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Sessùn Alma by

Emma François

Hotels & restaurants

15 January 2021

With Emma François, it’s all about meeting people and making choices. For Sessùn, since 1995, she has chosen materials, audited factories, organic fibres and ecological aspirations. 24 years of passionate encounters with artists, craftsmen, muses, but also with materials, know-how and creation.

The confluence of these encounters is her new living environment in Marseilles. Welcome to Sessùn Alma, a facility of more than 170 m2, just a stone’s throw from the Vieux Port, where it is enjoyable to stroll, read, eat, exchange and meet up. Before leaving, let’s meet Emma !


The first Sessùn cocoon…

© Corinne Malet

What is Sessùn Alma’s history?

« Since the beginning, I have wanted to create a place where we can share our favourite items. It started with our historical shop on rue de Charonne and its basketry cocoon imagined with the architect Aurélie Rimbert. »

« A place designed to encourage encounters, an isolated place, slow life. »

© Nobuyoshi Takagi

“The Alma project came to life at the beginning of March in this soap factory, the place, its surface, its history have challenged us. I like locations that have a past, that tell a story, that seem inhabited. It was love at first sight. And it was really the place that triggered the project. A place thought of as a site of life and culture. The perfect place to present our treasures, favourite items, books, artists, craftsmen and above all to meet each other. Sessùn’s guiding thread has always been encounters.”

© Nobuyoshi Takagi

How was the place designed?

« The space was designed by the architectural duo Marion Bernard. It’s a special place that evokes the Mediterranean region, but in a resolutely contemporary way. We didn’t want to get caught up in a spirit of nostalgia. At Sessùn Alma, the design and the Mediterranean atmosphere are part of a whole. We didn’t need particular eye catchers, we wanted to create a real harmony. »

© Nobuyoshi Takagi


© Estelle Rancurel

Serax Earth Vase by Marie Michielssen © Estelle Rancurel

The particular techniques revisited for this project?

« Sessùn Alma is also a real work on materials and craftsmanship. We wanted to highlight different trades: from wall decorators to ceramists and even cabinetmakers for the very organic chairs. »

© Nobuyoshi Takagi

The architects and artists who inspired you?

Cultural centre in Pompéi by Lina Bo Bardi

Valentine Schlegel by Hélène Bertin

At Valentine Schlegel, Paris

« We were inspired by the work of the Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi from the 1950s. Just like the style of the artist Valentine Schlegel. »

The freedoms you allow yourself with Sessùn Alma?

© Nobuyoshi Takagi

“Alma is really an opportunity to think in terms of small series. It’s another logic… Over there, everything is allowed. I like the idea of being a finder of craftsmen, ambassadors and know-how.”

© Estelle Rancurel

© Nobuyoshi Takagi

What can you find at Sessùn Alma?

« A precise composition where works by independent and passionate publishers, ceramics, weavings, Sessùn’s lifestyle collection and natural cosmetics come together. We also offer, especially for Sessùn Alma, a limited series in organic material and recycled wool inspired by work clothes. »

© Nobuyoshi Takagi

© Estelle Rancurel

Creators who inspire you ?

Nikki de Saint Phalle

Sonia Delaunay

« Special, committed women. I am thinking of Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O’Keeffe, Niki de Saint Phalle, Sonia Delaunay, Joan Mitchell. »

Best reads at Sessùn Alma

Your favourite selection at Sessùn Alma ?

Marta Bonilla


Volta lamp by Marta Bonilla

« All of them! We worked with Emmanuelle Oddo on a very particular curation with a very selective approach. She knew perfectly how to identify Sessùn’s universe and to sublimate it.

I am particularly moved by Julie Boucherat’s work for MANO MANI, she imagined a series of amphoras especially for Sessùn Alma. I also love the universe of Marta Bonilla: you can see on her lamps, the traces of her hands, the spirit of the material. You can feel the irregularities of life, and I like that. »

What was the starting point for Alma’s Sessùn lifestyle collection?

« The lifestyle collection starts with the material. As with our clothes, we start with it. It’s the love of texture and craftsmanship that dictates my creative desires and gives me ideas. The spirit of materials is inevitably found in our decorative objects! »

© Nobuyoshi Takagi

What do you recommend tasting at Alma?

« My favourite of the moment: the homemade pumpkin soup with gnocchi, perfect for the season! Aline Chemla offers this healthy, sunny Mediterranean cuisine. »

What are the pillars, symbols of sessùn?

« With Flirt Studio, we worked on seven symbols by retracing the thread of our history, our archives, old collections and even interviews. We wanted to weave a symbolic iconography. There is the solar saffron, the creative bloom, the original woman, the root temple, the sacred love… And of course the free soul. We are apart, a very free house with an inspirational universe marked from the beginning… »

© Estelle Rancurel

© Estelle Rancurel

Emma François' wish list

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