Design

Interview: Mathieu Lehanneur, an explorer designer

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Mathieu Lehanneur in his Parisian agency. The diversity of the works for which one appeals to him is impressive.

Bruno Comtesse

From pharmaceutical design to the renovation of the Grand Palais, designer and interior designer Mathieu Lehanneur is like an explorer who likes to chart new paths. For him, "Life is too short not to try to make sense of it". This could be one of the phrases affixed as a signature behind each of Mathieu Lehanneur's works.

Since "Therapeutic Objects", his project of diploma at Ensci (National School of Industrial Creation), the designer and interior designer Mathieu Lehanneur has continued to pursue his research with many scientists. Do not count on him for shelter behind what he already knows how to do: his work and projects in interior design are, each time, also new challenges.

"Electric", cultural platform of 1,000m² located Porte de Versailles, 2013.

F. Ribon

Why did you choose to associate scientists with some of your projects?

Mathieu Lehanneur: During this short passage on our planet, I will have fun, have fun, make children, but - and maybe it's a badly placed ego thing - I always ask myself: what is it all about? does he really serve? As I am not very religious, I can not cling to religion, but to medicine, yes. It gives you meaning. I still do not know if I am used to something, but in any case I continue to search.

Are you rather proud of your work?

Mathieu Lehanneur: Proud, oh no! I am too young to be proud.

Not even a hint of pride for "Tomorrow from dawn", this sculpture object designed for the palliative care unit of the Diaconesses Hospital?

Mathieu Lehanneur: Projects such as this one, I see them as so many signs that the rest of the world, outside our design fields, is open. That designers, artists, can make useful proposals. Having an order from a campaign priest or a scientist is very stimulating. I want to continue in this direction because I need it. Need to extend, so to speak, the field of struggle, to expand the scope of the utility mission as much as I can.

Do you feel that there are new bridges between design and other professions?

Mathieu Lehanneur: Absolutely. This field of activity opens because no one can give a precise meaning to the word "designer", to say where the design starts and ends. This depresses some, I'm happy. Paradoxically, I feel that the world is much more open to design than designers are in the world. I did not go to preach the good word, I did not push the doors of the church, the hospital, the laboratories; it is the people who at one time feel that it is not the engineer, the marketing, the communication ... who will answer their problem, but a designer. The design has this capacity in him, and I am always surprised to see how he sometimes tends to live in a vacuum, to produce a succession of objects that are all more or less alike. I'm not judgmental, but I admit that it would be deeply boring to limit myself to that. If, at the end of my life, I drew 43 chairs, 70 sofas and 12 coffee tables, I would not be too good. If my children would ask me, "So, dad, what am I writing for your profession?", I would say, "Get this doctor, please." (Laughter)

"Andrea", living filter that absorbs polluted air, 2009.

V. Huygue

Have your "Therapeutic Objects", especially those for children with asthma, been prototypes?

Mathieu Lehanneur: I left the Ensci without a personal fortune or a network, but, because I was overconfident and because there were things I wanted to check on my own, I did not try to work for a company or a business. designate. These objects were born in the absence of sponsors. I had the intuition that there was a market for this type of product, so I created partnerships with scientists. Since 2001, I have felt the world of laboratories, eminently closed, powerful, soften gently, realize that we had to go in this direction. Besides, I am now in talks with one of them for these objects. My real work is to try to understand what is happening in the brain and not in the eye, even if, at a certain moment of course, things have to take shape, catch the eye.

Among all your contemporary designers, you do not feel a little lonely?

Mathieu Lehanneur: Honestly, I do not ask myself the question and I do not attend the other designers very much. But, indeed, I have the feeling that few dare to go there.

With the architecture agency LAN, you won the international competition for the redevelopment of the Grand Palais.

Mathieu Lehanneur: The project consists of bringing together the large nave, the national galleries and the Palace of Discovery, all of which are part of the same building, except that today it is not clear at all. So we are going to rethink this whole entity by creating much more obvious bridges between the worlds of science, art and entertainment. It is a pharaonic project.

How many years will this project be spread?

Mathieu Lehanneur: Ten years. Moreover, when we presented the project in front of a Areopagus of 30 people more pointed, more graduates than the others, we felt that our proposal pleased, but, we were told: "N'Esvous not too young, dear ones? " "Rest assured, they were told, we are still relatively young, but once the Grand Palace is completed, we will be much less!" (laughs) This is the only monument in Paris that can, with the greatest naturalness and elegance, welcome Monumenta, Lady Gaga or Chanel without getting dirty. I will also work on a café in the Louvre Museum, located close to the Mona Lisa. An exceptional place, because the painting functions as a magnetic element all over the world. "

You read a lot?

Mathieu Lehanneur: Very little.

Lack of time ?

Mathieu Lehanneur: No, we are master of his time. I can not concentrate. I start a lot of books, but I finish almost none because I go elsewhere, I bounce on something else, I pick up. I have the same problem at the cinema and when I'm walking down the street.

"Chocolate Flagship" in Broc, Switzerland, for the Maison Cailler chocolatier, 2012.

V. Duault

But yet you manage to concentrate in your work?

Mathieu Lehanneur: Yes, because I am active. I can not focus passively. I'm not proud, I'd like to tell you that I read a lot of philosophy!

What is your favorite object?

Mathieu Lehanneur: (He hesitates a long time) The escalator because it revolutionized the architecture. What an absolutely twisted but awesome mind was said one day when seeing a staircase, the most static part that is: "I'm going to build moving stairs"? Well, I learned that the first escalator patent was filed for the Coney Island amusement park. It was then a fair animation.

"Strates System", modular office, Objekten (2012).

J. Renault

The choir of the Saint-Hilaire church in Melle, all in white marble, 2011.

F. Ribon

Mathieu Lehanneur in his Parisian agency. The diversity of the works for which one appeals to him is impressive.

Bruno Comtesse

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