Material Tendencies: Jean-Marie Massaud
Anita Hackethal spoke to Jean-Marie Massaud, whose work marries high-tech qualities with timeless elegance, lightness and comfort, about materials.
Jean-Marie Massaud’s work marries, on the one hand, strong high-tech qualities with timeless elegance, lightness and warm comfort on the other. Anita Hackethal of Architonic met up with the French architect and designer whose work ranges from industrial and interior design, through major architectural projects, to one-off items and series production.
Anita Hackethal, Architonic: Which material would you choose if you had to restrict yourself to working with just one for the next three years?
Jean-Marie Massaud: This is very challenging. I don’t think I have a certain style or preference, so I am open to every kind of material. I like natural materials that are versatile and efficient. Usually it is the merging of high technology and natural material incarnation. I always like to explore the competence of industrial potential and then combine it with something more gentle and warm. I like for example the democratic and affordable aspect of a plastic chair, but then I want to have a soft touch on my bottom. So I add felt or some other natural material to the plastic shell.
… and within the architectural field? Any preferences?
My personal sensitivity is to put some rough stones on the floor, or some rough minerals. If you are outdoors, I also like decking. I always enjoy going barefoot and therefore I prefer natural materials, not alone because of the feeling. For global projects, I like it when it is pure, but not clinical like a hospital. If there is a wall with some Mashrabiya, it could all be just pure concrete. But this all depends on the context. I don’t have a recipe.
With the Axor WaterDream project you had free choice of material. Can you say a few words about your piece Mimicry?
I wanted to make a faucet that disappears in the landscape of the bathroom. The simple geometric shapes create a landscape of white marble that harmonises with the floating water in a very elegant way. The setting generates a natural ambience that is a friendly contrast to the otherwise more industrial identity of the company. As an architect, you usually use white marble in the high-end market, like for the interior of a luxury hotel. This natural stone is pleasant, sensual, but at the same time it is a statement and it is durable. The marble faucet is perfectly integrated into the architecture. It enhances the room’s emotional appeal.