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CONSTANCE GUISSET

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"Abstraction is an open door to the imaginary"

Geometric abstraction is the prism chosen by Maison Pierre Frey to develop the new fabric and carpet collections, named respectively : Vibrations and Rhythms. With an extraordinary energy, the VIBRATIONS collection explores graphic expressions that are both minimalist and exuberant. From Bauhaus to kinetic art to the present day, this pictorial language is based on the representation and combination of geometric forms in a two-dimensional space. The relationship between full and empty, lines and colors, create an evocative graphic field. The choice of different techniques (embroidery, weaving or printing for fabrics ; traditional Nepalese knot, hand tuft or traditional flat weave for carpets & rugs), the bright color palette, and the preference for natural materials allow these collections to “vibrate” in a joyful tone.

Invited to style the photos of the VIBRATIONS collection, the talented designer Constance Guisset, (for whom abstraction is an open door to the imagination), agreed to answer a few questions during the shooting. 

1• Freshly graduated from the ENSCI in 2007, you have received numerous awards (the Grand Prix du Design de la Ville de Paris, the Public Prize for the Design Parade of the Villa Noaille) and you were named designer of the year at the Maison & Objet trade show one year after founding your studio,. Did this immediate recognition influence your desire to explore other fields of research such as scenography, interior design project management or was it present from the start?

It's more a question of curiosity and encounters. Moreover, the projects feed off each other. For example, I did my first stage design for Angelin Preljocaj's Le Funambule in 2009. I had never worked with space before and I began to approach this scenography as a succession of objects, entirely made of paper, that the choreographer could manipulate on stage. In return, this research led me to the design of a paper lamp, named Angelin. Since then, I have learned to work with the space as a whole. Nevertheless, with each new project I try to question my vision of scenography.

 

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2• Is this the first time you have worked on the styling of a photographic campaign? How is it different from your other scenographic projects?

I'm used to doing photo campaigns for my own objects, but this is the first time I've done this type of project for someone else. So I have tried to capture the spirit of the Pierre Frey House and this particular collection. From this material, I tried to draw threads to weave atmospheres.
The images I usually conceive are generally not intended to highlight a material, a covering. Here, even if we show a space or an object, it is the fabric that we are trying to show. If I had to relate this work to another type of project, it would be the design of a stage set. Only the protagonists here would be the fabrics.

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3• In all your projects, we feel an intention. What did you wish to convey through these photos?

The decor exudes a special atmosphere. From the collection, I tried to imagine a character who would live in this apartment and to imagine the space in function. Our host would be a curious person, open to the outside world and to dreams, eager for real or imaginary travels.
The imagined atmosphere is thus both realistic and fanciful. The place is a real functional apartment, in which it is easy to project oneself. But it also integrates a need for fantasy, play, enchantment of everyday life.

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4• The Vibrations collection explores graphic expressions, inspired by the artistic movement "Geometric Abstraction". What is your relationship to abstraction? 

You can see in my work my penchant for abstraction. I have the feeling that it allows me to escape the anecdote. It leaves more room for everyone's imagination and opens up the horizon.

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5• This collection is organized in three harmonies. How does the color influence the object, the environment or the behavior of the person using it? How do you work with color in your projects?

The color dresses the object and transforms it, thereby changing our perceptions. I tried to show this in my anima exhibition at the mudac in Lausanne in 2016. The exhibition space was divided into two identical show apartments. One was in different shades of black and white and the other in color. The objects were similar in every way, the same features and materials. But color completely changed their perception. The same object could appear to have the technicality of an engineering piece or the fantasy of a haute-couture creation. It was important for me to highlight this power of color. An object is first of all a volume, it is in black and white almost until the end of its development. Imagining a room in shades of gray also allowed me to immerse the visitor in the way objects are conceived.

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6• Do you consider yourself to be pragmatic? In decoration, should you be reasonable or unreasonable?

I often feel like I'm halfway between the pragmatism and empathy* of a designer and the fantasy of a theater decorator. Gio Ponti used to say that "interior architecture must be a succession of shows". I think that sums up my feeling! 

*Empathy: putting yourself in the user's shoes. Pleasure of living in spaces and being surprised.

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