Folia by Noé Duchaufour Lawrance
During the January 2017 edition of Maison & Objet Paris, French designer and interior architect, Noé Duchaufour Lawrance, in collaboration with French crystal manufacturer St. Louis, launched Folia, a 25-piece collection of crystal tableware, lighting, and for the first time in the company’s history, a collection of furniture. There is also a limited edition series of 100 hand mirrors and a chartreuse green vase. Inspired by the lush forest and foliage of Moselle, France, the home of St. Louis where he travelled frequently during this unique 30-month collaboration, Noé Duchaufour Lawrance captures the essence of this heritage and landscape in a luxurious collection that radiates light, warmth and elegance.
TLmag: What drew you to this project with St. Louis? Was there something particular about crystal, the process of making it or its attributes which attracted you to it?
Noé Duchaufour Lawrance: Saint-Louis is history, tradition, craftsmanship, crystal and France. Working with crystal requires knowledge and patience, and I was intrigued by the challenge. You are often designing for someone else and it’s necessary to find a file rouge that connects you and the commissioner. We knew that we wanted to create a big collection and ultimately it was visiting the factory and their archives, the forest, that gave me the context. It took us 3 years to create something that we were proud of.
TLmag: The textural contrasts in this collection, specifically with the furniture and lighting, is striking; the solidity and lean lines of wood against the jagged and transparent surfaces of the crystal. Can you talk a bit about this, and your interest in introducing wood into this collection which was a first for St Louis?
N.D.L.: Saint-Louis asked me to introduce furniture in the collection, and I knew that I didn’t want to design furniture covered in crystal. The inspiration came from visiting the Saint-Louis archives, where old pieces from past collections and other inspirational pieces are saved in wooden boxes. I wanted to use the same idea of the box – where you create a world of enclosure for the crystal and where the crystal is the main character in a theatre of light.
TLmag: How was the specific cut and pattern of the crystal developed?
N.D.L.: The cut of the Folia crystal is inspired by a leaf. Simplicity is powerful and it’s not easy to achieve. The patterns are repeated and the glasses act as kaleidoscopes, where the diffraction of light gives you the impression of purity. From organic leaf shapes, we arrived at a geometrical motif of honeycomb in diffracted light.
TLmag: How did light influence this collection? The refractions and reflections feel like a part of the object itself, and the patterned shadows and warm glow cast in the actual lighting fixtures is radiant, like rays of light breaking the surface of a dense forest.
N.D.L.: The connection between crystal and light is immediate, but as a heavy material it was important for me to infuse the design with lightness. The Saint-Louis forest and its light were key inspirations for this collection, as they are as imposing as they are magnificent. My work has always been inspired by nature, I like the idea of continuity and of the webs of interconnection that are seen in nature. This inspiration is based on emotion, by contemplating and immersing myself in the natural environment, its shapes, its materials, its lights and its systems. The cut of the Folia crystal is inspired by the playful movement of light with leaves, as seen through the tree canopy, and how wind and light interact with them to form beautiful patterns.