhere. Literally in our home. Last summer, in the family apartment of our founder Constance Gennari, a colourful display case was created in which was exhibited – bordering on fashion and interior design – the very first pieces of our collection. Traces of lives and human warmth that were soon displayed all over Paris. A good résumé of the work of Marine and Camille. Without frontiers. Because M/B. sees the funny side of people, the journey from encounter to encounter sending conventions flying without worrying what people will say. Sending an American family off to Coney Island in an old almond green boneshaker? Done. Braving the Japanese drizzle to go and meet a photographer and dearest friend? Check. Travel is their reality. Life is what fills their dreams. On glossy paper, in a prestigious magazine or on a podium, M/B. sees images and concepts where the elegant rubs shoulders with the quirky. A sense of mise en abyme that transforms everything they touch into an object of desire, art even. Illustrations.

M/B., Two-Headed Design
M/B., Two-Headed Design
M/B., Two-Headed Design

Marine, Camille, can you tell us who you are?

MARINE & CAMILLE

We’re two eighties girls who both grew up in families of four children, fed a steady diet of kids’ TV and American sitcoms. Two complementary personalities who switch roles every day of the week. Two creative directors, photographers and set designers. In short (and in all modesty): a winning pair.

What does M/B. mean?

MARINE & CAMILLE

M/B. means whatever you want it to. Merci Beaucoup. Muy Bien or My Bad. Megabyte, Mel Blanc or Miami Beach, but above all, we are Camille, Marine, Junior, and Alexine.

What does your business do in terms of branding?

MARINE & CAMILLE

Even though most companies tend to specialise, M/B. mixes up different codes and media to express a personality, reflecting what makes a brand unique and the complexities of the times we live in. By working alongside artists and craftspeople, we create powerful images, from creating a brand identity through to photo/video protection, from brand image consultancy through to set direction. Over the last six years, the recipe has always been the same: humour, creativity, and intelligence. Despite what you might think, our multidisciplinary approach helps brands to trust us and enables us to find creative solutions in record time.

M/B., Two-Headed Design
Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens
Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens

Even though most companies tend to specialise, M/B. mixes up different codes and media to express a personality, reflecting what makes a brand unique and the complexities of the times we live in.

Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens
M/B., Two-Headed Design
Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens

What was your career path before starting a business together?

Marine & Camille

We met in lectures at the ESAC Penninghen design school. After graduation, we went our separate ways for a decade before coming together to found M/B.

Marine

For my part, I needed a lot of space and independence after spending five years studying at Penninghen. I stared out as a graphic designer at Base Design in New York, then came back to Paris to work in art direction for several fashion magazines. Finally, I crossed back over the Channel and started working at the V&A in London. The incredible Victoria & Albert Museum was where I came up with designs for exhibit staging, books, and posters and where I learned how to work with artists and curators and, after five years, I’d learned to love the English mentality and started to think like that, too. It was time to come home

Camille

Unlike Marine, I stayed firmly fixed in Paris to work as an art director for Young & Rubicam for ten years. Like her, my career was defined by travel – every two months I’d take off with a new photographic team for Cape Town, Miami or Rio de Janeiro to shoot catalogues. If you’re daring and curious enough in your approach, there is only a very small gap between the role of an art director and that of a photographer.We’d said we’d catch up in ten years… Marine had had enough of English food and the London Underground, and I was sick of project planning meetings and board plans at all hours of the day. M/B. was born in May 2011.

What material do you value most in your work?

Marine & Camille

I prefer materials that are coarse and raw. Combining heavy and light weights, the rough and the smooth, to bring out the contrast. In 2018, we want to make our photographic language more specific and more emphatic by distinguishing the agency from the photographic duo, Camille + Marine.

How would you define your style of image?

Marine & Camille

Creating images as a pair results in contrasts, by definition. While one has an eye on the big picture, the other takes care of the details. Certainly, that is what we should be aiming to achieve in our roles as art directors – combining multiple styles, building bridges between images, using moodboards to think things through. On the day of the shoot or the installation, instinct takes over and the subject carries us through.

Portrait Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens
Atelier M/B Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens
Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens
Portrait M/B Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens

Who or what inspires you, what are your dreams about?

Marine & Camille

Travel. Departing on a journey inspires us, makes us dream, and gives us meaning. Each year, we head off on a trip just to talk things through. From these road trips, we create books that act as a photographic record. The first opus took us to New York, where we met the incredible Ebony Ugo. Thanks to our friends from Lyoum and La Benjamine, we were able to land in Tunis for our second trip. This Tunisian trip took the form of an installation for the Galerie des Galeries. Our latest travelogue has just been printed. This year, our destination was Japan, to meet up with Armelle Kergall, a talented photographer and a truly remarkable friend.

Who would you like to work for today?

Marine & Camille

We often ask ourselves what our “Dream Project” would look like. Here’s the list for 2018: repeated trips for Voyageurs du Monde, photographing una famiglia for Dolce & Gabbana, designing more sustainable everyday objects for The Socialite Family, working on a collaboration with our friend, Alice Bucaille, uncovering the next breakthrough designer in the children’s fashion world in Portugal, and finally an appearance in M, the magazine for “Le Monde” newspaper.

What ideas did you take away from the campaign for The Socialite Family? Which piece of furniture inspired you?

Marine & Camille

As with every subject, there were lots of questions floating around: how could we ensure that The Socialite Family became a design brand and not just a piece of lifestyle media? How could we convey the visual spirit of the family and the apartment while remaining true to the design language that furniture brands use to create luxury? Our answer was to create a photo studio in the family apartment. We have kept the traces of life and warmth, but have created a backdrop to highlight and bring out the best of The Socialite Family‘s design pieces. The image of the chair that is shown on the walls of Paris sums up our idea quite nicely.

Could you recommend us a restaurant in Paris or somewhere else?

Marine & Camille

We’ve shared great big smiles, beers, mixed drinks, mushrooms, “bricks” a l’oeuf (thin parcels of pastry filled with eggs) and five-star menus at Le Dragon bar in Paris, the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, the Neptune in Carthage and Benesse House on Naoshima Island. But our number one choice is the Lanna Café. We are in love with its curry as well as its owner, Louis.

Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens
Atelier M/B Studio de création Marine de Bouchony et Camille de Laurens
M/B., Two-Headed Design
M/B., Two-Headed Design

Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily

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