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Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
By Eliza Jordan
March 6, 2023
Last December during Art Week in Miami, the Paris-based artist, architect, and designer Garance Vallée debuted a commissioned installation entitled “Planted Air” for Perrier-Jouët. Seen at Design Miami/, the presentation visually demonstrated the relationship between humans and nature, and was inspired by the brand’s headquarters in Èpernay.
After visiting Perrier-Jouët’s Belle Époque house in the Champagne region, Vallée was inspired by the property, which informed her decision to use wrought iron, stone, and chalk—all seen in the underground cellars. In “Planted Air,” wavy iron rods sprouting from stone hold curved mirrors, mimicking the interconnected relationship between humankind and nature.
“The installation was made by way of manipulating iron vine sculptures and planting them deeply into robust, rough-cut, blocks of chalk that are firmly planted on the ground,” Vallée told Whitewall of creating the artwork. “Elements of scale and reflection are seamlessly fused into the installation, creating a viewing experience that is profoundly immersive and intended to further serve as a nod to the human relationship to the living world.”
To elaborate on the collaboration, the brand released a limited-edition champagne bottle, featuring Valee’s work on the exterior packaging and on the bottle’s white label. Large-scale motifs of birds, chalk, and squiggly vines were seen floating around the brand’s name—reimagined by the artist in a rippled shape. On the bottle itself, its label matched the curved one seen on the box, shining in stark white with gold lettering.
Curious about her collaboration with Perrier-Jouët, as well as what the creator is working on in 2023, Whitewall spoke with Vallée.
WHITEWALL: When you were approached to collaborate with the champagne maison, did creation come naturally?
GARANCE VALLEE: Our partnership came about very naturally. Perrier-Jouët has a particularly unique approach to champagne, by way of its quality but also in how it is presented to the world. So, when I was tapped to collaborate with the brand, it was an easy decision. In my art, I aim to unify the domains of architecture and design to explore new relationships between humans, the body, space, and objects, as well as their links to domesticity, everyday life, and intimacy. For Perrier-Jouët, their product is so much more than Champagne, it is a symbol of the brand’s long-standing heritage, the human relationship with and need for the fruits of nature, a feat of artistry and creativity, a touch of design for the home, and the liquid of celebration that brings friends and family together.
In my artwork, I often question the relationship between humans and nature, their interdependency, and presence in one another – this approach allows me to interpret the place of humans in their environment while simultaneously evaluating their connection to nature, a quest shared by Maison Perrier-Jouët, that I’ve worked to transcribe in my commissioned art piece, “Planted Air.”
WW: What informed your approach to "Planted Air" at Design Miami/?
GV: “Planted Air” is the transcription of my discovery of the vineyards in Champagne and the terroir of Perrier Jouët. The Belle Époque house was an extensive reference in my process. Particularly, the use of wrought iron, from the Art Nouveau portal of the house. The stone that forms the basis of the sculptures is chalk, the same stone that forms the basements and cellars of the house. I invite the viewer to come and walk through this field of vines as if they are fully immersed, in a world where humans and nature meet without hierarchy.
This artistic installation also demonstrates the ecosystem of the Champagne vineyard and communicates that, above all, humans are in nature and nature is in humans—everything is interconnected.
WW: In your campaign, the brand mentioned you both had a "shared vision of nature." How would you describe that vision?
GV: Humans rely upon nature to exist, but humans also cultivate nature and fuel the ecosystem that keeps the world turning. Champagne is the result of humans and nature working together and a perfect example of the interdependent nature of all life forms on Earth. The brand and I both see nature as an element that humans rely upon but also facilitate and manipulate. We bolster nature and also disrupt it. We share in the belief that the path to harmonious coexistence is built on mutually giving back to nature as much as we take from it.
WW: How did the idea of time impact your understanding of Champagne, and in turn, your artworks?
GV: For me, time is life, one cannot go without the other. It was important to have this reference to the passing of time, to the time of nature growing in this installation. The ceiling in a circle and the entrance in a semi-circle represent well this idea of a sun which would come to turn around the installation and thus refer to the cycle of life.
What struck me the most when I visited the cellars of Maison Perrier-Jouët, was the parallel between the long time when the bottles remain in the cellars, which is a long time of nature, and the very short time, even ephemeral, of champagne tasting. I find this fascinating, and this paradox has greatly inspired the process of my work.
WW: Your creations for the house are a reinterpretation of the ecosystem of the Champagne vineyard. Can you tell us about what inspired you in this region and how you reimagined that?
GV: My encounter with Séverine Frerson, Maison Perrier-Jouët cellar master, was a cornerstone to my view on the Champagne terroir and savoir-faire. Also, the Maison Belle Époque was an inexhaustible source of references. The use of wrought iron in the Art Nouveau portal of the maison is one of them. The stone that forms the basis of the sculptures is limestone, the same stone that forms the basement and cellar of the House. I invite the viewer to come and walk through this field of vines as a real immersion in a world where man and nature meet without hierarchy.
WW: What surprised you about the region of Champagne after your first visit?
GV: The diversity of the landscapes and the richness of the ecosystem particularly surprised me. From a very graphic standpoint, I have these images in my head of the cutting of the soils and the vineyards, of these lines that run through the landscape and create a pattern in the Champagne vineyard. It almost becomes paintings.
WW: Do you see similarities in champagne and art? Or Champagne-making and art-making?
GV: Of course, I think that behind any kind of art there is a basis of craft. The simple fact of creating things, of inventing, of doing through gesture, of transmitting emotions; all these notions are common. When I met Perrier-Jouët cellar master, Séverine Frerson, she used words to describe her craft that resonated with my own work.
WW: You're an artist, architect, and designer. How does being a multifaceted creator impact your approach to a project?
GV: I am very guided by experimentation. I like to test, to explore several directions. I don't have a typical pattern of creation, ideas really come from everywhere, from a material, a color, an encounter, a book...
WW: For someone with the title of artist, designer, architect, etc., it's typical to treat the home as a personal sanctuary, marrying design principles in furniture, art, lighting, etc. What is your personal home like?
GV: It may seem surprising, but I don't have anything I have created in my apartment. Since I work all day in my studio, which is saturated with all kinds of creations, I prefer to keep my home a serene and neutral atmosphere with antique objects and master pieces that I admire and that inspire me.
WW: What are you working on now?
GV: I am currently working on a furniture collection. There will be some pieces created in collaboration with my husband, Franck Pellegrino, who will do the textiles. I also have a beautiful craft project in progress based on straw marquetry, a French tradition going back to the 17th century. Then, I’ll be working on a limited edition of modular carpets—a very architectural project.
Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.