Designer martin bedan: how not to become a consumer

Martine Bedin is one of the main and youngest members of the Memphis radical design group. In 2017, the star of the 80s turned 60. In addition to the iconic objects created by the Memphis period, her portfolio includes sinks and bidets for Tenas, buses (interiors only) for the city of Nîmes, Bieffe Plast office supplies, bags for Veha, decorative ceramics for Up and Up. In January 2018, the Rubelli boutique, which she renewed in Paris, opened its doors. Her items are sold by Galerie Pierre-Marie Giraud in Brussels, Gate5 in Monte Carlo, and drawings by the Antonelli Gallery in Milan.

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Alina Kovaleva in a special Paris interview, Martin Bedan told about how the profession of “designer” has changed and shared her thoughts about the future.

Светильник Супер, диз. Martin Bedan, 1981.

“In the late 1960s, when I started painting objects, it was the birth of industry. At that time, they began to produce furniture in factories, but design only moved from artisan to industrial history. And since the 1980s, large factories, primarily Italian, began to replicate object design. Since then, the design itself has remained itself, but I think the approach has become worse. The industry is not interested in “changing the world”, it is interested in selling.

Bathroom project for Italian company Tenax.

From the very beginning, I adhered to the anti-consumist position. I work as I did 40 years ago: a lot of reflection, artisans, masters ... Вы можете меня перенести в XVII век — я буду вести себя ровно так же. Делаю либо уникаты, либо очень маленькие серии. Мои объекты очень дорогие, долгие в производстве. Есть один пример, который я привожу всегда: если мы соберем все деньги, потраченные за жизнь одной семьей в ИКЕА, то этой суммы хватит на несколько красивых и дорогих предметов. Лучше все-таки копить на добротные вещи: красивые и качественные они существуют вне времени. Я убеждена, что нужно создавать то, что в будущем станет антиквариатом. И поскольку я сама постепенно становлюсь антиквариатом (Мартин смеется), мне симпатична эта мысль.

VAZ Ostia series. 2009

Do you have any favorite periods in design? Those periods when things, especially furniture, were the result of thinking about lifestyle changes. The so-called “big moves” in design, such as William Morris, con. XVII– early. XVIII centuries. and the 1920s. in France and Italy ... In addition, I like everything related to marquetry, handicraft ... Biedermeier in Germany, Poland, Russia. I love Secession. I don’t think that something new has appeared in modern design since the 1990s.

Project La Villette.

Do you think that nationality plays a role in the work of the designer, that this affects the result? My grandmother was born in Venezuela, she was an emigrant from Europe. I moved to Italy at the age of 18 - there I learned how to draw furniture. She spent a lot of time in the Apennines (Martin is just a few years old in Paris). My children live in Athens and Salzburg ... When the son was small, he played football alone. He ran all over the court and said that he did not understand what his nationality was, so he plays for two teams at once. If we talk about cultural affiliation, in my case it is a Mediterranean culture. I consider myself a southerner.

Vase, diz. Martin Bedan. 80s. Memphis.

Now interior design becomes mandatory for the image of the owner. I occasionally make interiors, but I hate this activity. I do not understand people. It is clear that through the interior they demonstrate status. Today, to have a social status - it means to be the same as idols that are customarily admired. Everyone wants to get something that already exists - they show pictures in the magazine and say: “I like that”. I can not do that. Some time ago I made one house in Toulouse. Customers immediately told me: “Go! Do what you see fit! ”. Today it is a rarity.

Церковь Exeter, диз. Martin Bedan. Acne.

From the very beginning, I adhered to the anti-consumist position. I work as I did 40 years ago: a lot of reflection, artisans, masters ...

In the design, too, there are fashion trends. How do you feel about this? Fashion does not bother me. I recently completed the interiors of the Rubelli luxury Italian fabric store in Paris. They asked me to completely redo everything. All summer I worked only to eliminate what was before. The so-called "fake", which is a lot in boutiques - suspended ceilings, drywall, all sorts of "thickening", built-in lights. We all “scraped” to the native stone and plastered it in order to avoid the effect of the “old Parisian laying”. I greatly increased the space. Real cloud - matte paint, terrazzo, pastel colors. When we began to photograph - the camera could not focus. It was the effect of the shot points - everything is blurry. Now, I thought, finally, their fine textiles would come to the fore. But in the end they all covered with carpets, forced them with furniture, put some pillows, put gilding, hung with paintings and curtains, which turned out to be a completely different room. The space has disappeared. And this was done by them just because of the presence of a large number of Russian customers (laughs).

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And in France, people try to follow fashion. So much so that there is “designer” furniture and “non-design”. Today's customers often lack the patience to realize that they can move away from fashion. I believe that most of today's collectors, including those collecting collection design, do it simply because they need to buy. The question of status, investment, consumption.

Bar Charlotte, Diesel. Martin Bedan. 1987. Memphis.

Do you like any of the young designers? I am now more interested in artists. Louise Sartor, for example. I teach a lot in art schools and I see hundreds of students who can create, but today they do not have universal acceptance, although they are worthy. People often lack education, willingness to go looking for something new in not very famous galleries and exhibitions, to be interested in what artists are doing.

Composition. Martin Bedan with Me-Tu Perret. 2014. Speerstra Foundation, Apples.

Let's talk about today. What are you interested in doing now? I declare to my students: "I am not poor, I have a beautiful apartment, occupation, family, I live freely - I do what I like." I sell the previous collections, I create new ones. Much attention is paid to production, materials. And I do not ask my gallery owners what needs to be done, what will "go", etc. Therefore, I know that my things will live their lives.

Special edition WERK No.21. Design agency WORK.