by Anmol AhujaOct 15, 2021
“Colour really links to life. Colour is life, and life is colour.”
- Matali Crasset
Making the courageous move from a small town to the city of lights and dreams like a plethora of young aspirants, Matali Crasset found her emancipation and the inspiration to pursue a creative discipline in the leap. Even though the Paris-based designer enjoyed a “marvellous” childhood by the countryside, brought up in a family of farmers in the small village of Normée in France, young Crasset, however, was destined to be a creator, finding her natural surroundings to be her muse and her playground. One half of a pair of identical twins, Crasset termed her sister, Véronique, to be the reason she never felt lonely. While her success story is clearly reflected in her numerous eclectic projects, densely concentrated on the French side, the beginning of her design journey might as well be traced back to her decision to move to the French capital. “I became a designer because I was able to live in Paris,” states Crasset, smitten at the time by the city’s energy and the ability to push away boundaries that the city imparted her, among other interesting and unknown facts about the French designer’s life in the public eye.
Trained formally in the discipline of industrial design at the ENSCI (Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle), Crasset honed her craft and developed a rather nascent creative skill to birth a style, attributing this emancipation to the creative freedom the institute allowed her. The beginning of her Parisian dream, Crasset, following a brief stint in the global design capital, Milan, worked under the apprenticeship of the legendary Philippe Starck soon after, before starting her own practice. Crasset’s key take away, an important building block in her journey to this “emancipation”: liberty.
Shunning trends in the design industry, finding a more stimulating inspiration from artists as opposed to people from her own profession, Crasset’s portfolio encompasses realms, isms, scope, and scale. Her most famous works, including L'archipel tonique, ENS Paris Saclay, La librairie des presses du Réel, Consortium Museum, Dijon, Trait d'union eyewear for Théo, Tissage Moutet, and the IKEA PS 2017 light, vividly spell out the spectrum of her distinct design language. Transcending from interior design into installation, and from product design into near sculptural crafting, it is easy to infer that Crasset harbours a deep love for the Arco Iris she donned during her UNSCRIPTED conversation with STIR. The colours across the spectrum literally come alive in her projects, filling the space they occupy with unmistakable quirk and a vivacious character. For her, it is difficult to imagine a life in monochrome, and those who do must be afraid of living.
Crasset’s quirk in design is complemented by her very distinct cosmetic choices: her hair and eyewear. However, akin to her projects, there is a method to the varicoloured madness here, adding that unique, oft-overlooked layer of utility to the proceedings. Her glasses help her truly “look” at mundane instances in “sceneries of nature” to find inspiration that she is then quick to sketch, even if in abstraction. Her haircut helps her head “breathe” and “think”, yet another instance of her “freedom”, or the desire for it. Crasset currently resides in Paris with her husband, Francis Fichot, and their two children, having created her own spaces of calm in her residence while locked-down owing to the pandemic, operating her eponymous studio, Matali Crasset Productions, from there. Courtesy of Fichot, who happens to be an excellent cook, Crasset’s meals happen to be just as colourful as her products.
Now emancipated, but with firmly established roots in the design fraternity and discipline, a successful stance by all means, Crasset prefers her definitive identity to be a bit more personal. “I am a woman, and a mother,” she adds.
Discover more about Matali Crasset’s inspiring life and her design journey from her full UNSCRIPTED conversation by clicking on the cover video.
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.
All photographs © Matali Crasset Productions. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial, or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.