It will bring together the best in art, culture and gastronomy in a celebration of local craftsmanship. This dedicated space will put the spotlight on the region’s talent, nurturing its finest local creators and producers, creating a retail destination for the whole community.
The « Maison des Métiers d’Art » will offer a different French shopping experience that connects fashion and food with the region. Promoting local artisanship is an essential and unique part of the sustainable future of McArthurGlen Paris-Giverny.
The entire design of the « Maison des Métiers d’Art » as well as a major part of the concept have been developed by Mathieu Lehanneur, one of the few designers of his generation with a genuine multi-disciplinary approach to creativity: his projects stretch the realms of product design and object to architecture, craft and technology. Lehanneur thrives on creating spectacular projects that are intended to enchant and to encourage wellbeing. His work defies traditional descriptions of 'design', 'science' and 'art'.
He is described as the 'champion of intellectual agility in the field of contemporary design' by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA-NY.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your project?
My name is Mathieu Lehanneur, I am an interior designer and I work on a wide spectrum of projects. The Maison des Métiers d’Art project came from McArthurGlen, who wanted to pay tribute to and reflect the vitality of craftsmanship in the Normandy and Eure region. The objective for me was to try not to freeze the place, neither as a gallery, nor as just a shop, to forget about the classic typologies and to try to make a real platform for exchanges between visitors of McArthurGlen Paris-Giverny and regional crafts. And try to get all these people to meet and really understand the richness of craftsmanship.
How would you describe the space?
Large tables like workbenches, a digital forest to discover local artisans, a glass auditorium to learn and discuss, suspended mirror discs to change your point of view… This new space dedicated to artisanal creation is unlike any other.
This is a hybrid place that stages and offers for sale a wide selection of pieces and crafts. La Maison des Métiers d’Art is a platform for promoting craftsmen from the Normandy region. In a process of supporting and highlighting the expertise of the region, McArthurGlen offers a unique opportunity to discover and acquire local and unique creations. This is about connecting know-how and showing it. In a large open space spread over two levels, visitors are invited to meet artisans, to discover their techniques and their production. A space dedicated to children will also offer workshops to raise awareness of techniques and art.
Pieces of great sophistication or everyday objects, each creation is unique because it comes directly from the hands of the craftsman.
How do you think this project will whet the curiosity of McArthurGlen Paris-Giverny guests?
There is a real appetite from visitors to understand what is behind a product. And there is a real appetite to change a status - I would say - a little passive of the consumer who sees something on a shelf and who takes it and buys it, towards something more active where yes, I will buy it , but I want to know what's behind it. I want to meet the person who produced it. I want to know how it's produced; I want to know how long it takes to make it.
There is obviously a sustainable approach. From the moment we consider that the craftsmanship in each object that takes time to be produced by an identified person, who comes in addition from the area, of course, in terms of traceability, transport, materials used, quantity of objects produced, necessity versus superficiality of things, we are already absolutely in this logic.
And putting the craftsmanship back at the heart of the process means having already taken this big step to consider that consumption begins with understanding the provenance, traceability, and manufacture of an object. Then, on the space itself, we use almost 99% of the real materials. What I mean is that stone is stone. No special treatment has been given to it, it is crude. The same goes for wood. The same goes for the elements which will be elements linked to ceramics, thus already showing the material in its strongest naturalness.
How did the Normandy region inspire you in the Artisan’s village project?
Normandy, first of all, is extremely fertile for craftsmanship. In France, we are lucky to have a very dynamic craftsmanship and it is a region where perhaps the dynamism is even stronger. What I find interesting is that it is not a region that is specialized in a technique or a material - which we can find in other regions which, over the course of history or the subsoil, have made us concentrate on ceramics - we have a true diversity of artisans in the Normandy region and this is extremely important.
And then Normandy - my name is Lehanneur - and I have always asked the question since I was very young: "but where does this name come from?". And when I asked my parents, they would tell me: " According to our research, we are really between Brittany and Normandy ". So, in my genes, I have half of the heart which is Norman. I must be a sort of Mont-Saint-Michel halfway between the two. So when McArthurGlen invited me on this project, beyond the intellectual and creative interest, there was indeed probably a little affection in there as well.
Some emblematic achievements of Mathieu Lehanneur