The 2019 winners of the Design Parade of Toulon, Céline Thibault and Géraud Pellottiero were asked to decorate selected American Vintage window displays, from Berlin to London by way of Antwerp and Paris. In an ode to nature, they recreated the warm atmosphere of Southern France with installations combining cork slabs, dried flowers, mirrors and quotes from Marcel Pagnol.
How do you divide the work between the two of you?
Géraud Pellottiero: We develop the projects together. Céline collects the details, colour harmonies and materials. I think about the spatial set-up of the installations and how to integrate the visitors in order to offer them a real experience. It’s a two-way interplay between my architectural drawings, Céline’s invention of sensations and the actual production by us and many others.
For the 2019 Design Parade, you drew inspiration from Southern France to create a bathroom. What is it about this region that interests you?
The South is a state of mind. The light is warm, almost scorching… The land is dry, arid and caramel-coloured and people appreciate the simplicity of raw materials there. The locals also have strong temperaments and we like that!
How do the texts from Marcel Pagnol that you chose fit into your artistic approach?
Whether in the form of a poem or fragments, text has always served as a base for us. We generally write a poem at the start of each project. In this case, Marcel Pagnol was an obvious choice, as his description of the land coincided with the simplicity of this Southern life that struck a chord with us.
Can you describe the steps that went into creating the window displays, from the inspiration to the production? Who did you work with?
We wanted to produce as much as we could by ourselves. It all starts with the cork and these big slabs, selected from the production of Maryse and Maurice Junqué, paired with Pagnol’s writing. During the life-size prototype phase, everything is possible. We work with artisans who aren’t afraid of taking on a challenge to find a solution adapted to the story that we’re writing. Céline and I are in an active dynamic. We test, we try, we get things wrong and we move forward. The first tests in shops allowed us to readjust the installations in order to reflect our narrative intentions more closely.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when decorating these window displays?
Trying to give volume and depth to a space that is often perceived in 2D. We also took into account the distance between viewers and the window, depending on the sidewalk space. It was also a mobility challenge: we had to go on a tour in our lorry to set up all the window displays. This was something new for us!