Marin Montagut‘s life is made of trips and all types of dockings. In London, his first stop, he learned the bases of drawing and the creative freedom in the prestigious Central Saint Martins. It is an artist life he decided to live. Back to France, he dropped anchor in Paris. In the capital city, thanks to the people he met, his passions took shape and his tastes for arts, antique fairs and antiques became stronger. He developed his touch with the the decorator Christian Sapet, of whom he became the assistant. The adventure next led him to the world of cinema where he became a specialist of scenography. Martin Montagut is multifaceted and lets the new opportunities carry him. He made videos for prestigious brands and documentaries all around the world. It is a sweet bohemian life he likes to write in his little notebooks. These notebooks soon became the Bonjour City Map Guides. As its name implies, they are delicate illustrated guides he made for curious travellers like him. He disseminates rare addresses in it, addresses often new. It is depicted by a recognizable phrasing and delicate and aesthete watercolours. Keen for discoveries, Marin Montagut shows us his charming lifestyle. It is a fascinating storytelling that looks like an illustrated book, there, in the heart of Normandy. In order to emphasise a bit, he welcomes The Socialite Family in a summer house transformed into a timeless studio. It is a creation haven in which the sense of time does not exist. Out of town just for the weekend, the director lives surrounded by his second-hand goods. So it is a game he also plays in life.
Marin, who are you? Where do you come from?
I am a bargain hunter, an illustrator, a collector, an author and an explorer. I arrived in Paris about twelve years ago, after having grown up in the South of France. I started very young the cinema decoration after having assisted the designer Christian Sapet in the flea market of Saint-Ouen. I then produced some documentaries and movies for fashion, that made me travel all around the world. Then, I took my watercolours and created my own collection of books published by Flammarion “Bonjour City Map-Guides”, in which I give my unusual addresses. Every trip is the opportunity to hunt for antiques, objects I try to sell on my e-shop. It is not easy to label my job, but each of my passions are linked one to another!
What was your training in drawing?
My grandmother was a painter, and her free lifestyle has always fascinated me. I was very young when I realised that choosing an artistic lifestyle would be more adapted to my search for emancipation. So I went to London when I was 18 to study at the Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, where I learnt the bases of drawing and the creative freedom of the education that I did not find in France. After having spent some time in London, I knew Paris would be my home port. Then the drawing followed me in my trips, my loyal watercolours box was constantly in my bag… At that time, I started to sketch the cities I was going to. The drawing naturally matched with my trips and the beginning of the adventure of my “Bonjour” guides started with Flammarion.
For your creations, who does inspire you?
Sonia Delauney for her colours, the Douanier Rousseau for his exoticism, Jean Cocteau for his poetry, Madeleine Casting for the diversity of her tastes and the anonymity of the objects found in antique fairs.
How would you define your clothing style?
Like for the objects, hunting for the pieces of my wardrobe is a game. The idea of wearing a cloth that has already a history, a fabric that has already lived, comforts me. I also like to mix basic clothes of today with the ones of yesterday. As for decoration, mixing styles is an added value to differ from the others. And then there is the magical adjuster in my street to whom I often bring my findings. He works on it and make them suit me. I also make the most of my trips to full a suitcase with my favourite shirts and make them again thanks to the great choices of cotton made in India, always in blue tones. The trousers I am wearing now is from the 20’s. It is pure linen, tailor-made, and still has the name of its owner in the lining. Thank you Georges!
What is your favourite colour?
It is navy blue for textiles and English green for decoration.
How much time do you spend in your summer house?
It is not really regular. I try to escape every weekend to have a break from Paris and make the most of the yard sales in the region. It depends on my work. If I need to focus on a project, I can work on it 15 days in a row. My studio is still the place in which I am the most inspired. Surrounded with my objects, with some peace and quiet, I lose the sense of time and can draw 14 hours a day. Often, some of my friends who are artists visit me and make the most of the place to work and create there. Once the gate is closed, this house is a true haven of creation.
In your home, what is your favourite object?
In every space I flood, I feel the need to be surrounded by a globe, both when they are lights, for its subdued light, or a simple object to study: I need no reason to spend time contemplating it! In my studio, this slate globe from the XIXth was made for pedagogy, to draw the countries with a chalk stick. It is an object that reminds me that the Earth is round and I still have a lot of destinations to discover.
What is missing in your home?
An empty room, to fill it with new findings!
Can you give us a couple of addresses where you hunt for furniture and bibelots?
I can’t do anything without my app Brocabrac that tells me about all the yard sales and antique fairs in France around where I am at the moment. That’s how I go to each of them in Normandy! I also love to wander at Troll & Puces’. It is still an unknown space, in Paris, that gathers 8 second-hand goods dealers who hunt for antiques through France all year long. Abroad, I recommend the market Feira da Ladra, in Lisboa: it is a city I love and where I go and hunt for religious knick-knacks and strange objects when I want to go away! Finally, I need to tell you about my mother’s antique fair Coco & Co in Honfleur. We are lucky enough to share the same passion. It is Christmas every time I go visit her because she puts aside her favourite findings before offering them for sale!
Can you recommend us a good restaurant?
Le Bon Saint Pourçain, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. There are only two or three dishes on the menu, and the paved street and the atmosphere use every code of the Parisian postcard, with all the good taste of the bistro cooking. It is an excellent place to eat!
Photography: Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily