There’s something quite magical about being able to create with the person you share your life with (...) It’s a continual dialogue that makes the ideas and the works more and more surprising.
Noemi, Benjamin: Can you introduce yourselves, please?
I’m 47 years old, a beautiful moustache hidden in a bush of a beard, Noemi’s happy husband and the fortunate father of two adorable girls, Heidi and Gigi. I’m an all-round artist and also the creator, along with a bunch of friends, of the Radiooooo website.
I’m a visual artist and a bit of an all-rounder, co-founder of Radiooooo, Gigi’s loving mum and Benjamin’s happy wife!
Tell us about your fabulous musical project, Radiooooo and its evolution!
Radiooooo is a musical machine that travels through time and space. You can listen to the most beautiful music on the planet from a world map and a timeline that goes from 1900 to today. It’s a collaborative site where an international community of people from all over the world sends us the musical treasures hidden in their memory and culture. We attempt to offer a window on the world, the culture, our neighbours. To spark curiosity, to communicate and to move each other around a shared love and a universal language, music in all its splendour and power. This last year we worked hard with a great team of programmers who allowed us to evolve the site radically, to make it more fluid, richer, clearer: in short, more pleasant to use!
We travel in time with you too! Where do your furniture and accessories come from?
Just like Radiooooo, our home is like the result of a treasure hunt. It’s a sort of junk shop where everything is found through our wanderings, our encounters, things we fall in love with and our friendships with artists and craftsmen.
Why do you prefer to surround yourselves with objects that have already had a life, rather than others that are new?
Both of us love things that have a history. It’s a bit like harbouring ghosts! There’s a pleasant side to feeling the patina of time around you. To know that an object has had many lives, and is now part of ours. The older our finds are, the richer they seem to us, and nothing is more frightful to us than a new object, just emerged from the factory.
It’s not just a preference for the aesthetics, materials and quality of objects made in the past – although we are much more sensitive to this – but more to the fact that something was created with an intention. It’s also a willingness to recycle, to keep things that have lost none of their usefulness, let alone their charm. Like guardians of precious objects from a time that no longer exists, we love this notion of preserving beauty. Nothing is lost; everything is transformed. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
How did you imagine this new family nest?
In the manner of a wooden hut where we would welcome nature into our personal space in a friendly sort of way. As if outside it was a jungle, and we had made our nest at the top of a tree… except, we are in the heart of Paris. But that doesn’t stop us from dreaming!
Apart from each other, what are the most important things you need to thrive here?
Music, of course, is a central element for us. We listen to it on an old valve amplifier that’s quite capricious and the 1970s speakers that come from my dad’s house; he collects them! They produce such a round, warm, comforting sound. Our bookshelves are also small personal museums, our day-to-day sources of inspiration.
Where do you prefer to create, at home or elsewhere?
It depends. During the day we work in our studio (which is not far away) or at home in the evening when Gigi wants to sleep soundly before midnight!
You are both artists, where do you get your inspiration?
We draw upon the infinite ocean of time, and our curiosity takes us where it pleases!
From each other! There’s something quite magical about being able to create with the person you share your life with. To be able to bounce ideas off each other and create something that you could never have done alone. It’s a continual dialogue that makes the ideas and the works more and more surprising. But there are also our daughters, who plunge us back in and constantly remind us of the highest form of freedom: that of childhood!
What do you want to pass on to your daughter Gigi?
Knowing how to stay inquisitive and free! To be able to marvel at the smallest things. Being able to sit on a bench and be satisfied with a ray of sunshine, the caress of a breath of wind or the song of a bird. A deep love and respect for nature and all the beings with whom we share this earth. And, finally, to live with love by approaching life and the world with kindness and tenderness.
Where do you like to take her in Paris (or elsewhere) to marvel at the world?
The place we head to as soon as we have a moment, our old family farm in the Gers countryside, our own wonderfully dilapidated refuge. It’s a family sanctuary passed down from generation to generation since the 16th century, which we have the responsibility (and the luck!) to take care of today.
What will be your next news?
We’ ve just launched the new version of Radiooooo! We’ll continue to share the beauty of the world, and to encourage sharing. What’s fantastic is that this project is in perpetual evolution, fed and enriched today by more than 300,000 people around the world!
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily