Nathalie Lété is one of the most prolific artists of her generation. Working within many realms of medium, from wooden toys to satchels, through to books and wallpaper, she can renew herself and her vision to offer increasingly amazing creations in harmony with the spirit of the brand. Her sensibility is strong and personal universe delights us more than ever. The animals she has created are now part of our daily life and our family. At this time and in the context of Maison & Objet, Nathalie has two collaborations, upholstery with Maison Thevenon on one side and cement tiles with Emery & cie on the other. This gives us dizzy and changing desires for our future projects!
Natalie can you tell me the story of the collaboration between yourself and Maison Thevenon ?
I was contacted by the Maison Thevenon around about 3 years ago. Vincent Thevenon had seen my plates with cat heads produced by Asiatides and he asked if I was interested in having my prints on fabrics. I immediately accepted as I had been thinking about upholstery for some time… also Vincent’s kindness and enthusiasm convinced me it was a great idea. We have created 7 printed fabrics: cats, fish, roses, birds… they can be used to make curtains, pillows, to cover armchairs and sofas but also transformed into bags and clothes that I have seen posted by fans from all over the world on Instagram. The result is always very pleasing!
This summer, Vincent came by my workshop and asked on what I was working. I showed him a set of geometric prints I was working on for an exhibition and he immediately got his USB key out to take my drawings. He was getting on a plane one hour later to visit a jacquard factory… the next month he showed me the first tests, and next week he is presenting the collection on the Maison & Objet fair, in hall 7. I am thrilled by the result of these new jacquard fabrics, they glisten like multicolored chocolate wrappings and it fills me with delight and wonder.
Where do you find your inspiration, your ideas about nature?
I think I am inspired by nature out of a fundamental need… I dream of being surrounded by forests, valleys, rivers… but having a painter husband not wanting to leave the city, I escape and dream by representing nature within in my paintings… the animals, the forest and the flowers.
You also have some news about cement tiles with Emery & Cie, can you tell us about that?
Agnes Emery and I have a different worlds but share some things in common such as our love of colour, pattern and poetry. I’m really pleased these two worlds were able to meet. I was looking for some know-how in producing cement tiles and thanks to Emery & Cie this collection of twelve drawings was able to come to life. I worked for three years, beginning with extracting pieces from my designs and multiplying that to look like a kaleidoscope. The result often reminded me of ceramic tiles, since the idea shared the same principle of a repeated pattern with infinite symmetry. After speaking this summer to a journalist friend and telling her of my desire to make cement tiles, she kindly offered to introduce me to Agnes Emery whose work I have appreciated for a long time. I even have her tiles in the bathroom of my home! A few days later, Agnes came to Brussels to visit me. Our universes were complementary and the process was quick since we are now both very happy to present the collaboration just six months later.
We are installing the showcase in Brussels and one in Paris this week, with the complete collection of twelve different drawings that the client can then select the colours of preference. There is also going to be five handprinted wallpapers/posters.
Your last family holiday destination?
This past summer we spent four weeks in Southern India. We went to Tamil Nadu to celebrate the 20th birthday of my daughter and 50th birthday of my husband. Our children will soon be adults and ready to leave the house so I wanted a little get together for all four of us, one great last voyage… but I hope there will be others too… so long the offer is to an extraordinary destination !
Do you have any other upcoming projects this year you can share with us?
I have a jewellery collection which will be coming out in mid February. It is a collaboration with N2 in Paris. I have a collaboration of children’s clothing with a Dutch brand called ROOM SEVEN. A book project on the theme of a garden published with US ARTISAN BOOKS. I will also have an exhibition in March in South Korea and then another in October in Japan. And of course all the new products that I have to develop with my regular producers like Vilac, with whom I worked with for several years as well as my editors in Korea, Japan, Australia and America… And then other projects and collaborations that will see the light of day in 2017! There is a lot of work to be done!
Your wildest dream?
To build a house facing a dream landscape would be the best of the best for me. I feel an increased need to contemplate nature and not just in my head. I will dream of a creation project of a home, with the help of an architect which isn’t so exceptional especially when you look at all the beautiful homes you are showing on TSF but for me it would be absolutely amazing as this would be the realisation of all my girlish dreams… Otherwise I’d create a place, Nathalie Land. It would include a cafe, hotel, shop, florist and all with the use of my drawings, I would love that but what I would need is an investor crazy, enthusiastic and eccentric enough but still with his feet on the ground that would follow my vision.