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Art and Spirit: The Agility of the Gesture Creates Grace

Jul 2, 2020
Studio MVW has been evolving for 15 years in the heart of the Shanghai megalopolis, which is experiencing tremendous growth as an economic and financial capital, while increasingly positioning itself as the Asian hub for the art and collectable design market. By breathing a welcome breath of renewal...
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Text by Lise Coirier

Studio MVW has been evolving for 15 years in the heart of the Shanghai megalopolis, which is experiencing tremendous growth as an economic and financial capital, while increasingly positioning itself as the Asian hub for the art and collectable design market. By breathing a welcome breath of renewal on this very dynamic territory, characterised by the creation of exclusive projects in the retail and hospitality sectors as well as in art and design furniture, the Franco-Chinese duo of architect Virginie Moriette and designer Ming Xu has forged a strong and recognised identity in which an elegant signature nourishes a spirit merging East and West. The common thread: the combination of nature and culture that irrigates the various projects, and in particular the design of spaces affirming a strong sense of proportion and a sharp balance between light, well-being and sustainability.

Studio MVW seeks to counterbalance the frenzy of the Asian continent with a cultural introspection and slowness. This central choice is based on an indepth reflection of the context in which each of the projects is deployed, and defines the philosophy and the means used to meet the needs of each of its customers. Analysis is linked with a stylistic composition that combines the sense of aesthetics with the choice of beautiful materials, of textures that enhance the tactility and the quality of the environment, and the connection with nature that is one of the foundational elements of the conceptual approach. By playing with the scales of architecture and objects, Studio MVW also designs sculptural furniture that acts as an ideal showcase of the studio’s philosophy and know-how. Through a close collaboration with BSL gallery in Paris, its collections are exhibited at international fairs such as PAD Paris, PAD London and The Salon Art + Design fair in New York.

In the future, Studio MVW wants to anchor the perennial aspect of its designs by drawing from everyday observation, the basis of what could nourish an exceptional, contemporary life. The ephemeral and the sensational are of little interest to the duo, who share a conviction to deepen and innovate within what already exists, rather than to overproduce or follow trends. Going back to their roots to better create is the key to this duo’s approach, a unique approach, tailormade and differentiated, like a daily newspaper in a state of constant renewal. Instead of ‘lifestyles’, Studio MVW aims to promote the originality of a concept, with a harmonious and sensory character that gives it strength and impact from the point of view of experience, but also how the brand has lived, In the case of retail or hospitality spaces; when it comes to furniture design, the emphasis will be placed even more on the articulation between function and narration and on the feeling of the material.

Anchored in its time, Studio MVW is aware that the simultaneously peaceful and agitated spirit that we are faced with is in fact a reflection of a human and societal fragility specific to the era as the source of new meaningful concepts for the present and the future. This is a real opportunity that requires constant attention. Virginie Moriette and Ming Xu want to fit with this new temporality by inscribing their know-how and their ‘know-how-to-be’ within their innovative framework, in China, in Asia as well as internationally. The two creators of the studio, with their complementary skills and cultural crossovers, have the versatility to avoid falling into the clichés of the traditional Chinese form. Both are committed to developing and transmitting a conceptual and useful retranscription of the Eastern spirit through universally recognisable forms and creations. Their use, for example, of treated pink jade in a floating table top, or marble assembled into asymmetrical collages like precious pebbles, testifies to a desire to move away from decor in order to sublimate the form and the material, the contrasts, the uses and the proportions. While nature is a foundational element and a raw material, Studio MVW expresses it with the freedom of a creating gesture that is fully aware of the function.

In the future, the designing duo intends to cultivate and develop this creative singularity that is the basis of their renown, and for which they are increasingly consulted. Virginie Moriette and Ming Xu want in particular to capitalise on their very particular relationship with architecture in their projects and their furniture design. Strong volumes, sculptural elements, the concern for the atmosphere of a space rather than the stylistic effects – so many guiding axes for Studio MVW and its own talent for telling stories that are each unique and different, but which combine a welcome surprise and a fully embraced overall harmony.

This article is part of TLmag Special Edition: MVW Studio.

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Portrait Virginie Moriette & Ming Xu -Photo Credit: Manolo Yllera
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JINSHI Collection . With their Jinshi Collection, Studio MVW introduces a refined collection of limited edition jewels for the home, celebrating the beauty of pink jade. Jinshi, which literally translates as ‘golden stone,’ includes three different wall lighting fixtures, five variations around the console shape, as well as two different coffee tables – one featuring a large, round pink jade surface levitating over three golden spheres, the other based on a rectangular shape – and a set of three smaller table modules that can be arranged in various ways. Surfaces seems to float and there is a lightness and transparency that belies the weight of materials.
Aoyama Dessert Bar, Beijing . A Futuristic Interior that Mixes Tradition with Innovative Concepts for a Dynamic and Timeless Setting. . Studio MVW’s Aoyama Dessert Bar in Beijing is a perfect illustration of how much architecture can contribute to the launch of a new concept. By turning an idea into something tangible, design choices enable individuals not only to physically experiment with it, but also to incorporate it into their culture. For the creation of this new type of bar, which sells very contemporary, sophisticated desserts based on Japanese recipes, Studio MVW was asked to develop a space around the notions of nature, experimentation and traditional Asian codes.

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