mathieu lehanneur

what feeds you in your job, the source of your inspiration?
it feeds essentially, if not exclusively, on who we are as human beings, in a rather crude way. i'm convinced that we haven't evolved at all since we came out of our cave. i have two children, childhood is the raw state of a human being. since they were born, i have always carefully observed how they interact with their environment, with what objects, and it is not necessarily the toy we expect. in the end, our impulses are always the same: impulses of power, of sex, of transcendence, of beliefs, of nesting... what has evolved are the technological tools, the artefacts at our disposal. whatever the type of project, I therefore do not ask myself the question of the form or the technique at the outset, but rather the relationship of the human being in its raw state and the context that surrounds it. the relationship between a human being and a thing is then going to change the relationship between human beings to each other, that's what we have to keep in mind.

what are the people or projects that are references for you?
it's not the designers that feed me because what they produce is already digested food, deprived of its nutrients. i prefer them to people like richard buckminster fuller, an american who has worked in architecture, design, mathematics, complex geometric structures as well.... I'm interested in this kind of profile because these people didn't ask themselves about their field of expertise, but about the times and the state of the world when they were part of it. this kind of spirit reminds me of the enlightenment that consists of looking at the world as it is and being a force of proposition, whether in reaction, in adhesion or in opposition to it. the only importance, the only question to ask is "what do i bring as an answer to this world? "


What I've already heard and the most beautiful compliment I can receive is: "with this project here, with this thing here, I feel more alive"... because the most important emotion is to realize that we are alive today in this world and that it's a miracle, that we had a tiny chance to be here... that things - because it's only things that we do - can make us aware of that, that's the goal and the ultimate complement.

the city that inspires you or resembles you?
i feel quite comfortable in paris, it's a city that has found its balance between the sweetness of life and the energy needed to work there. I also think of corsica, to which i'm deeply attached without knowing if i could live there. i see it as a small extra room in the apartment that constitutes a life. my father lived there during the war, i've been going there since i was a kid, it's a 1.5 hour drive away, the real sweetness of life without being outrageously exotic. i'm not someone who loves to travel because i don't like jet lag at all, so paradoxically the further away i go, the more i reduce my time of stay, even if it's only for a day when i go to hong kong for example. i'm definitely like a neanderthal, i never go too far or too long away from my cave.
"This kind of spirit reminds me of the spirit of enlightenment which consists in looking at the world as it is and being a force of proposal, whether in reaction, in adherence or in opposition to it. »
qu’est-ce que l’art de vivre selon toi ?
mon art de vivre, c’est cette recherche permanente - mais jamais résolue - de parvenir à travailler là où je vis et à vivre là où je travaille. à trouver l’équilibre sans que l’un et l’autre se cannibalisent, ce n’est jamais résolu et à re-configurer en permanence. le travail, la vie, la famille changent mais je suis toujours attentif à cet équilibre, il faut être vigilant sur les conditions que l’on se donne pour travailler et vivre. je continue donc de réfléchir à la solution idéale. j’aime vivre avec peu de choses et travailler avec peu de choses aussi finalement.

tes matériaux de prédilection ?
aucune matière de prédilection, à part le cerveau. les projets se dessinent à travers un entre deux, entre nous et eux, la matière n’est qu’une résultante de cela. qu’il s’agisse de marbre, de plastique, de métal, de cuir, je n’adhère à aucune hiérarchie ou échelle de valeur dans les matières, elles ne sont qu’un moyen. il faut les regarder avec la même distance et le même respect, comme on devrait respecter le langage le plus châtié et l’argot le plus urbain.

as tu des projets design qui constituent des référence ?
je pense d’abord à ces pissotières développées pour les lieux publics, à l’ingéniosité développée pour trouver une solution au fait que les hommes en foutent toujours partout - que ce soit volontaire ou non. ces pissotières ont une petite mouche qu’il faut viser, imprimée en sérigraphie sur l’émail. et instinctivement, primairement, nous ne pouvons nous empêcher de la viser. c’est une réponse minimale et maximale à la fois, qui s’intéresse vraiment à la façon dont un homme continue de se considérer comme un chasseur et à voir son sexe comme un fusil. c’est d’une efficacité redoutable entre l’œuvre d’art dadaïste et l’objet résolument fonctionnel. je pense aussi à un autre objet dadaïste, qui a révolutionné l’architecture : les escaliers roulants. Ils sont d’une poésie absolue, le fruit d’un ingénieur ou d’un poète, qui est parvenu à faire passer l’objet le plus statique qui soit à un objet mouvant. c’est quelque chose d’impossible rendu possible et qui a transformé l’architecture des centres commerciaux.

ta forme fétiche ?
la sphère. je n’ai jamais cherché à analyser pourquoi. il y a chez elle une forme de permanence, de part son existence à l’échelle naturelle dans l’infiniment petit (la cellule) jusqu’à l’infiniment grand (la planète). elle est l’alpha et l’omega de notre monde et nous nous trouvons au milieu. il y a dans la sphère une vraie densité spirituelle, une évidence. prenez un enfant et une sphère, elle gagnera toujours parmi les autres jouets. elle vous invite à la toucher, à la prendre, à taper dedans avec le pied... elle nous appelle constamment. une sphère n’est jamais ratée, quelle que soit sa matière, elle est toujours magique.

ton plus gros challenge réalisé ou à réaliser ?
ce sera simplement mon dernier jour de me dire je suis heureux de la vie telle que je l’ai vécue, que c’est vraiment celle que je voulais vivre.

ton rituel dans ton métier ?
il se déroule avant la page blanche. je ne sors la fameuse page blanche qu’une fois que je sais ce que je veux y dessiner. la page n’arrive qu’au moment où je sais. je me méfie de la main, elle a des facilités et des virtuosités de forme. si vous laissez faire la main, elle va griffonner des choses parce qu’elle les aime ou bien sait les dessiner naturellement. je ne donne de stylo à ma main que lorsque mon cerveau est en mesure de lui dire exactement ce qu’elle va faire et qu’elle va obéir. on en revient toujours à cette matière première qu’est le cerveau, à sa capacité à imaginer et concevoir à changer en une fraction de seconde la forme, l’échelle, les matériaux... la main n’est là que pour retranscrire et fixer la pensée. ainsi, lorsqu’un projet se termine il me faut immédiatement en enlever toutes les traces, les prototypes, les maquettes etc... il faut qu’il disparaisse pour ne pas influencer ce qui va prendre place en suite. que ce soit pour réfléchir, dessiner, écrire, il faut utiliser un terrain vierge, donc repasser au vide pour laisser la place.
"There is a form of permanence in it, from its existence on a natural scale in the infinitely small (the cell) to the infinitely large (the planet). It is the alpha and omega of our world and we are in the middle. »
the type of design that annoys you?
predictability, because it's laziness. the hand thing mentioned earlier avoids predictability. when a person - singer, artist, politician - becomes predictable it becomes boring and no longer interests you. that's also true in our fields, what's more, because the things we do survive us and therefore have to be even less predictable.

if you weren't a designer, what profession would you do?
i would probably have tried to create a profession that was between psychology and surgery, which in a non-hierarchical way could use their tools, without putting them on a higher level than each other.

a favourite place to find you?
I'm usually found in my office, it's set up on two floors, the first one with the team and the second one where I'm alone. I alternate between sociability and the most absolute savagery, it allows me to manage both states.

your favourite object? how much does it weigh?
i would say my watch. an audemars piguet watch that was given to me. i didn't have a particular fascination for watches or accessories before. it's a rather heavy object, which i take off in the evening or at the time of the security passages when i take the plane. in a few seconds, i miss on my wrist this weight which creates an imbalance that i have integrated and which is no longer there. it's a weight that i couldn't do without. when i put it on in the morning, it's cold and it takes a few minutes to bring it back to body temperature, there's this inertia of the material that will set its temperature which i find quite beautiful. The only moment when our temperature is going to be fixed on this environment will be the day of our death, when we will no longer be in reaction to maintain it. that's what I find beautiful in objects, the object dies and is brought back to life because you bring it back to your own vital temperature.

what's important in your life?
where I would like there to be a few grams left. maybe not much because I'm not presumptuous about objects.
I'm thinking more about my descendants. What's important is what will survive me, that's what will keep my temperature up. I don't believe in a second life, nor in eternal life, I've chosen to bet everything on this one.


I have a cable5g bracelet in 925 silver and a 21g ribbon bracelet in 925 slick polishedsilver. the ribbon by its shape allows me to put it on and take it off, to live each time this little temperature experience that I mentioned.

if le grammeit was a thing then, what would it be?
it would be a key without me knowing yet whichle gramme door it is destined to. it would be a key without me yet knowing which door it is destined for. it has the potential to access something other than what it really is and even as an object is something that we like to see, have and touch. the key takes on this double reading of the thing that serves and at the same time has an extra soul.

photographer: antoine harinthe
comments collected by chloé prigent
"That's what I find beautiful in objects, the object dies and is brought back to life because you bring it back to your own vital temperature. »
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