Goodmoods

The mood of

Victoria Wilmotte

Designer Victoria Wilmotte arrives on her scooter with a VW Factory stamped roof at the Silvera Saint-Germain showroom where an exhibition is dedicated to her. There, she looks back on her 10 years of design, recounted in an eponymous book.

 

10 years punctuated by orders for private individuals, creations for major publishing houses or self-published pieces under its VW Factory label. 10 years spent experimenting with folded steel sheet, Greek Volakas marble or recently Pierre Frey’s purple velvet. Victoria zigzags between projects and materials, in line with her signature motif present in her creations. But in just a decade, the designer has invented a unique aesthetic that has become her trademark. She deciphers it with us today before returning to her workshop on the quays to hammer, weld, test, create…

Victoria Wilmotte in her studio © Eric Garault - Le Monde

The genesis of your exhibition at Silvera?

 

“It was good to put all these pieces back together, to re-mix them a little, to see them together in another space, after it’s just a sample of my work, there are still a lot of things to see!”

Exhibition at Silvera Saint-Germain

Your favorite materials?

Table Pli - ClassiCon
VW Factory, Victoria Wilmotte's workshop © Fabien Breuil

“Marble and steel. But then there are plenty of surprises, new materials to discover, like textiles for example. I am very familiar with metal, welding and so on, but not at all with fabric. The choice of materials is essential, and it’s true that I’ve sometimes been wrong.  The materials but also the finishes: that’s what makes it luxurious or not.”

Table lamp, Victoria Wilmotte collection. Yannick Labrousse
Zigzag" armchair ©Yannick Labrousse

One color ?

 

“Purple. I had planned to do all the seats in purple and then I said no, it’s going to be too much!”

"Zigzag" armchair covered with purple velvet signed Pierre Frey ©Yannick Labrousse

Your favorite projects?

 

“I like everything: working on tailor-made creations, self-published projects or for publishing houses, it’s quite balanced. It’s true that until now, working with the publisher has never really been a brief where I built for him from A to Z with thirty-six constraints. I prefer to work with few editors, but well chosen or self-produced so as not to make too many compromises.”

Victoria Wilmotte in her studio © Noémie Goudal
© Fabien Breuil

“In general, people come to me because they have already seen my work. Most of the time their requests are based on a piece that already exists. Since I am also self-publishing I show them prototypes and I just have to change, improve a few things. I don’t really like to start from nothing, to struggle but at the same time it’s good because it forces you to go outside your comfort zone.”

Vases “ZigZag” © Yannick Labrousse
La Redoute X Bensimon, 2014

Mass market or leading-edge design?

 

“Both of them! I have worked with major publishers such as La Redoute. For example, I had taken out small pedestal tables, it was distributed at much more accessible rates.”

Where do you create? 

“In my workshop, Quay des Célestins in Paris. I am accumulating a lot of things, it has become impossible to completely transform it into an exhibition space! But I have a basement where I have set up a showroom.”

Showroom VW Factory
VW Factory © Fabien Breuil
VW Factory © Fabien Breuil

The story behind your book? 

 

“It was a way of bringing together through images the highlights of these 10 years of work.”

If you had to keep just one of your creations?  

 

“It’s a tough question, I can’t keep just one! But if I really have to make a choice then I would say the Piega mirror. It’s a piece I made a long time ago, in 2010, when I was just starting out.”

Miroirs Piega, ClassiCon
Piega folding and mirror table, ClassiCon

What is the story of this mirror?

 

“I used to go on holiday in the south of France, and after a while the holidays bore me… So I went to a metalworker who let me use his machines. I used to play with the folding machine and the shears. I started to make this kind of dishes live without drawing, I imagined flat patterns, I cut edges, I made folds, I connected dots. That’s what it was like at the beginning of the little clumsy plates. One day I said to myself that it would be interesting in a different finish, I saw a material that made mirror/metal, I was still young and not experienced but it was gone.”

Your artistic references?

 

 

“My inspiration is very much linked to the industrial world and to machines. More than to a particular artist.”

VW Factory © Eric Garault - Le Monde

Designers who influence you? 

 

“To me, the contemporary designer to follow is Konstantin Grcic. And if not, Jean Prouvé and Ettore Sottsass, of course.

Konstantin Grcic
Ettore Sottsass, Gala floor lamp, Post Design editions // Jean Prouvé - "Les jours meilleurs", 1956

They are present in my work, the technicality of Prouvé and the more graphic ‘fun’ side of Sottsass. Proven it is in the rigor, the object without the overly aesthetic side, it is the technique.”

Your work rituals?

 

“I think there are some people who have scholastic rituals, who always start with research…”

Gasket coffee table in softened Brazilian slate ©Yannick Labrousse

“I’m not in it, I have desires, ideas, details in mind, for example the table top, typically I’ve made 500 drawings with these geometric shapes. In the beginning, it was neither a table nor a console, it was nothing, I knew it was going to become something, then I leave it aside and come back to it later. I never say to myself: here, I’m going to draw a table.

Normally function follows form, which is the opposite of my process, but I still want my objects to have a clear function.”

Gasket coffee table in softened Brazilian slate ©Yannick Labrousse

Why this zigzag pattern?

© Claire Dorn
© Claire Dorn

“It’s been a while since I’ve been working with this pattern, since I imagined the fireplace, it must have been more than four years ago, I don’t know how it came about but it’s stayed!”

Console "Zig-Zag" © Salem Mostefaoui
“Zigzag” steel pots © Quentin Lacombe
“Zigzag” steel pots Quentin Lacombe
Range Rover suitcase © Fabien Breuil

An object you would like to imagine?

 

“Maybe one day clothes, shoes, soles! I designed a suitcase with Range Rover. The suitcase today is a fashion accessory. But I don’t want to focus my work only on gadgets, I want to imagine objects that last.”

Do you remember the first design piece you got for yourself?

 

“One of the first design pieces I was given was a Nesso lamp by Artemid, the large orange plastic lamp with a strong sixties flavor.”

Lampe Nesso, Artemid

Your latest favorites?

 

“I recently discovered a monograph by Lella and her husband Massimo Vignelli, two brilliant Italian designers, they have worked in graphic design, on the packaging of medicines, pasta and furniture design…”

A film? 

“Films of Jacques Tati. But otherwise I have some cinematic shortcomings.

Mon oncle - Jacques Tati
Playtime - Jacques Tati

I would like to see the original version of the 1973 film A Bigger Splash, I have just seen the 2015 version and it arouses my curiosity.”

A painter?

 

“An artist like Hockney is a character, I love characters. It’s rare these days to find people who aren’t too smooth.”

David Hockney

A creative trigger?

Galerie Denise René
Josef Albers

“I must have been 16 when I discovered Denise René, a gallery owner from Saint Germain. She showed a lot of optical art, hypergeometric concrete art. I have always loved the work of Aurélie Nemours, Josef Albers.

When I was still at school, I painted a lot of interlocking geometrical shapes for my plastic art files, I was already in it without knowing it.”

Aurélie Nemours
Fondation Maeght

A beloved place?

 

“The Maeght Foundation, I’ve spent time there since I was a child.”

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