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Episode 9 #LesTalentsInvités: STERE LINE by Fabien Petiot

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 I like to consider myself a storyteller 

 

Who is Fabien Petiot (Beau Travail)? What did he design for Pierre Frey?

Unclassifiable, the French designer Fabien Petiot likes to play on all grounds. He joyfully mixes crafts and design, art and writing, finding his balance when he embraces these different disciplines. With his two degrees in art history and industrial design, he has created his own universe, generous and at odds with fields that are a little too narrow for his taste. Renowned interior architects and collectors alike praise his creations, which are the fruit of the encounter between high quality craftsmanship, unexpected materials and the eye of this erudite designer.
He founded the Beau Travail agency in 2020 in the Netherlands, as an extension of his Parisian studio created seven years earlier. Beau Travail allows him to multiply collaborations but also to publish his own creations more than ever multi-support: objects, lighting and furniture in unlimited series, art books, drawings and graphic works.
For Pierre Frey, he imagined the STERE bench with its organic shapes, composed of four wooden cylinders, a mobile object that invites relaxation and sharing.

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Designer's words

 What was your main inspiration to create the STERE line? 

I like to think of myself as a storyteller, whatever the field I work in, from writing to design and graphic design, which I don't compartmentalize because they are complementary, even inseparable. Thus each project begins with a story. For the bench STERE, I had fun to summon the arrival in a vacation home, that we know intimately or that we rediscover for the first time. These are simple sensations and pleasures: opening the shutters, letting in the light, putting the furniture in the bushy garden and improvising a meal after a long drive. Suddenly a thunderstorm starts to rumble, so we move the furniture to a safe place. The idea for the STERE bench was born from these fleeting impressions, from these memories of vacation, from a rhythm and a quest for comfort that borders on abandonment. I imagined that one could come and rest on the bench. It is a type of furniture that I like for several reasons. Because it is low, it does not obstruct the view, does not impose itself. It only offers the pleasure of sitting on it, alone or with others. 

 What is your favorite material to work with? 

I don't have a favorite material, because in my opinion, a material, as attractive as it may be, must serve the idea or the form rather than the opposite. What interests me are their qualities of course, but especially the know-how and the multitude of implementations that accompany them. Therefore, I like to work with curved glass, turned oak or paper in a craft setting, as much as with aluminum and color in a very industrial environment, as in some companies in the Netherlands. But if I had to choose a material, it would probably be wood. Its organic forms, its branches, its bark or its cut logs inspire me a lot. This is what we find with the STERE bench. 

 Can you describe your creative process? 

I have a very tactile and sculptural approach. If I am very keen to write down a few notes, it is to start things in volume very quickly. I use plaster, clay or any other material I can get my hands on. The 3D software or the most advanced drawings will come later because what interests me is first of all the touch, to feel things. The creation of the STERE bench is the result of this same process of modeling and mock-ups. I like the idea of imperfect models or drawings because they tell a lot of things without freezing anything. A simple folding is sometimes enough to evoke an idea and there will always be time later to be a perfectionist! This allows me to remain free on a possible change of scale and to dialogue with the know-how in presence. If, by chance, a satisfactory result is achieved quickly, there is then a long process of adjustments, the choice of materials, exchanges with the craftsmen, a whole that nourishes any project enormously and that one must accept to entrust to others.

 How would you define your aesthetic? 

I am attached to the idea of a sculptural, narrative and organic aesthetic, a universe that is both playful and sophisticated. However, the objects, furniture and lighting that I create are not sculptures to be touched only with the eyes! They are above all functional and dedicated to interiors where we like to meet. True companions, we could say.

 How did you work with Pierre Frey's workshop? 

In a very intuitive way. La Maison challenged me to combine wood and fabric to create its first outdoor furniture, while bringing in something very personal, a signature. Among the different avenues explored, I was interested in the bench, a piece of furniture that works equally well indoors and outdoors, that can be grabbed and moved around as desired. It is by definition a convivial object, to be shared: one can sit on it alone or with others, isolate it in a corner of the garden or bring it closer to a large table. From there, I wanted to mix the know-how of carpentry and textile of the House and thus leave the beautiful part to the fabric, not to blur the tracks by insisting too much on the presence of wood or on forms which would have been too talkative. I had fun "jamming" the textile into its wooden base and thus suggesting the making of this strange assembly. It is a priori a relatively simple bench, but when you go around it and look at it from the side, you see this overflow contained by the structure and the base. I think this is what makes it so original.

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Discover the Stere furniture line

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BENCH