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We’ve come to look forward to new additions of Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection every year, usually debuting at Design Miami/ each December. The ever-expanding series of wanderlust-filled furniture is inspired by the house’s roots in the art of travel. Past design collaborators have included nendo, Maarten Baas, Marcel Wanders, Patricia Urquiola, Tokujin Yoshioka, and others.
This spring and summer, the collection is travelling around the U.S. for the very first time making stops most recently in Houston, and going on to Los Angeles in late May, Chicago in July, and Toronto in September. Recently, we interviewed Patrick Reymond of Atelier Oï, the collaborator Objets Nomades’ Swing Boat, Hammock, Spiral Lamp, Belt Chair, and Tabouret Stool.
WHITEWALL: What was your initial approach to designing the suite of pieces for Objets Nomades?
PATRICK REYMOND: The original inspiration was the British explorers of the 19th century who were inspired by fantastic objects and carried with them extraordinary items. These are the items that we would want to take with us on a journey; a stool to sit on and a hammock to sleep on. They express the travel, the travel through dreams.
We also had the unique chance to visit Louis Vuitton’s leather workshop in Asnières, France, which was a source of inspiration for us. Inspired by the world of travel and the great expeditions of the late 19th century, we decided to reinterpret symbolic items within the travel universe. Fruit of the close observation of the fine leatherwork principles, they express craftsmanship and savoir faire through an original interpretation.
WW: What was the most challenging aspect of creating furniture that could be transient?
PR: It has always been a challenge to master the material and the mechanism to find the most natural way to make an object ephemeral. This is visible with all of the Objets Nomades objects, especially on the Swing Boat and the Tabouret Stool. In the process of materializing the art of folding, we transposed ancestral trunk-maker techniques, such as the use of a rigid membrane wrapped in a soft skin into modern materials.
WW: What kinds of materials were the most practical?
PR: During our time spent in the Asnières workshop we decided on a base leather material and the Vuittonite leather, an impermeable material created by Louis Vuitton. Basic materials around which we created the objects, to be found again in the leatherwork revisited in the objects of travel.
WW: How did you want to play with color?
PR: Initially, all Objets were realized in the natural colors of the leather, the material in its raw state, a caramel color for the first Hammock and stool. After a fruitful exchange, we developed the Objets in the colors of Louis Vuitton.
WW: Do you have a personal favorite that you’d love to incorporate into your own travel ritual?
PR: It is difficult to select one as a favorite. Following the development of the folding leather stool, we were inspired by afternoon naps and decided to reinterpret another classic in the world of travel: the hammock. A structure was born out of torsion, weaving, pinching, and pleating. The succession of fine woven leather ribbons is pinched locally to form the same butterfly shape as the “farfalle” pasta. This gives volume and comfort to a simple leather strip, composing a three-dimensional mesh and giving body, aesthetic and comfort to the hammock. After exchanges with the Louis Vuitton team, the dexterity of the leather became very important and symbolic to us.
Yes, I could incorporate the Hammock in my own travel ritual, as an explorer of the 19th century.
WW: As a designer, I imagine you have to travel a good amount. What are your travel essentials?
PR: We are a crew sailing on the same boat, taking time to be curious. The first thing we take with us is what will inspire us during the journey: time. Time allows us to discover, get inspired, and create new designs.
WW: When you arrive in a new place, what is your travel ritual?
PR: The first travel ritual when we arrive in one place is to get inspired, to discover other cultures and know-how which allows us to create
WW: What city have you been to recently that you’re itching to get back to?
PR: Houston, of course!