MOHD interviews: Constance Guisset, french elegance with an international twist

7 March 2022

Looking for the perfect movement: the evolution of one of the most interesting faces in French design

Does feminine design exist? Constance Guisset has no doubts on this issue: gender distinctions, in the field of design as well as in all the others, do nothing but fuel discrimination. Author of Vertigo, the best-selling lamp by Petite Friture, one of the best known, photographed and loved ever, Guisset is the bearer of minimal but at the same time lively and creative elegance. Her projects bring informal refinement, comfort and beauty into the environment and they all share an aesthetic that, as she herself says, originates in the search for movement. From the Sol rocking chair for Molteni & C. to the Nubilo sofa for Petite Friture, naturally passing through the Vertigo and up to the more recent Dolmen sofa for Pierre Frey, her designs are a tribute to dynamics. Roundness, unexpected accents, recurring colors and formal purity make them suitable for interiors of various styles, easy to insert and decisive. This approach can be seen not only in the furnishings and lighting she designs for the most important brands, but also in the interior projects, and in the small forays that Guisset makes in fashion and jewel design.

Can you tell us more about the conception of the Dolmen collection for Pierre Frey?

I was excited to design modules that can be put together in order to build infinite architectures. The idea is that you chose some modules and you can arrange them as you want. Your sofa can evolve in time, according to your needs. Regarding the shape itself, I was inspired by geology, by a trip to Iceland where I saw huge columns of basalt made of an infinity of hexagons.

DOLMEN by Pierre Frey

Vertigo was a huge success, what is the evolution in the Vertigo Nova?

Vertigo Nova is a mutation of the Vertigo lamp. The main idea was to work on the light itself, to soften it. It is almost like the light is now immaterial, at the center of the lamp, with a slick of ribbons dancing around it.

What was the inspiration behind the Fusca vase for Bosa?

For Fusca, I was interested to work on very voluptuous and organic shapes. I am curious of what these generous and abstract lines bring to mind. Some see a flower, other see the collar of a dress. It appears and disappears.

What does it mean to be a woman in design?

I know what it means to be a designer. I am not sure what it means to be a woman in design, as I don’t think there is such a thing as a feminine sensibility. My exhibition for the mudac in Lausanne in 2016 was about this: there was two identical rooms. In the first one, everything was in shades of grey. In the second one, you could find the same objects but in colors. Why people think that objects look more rational when they are grey rather than when they are pink? It is still the exact same design in the end. Prejudice is in the eye of the beholder, not in the objects. If there is one thing female designers have in common, it is still having to fight against these prejudices.

Sol armchair by Molteni&C.

From architecture to design to accessories: all your projects have an aesthetic coherence. Is this the secret of elegance?

I think my objects are all born from the same obsessions: movement, lightness, surprise, for instance. During my solo shows, I realized there is a cohesiveness between my creations but it is not on purpose. Elegance is often linked to harmony, so perhaps there is something there. But elegance can also derive from surprise, from a dissonant detail. It can be fun too.

Cover picture by Felipe Ribon

Nubilio armchair by Petite Friture
Petite Friture Nubilo Armchair
Molteni & C. Sol Armchair
Pierre Frey Dolmen Sofa
Petite Friture Vertigo
Petite Friture Vertigo

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