PIERRE BONNEFILLE Mineral Brightness

It’s been a year of exciting, fruitful collaborations with Pierre Bonnefille. With the many opportunities we had to display the designer’s work, what began as a professional relationship has morphed into a close, trusting friendship.

It all started in London, before unfolding overseas in Dubai and, more recently, New York. Leclaireur’s team and Studio Bonnefille united their strengths to present, among other pieces, the Meditation Room, an installation – a sacred space, even – where the artwork and the light come to create, together, a room where time suspends its course.

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The Metamorphosis furniture, the Bronze Paintings and the Furoshiki Drawings, inspired by the local tradition of wrapping and folding techniques used to protect precious objects, were also on display during these events. 

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The Maître d’Art is known for his unique approach to color and matter, as well as for the way he shapes and folds light in two dimensions. Inspired by his travels, by the landscapes he encounters, by nature and by life itself, the designer and artist uses his notes, sketches, watercolors and memories to translate both the moments, and the feelings born in those moments, into artworks he gives life to, months or years later, with such materials as mineral powders or carbon.

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Leclaireur: What were your inspirations for the “Bronze Box”?

Pierre Bonnefille: My work is about light hitting water, reflection, vibrations: the light that comes from water, the effects of sun and moon on water. A year ago, I was showing a exhibition titled “Bronze” in Paris and Bangkok. This time, it’s an installation, a “specific space” that serves as an invitation to think, meditate even.

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L: Are there particular sounds one might associate with this meditation?

PB: Indeed. And it’s up to each visitor to interpret the space at will. I’ve created this type of room for one of my clients who brings it to life with a single candle.

L: How does such an installation resonate with the furniture collection you are also presenting?

PB: I recently acquired a copper ore collection from Africa, dating back to the 30s, extracted from 50 mines within the same area. On the pieces I’ve created with it, the shapes are in their primitive state.

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L: Traveling bears its influence on your creative process.

PB: It’s very important to me. It enables my curiosity, it offers me opportunities to reinvent nature. Leaves, barks, rocks, sand… I aim to reshape theses elements, to give them a new birth. From geologic to geometric. As an example, the “Polygone” coffee table is a dodecahedron, a 12-side shape, each shape fashioned to reflect light in its own unique way.

L: Calligraphy is also an important part of your work.

PB: It is. I’ve been working on different kind of palimpsests. I’ll write a sentence, and write it again over the previous one, and again, over and over again until the words disappear through the graphic superposition process. On the bench displayed here at PAD, the sentence is “Secret words heard, from mouth to mouth and from mouth to ear”. So it’s built on a secret.

L: What of interior design?

PB: I dedicate my time to private clients and a few luxury brands. Right now, I’m working on matter itself for the Cartier stores layout. I also recently created a mural composition made of overlays of fabric sheds for Loro Piana’s new boutique.

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L: And your work can be seen in Leclaireur Hérold’s kitchen…

PB: It’s such a subdued space, so conducive to evasion. I spent a year on that project, and also worked hand in hand with Armand Hadida for the PAD’s set up. I wanted to create distinct spaces for kinetic design and my Bronze installation.

I love that place. It reflects a kind of “divine light” against the visitor’s face, somewhere between silver and gold. I want people who enter that room to feel the way they feel when their skin is soaking up the warm sun.