In the world and work of Nicolas Lefebvre, the woman, and especially the mother, is a starting point. She is the goddess for whom his admiration has no bounds. It is thanks to his mother that the common thread of his work has started. She inspired him in all his works and passed him more than the picture of the endless maternal love: sensitivity. Nicolas has travelled since his youngest age all around the world, through all the continents and more than once, from Africa to Mexico, India and Asia. He tirelessly got inspired from these numerous discoveries which filled him with wonder, so these remote influences are naturally present in his art. He invented it by giving a new life to pieces and objects coming from these faraway places, which he got during his trips and curiosities. It is like a tribute he pays to the lands he threaded upon when he was a child, with his mother. From his artist father, his mentor, he remembers the philosophy, freedom and independence. It is a mix of values and well-defined attractions which contrasts in a solar way with the established norms. Meeting Nicolas is like getting away for a warm and mind-blowing stopover in the heart of Paris. The Socialite Family met him in his place, with his daughter Anahi, the dare-devil, for an eclectic visit full of anecdotes.
Hello Nicolas, can you introduce yourself?
I am 34, I grew up in Paris, where I now live and where my workshops are. After having looked for what I wanted thanks to my studies, travels and discoveries of interior and exterior walks of life, I became the father of a wonderful mermaid of 6 years old, Anahi, who makes my life and my art better. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by my family, and a scattering of inspired friends. Today, I fully live the life of an artist who supports the causes dear to me (Pierre Rabhi, Paul Watson, organisations for a better future), which I make resound in my work, by paying tribute, by doing my fair share of the work and by reenchanting our multiple humanity.
How would you define or introduce your work?
My work consists in gathering old objects, to make materials, cultures and times communicate to celebrate our common roots. I am guided by the figure of the ansate cross, the mother goddess, the protective and kindly deity, thanks to which I explore every aspect of creative magic.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration in travelling, in the primary arts, in the objects that talk to me, in nature, in the seaside, and in collective memory.
What was your education in terms of interior design?
I grew up in a classic world, surrounded by old furniture and paintings. I have been lucky enough to work with atypical antique dealers with eclectic tastes, such as Axel Vervoordt, Jacques Lacoste, Jacques Delbos. I won my spurs with Maitre Binoche, who enabled me to be next to the most beautiful objects of primary arts. I like to stage my places, so every detail is important. I am very sensitive to the scenography around me.
Do you have a mentor?
My baba (my father), who has always given me love, kindness and who started the work that today I do with a lot of confidence.
I know you travelled a lot and went around the world several times. What would be your favourite destination apart from France?
I like losing my bearings in the Sahara, this rhythm enables to find again the connection with yourself and with the elements. Essaouira the beautiful is for me a perfect transition before going back to reality.
Where do you go when you look for an object or a piece of furniture?
I hunt for antiques daily, at antique dealers’, in the sales room, while the sellers unpack, in the flea markets and during my trips. I have been lucky enough to go to Peru to bring back furniture by Jean Royère for Jacques Lacoste, a Parisian gallery.
What is your favourite material?
I like materials. Each of my piece is a mix of textures. The wood, source of life, gives me a lot of feelings. I like mixing the mineral, vegetal and animal kingdoms which naturally merge.
What is the piece you made you are the proudest of?
Mama, crossroads of cultures, my new baby in gestation, an immoderate hub supposed to make a stopover everywhere around the Mediterranean. This receptacle is covered by sand or earth from the country in which the piece of work is. On this timeless desert, a mix of old objects coming from diverse cultures celebrates the union between our peoples, and reminds us our common roots.
How do you bring up your daughter Anahi in your daily life, with your art and sculptures?
I have a great bond with my daughter, I have always brought her with me to exhibitions, previews, trade fairs, but also when I go hunting for antiques. She loves coming to the workshop, where she freely expresses herself. I keep asking her opinion. Anahi loves and helps me to decorate our house, an intimate cabinet of curiosities, where we try to find harmony.
Can you tell us about a place that do you good?
The market of Alligre, where I like starting my day by savouring fruits, is a market with a lot of treasures and where you meet surprising people. It is timeless crossroads, where you can find objects from here and elsewhere and flavours that make me dream. Gracias a la vida!
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily