“The important thing is that each object we collect triggers an emotion that we don’t want to let go of,” Léonie Alma Mason, founder of LA.M Studio, tells The Socialite Family to define the value of the pieces that surround her. Rare, sentimental and intriguing pieces with a spirit that gracefully permeates the Paris interior she shares with Julien Palengat, her partner, with whom she shares an inveterate love of art. An open-mindedness and curiosity that were awakened by the education provided by her parents. Art historians whose professional activity has given her incredible memories, such as when they lived in the French National Museum of Arts of Africa and Oceania. Extraordinary experiences stimulated by inspiring people have allowed her to develop a “broad imagination” coupled with a vision centred on the arts and travel. This lifestyle was influenced by another influential figure: her grandmother, the French artist Odile Mir. The latter was the cornerstone of her granddaughter’s artistic training and even influenced the decoration of her home. An eclectic and harmonious living space where high-quality materials, handcrafted creations from the four corners of the globe and second-hand furniture come together and rub shoulders with the treasures the architect, designer, and now furniture producer has collected. And family influence is never far away. The proof is LOMM Editions. A design company launched just a year ago to give new life to pieces of furniture originally created in the 1970s by her grandmother. The beginning of a new dialogue between generations that the two women are continuing with a forthcoming exhibition navigating between contemporary photography and design.
Léonie, Julien: can you introduce yourselves, please?
Without preconceived ideas, apart from the limits of my own tastes, I can love an old ashtray in the shape of a frog just as much as a photograph by Hiroshi Sugimoto.
No structural changes; it’s a rental. We slotted ourselves into these spaces naturally to make them our own. In addition to the furniture we already had, I designed several custom-made pieces to go in here, such as a very large oak and blue linen velvet sofa, a chest of drawers whose design was based on a terrazzo table found at Emmaüs, and a long, narrow dining room table to accommodate the dinners we love to organise. We also hunted down a few pieces from flea markets and other places and, of course, chairs and lamps that my grandmother designed in the 1970s. I painted the whole kitchen, which looked like an old cottage, to bring out the colours of the tiles, accessorised the old mosaic bathroom and decided that the toilet would be the room for learning foreign languages. As far as display is concerned, the position of the largest works is self-evident. Then I play with the alignments between them, but also with the existing architectural elements! I make themed arrangements to create conversations between the works. The Gipsies at the Sea by Jean Dieuzaide are facing the Galatea; they are all jumping into the water under the serious gaze of two Indian women. This is an old photo found in Kerala. Nobuyoshi Araki’s Polaroid Lys opens the erotic setting in the bedroom next to a print of a woman making love to an octopus under the aegis of an X by Bram van Velde. The presence of books is also essential for me: a catalogue of a particularly striking exhibition, the whole series of philosophical books illustrated by the French-Swiss Frédéric Pajak, Les Rencontres d’Arles, etc.
With LA.M Studio, I will be in Bordeaux for the opening of a new 400 m2 living space/restaurant in the city centre that will be open from early morning until late evening. A cool, friendly place designed for all times of the day.With LOMM Éditions – a new product design house that my grandmother, Odile Mir, and I set up in 2021 – we will bring contemporary photography and design together for a very special exhibition in a Paris gallery.
We slotted ourselves into these spaces naturally to make them our own.
Photographies : Valerio Geraci – Text : Juliette Bruneau @thesocialitefamily.com