Design Parade 2019: Toulon in the spotlight

Luc Bertrand, JPPM © villa Noailles, 2019_Zou Maë ! _1 (3)

Already a partner of the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyères for the last three years, American Vintage decided to head to Toulon this year as well. From June 27 to 30, the Marseille brand supported the 2019 edition of the famous Design Parade for the first time. Here, we met the French designer duo, Céline Thibault and Géraud Pellottiero, winners of the American Vintage Interior Design Award.

Also see: Pascale Mussard, high priestess of Design Parade in Toulon

This year, the theme of Design Parade focused on decorating the room of a Mediterranean home. How did this inspire you?

Céline Thibault and Géraud Pellottiero: Almost immediately, we knew that we wanted to create a bathroom. Our project is both immersive and experiential. You don’t just “see” our room: you hear it, smell it, touch it and experience it.

It’s a bathroom that calls on all five senses?

In a way, yes. We wanted visitors to “rub up” against our architecture the way they would rub their skin in a bath, so we used real soap as the main material for the bathtub. We developed this soap, called “Petits Toulonnais,” with the Plaisant artisanal soap-maker, based in the outskirts of Toulon. The soap has a strong smell, but you can also touch it. In terms of sound, the air is filled with the song of cicadas.

The central position of the bathtub almost creates the impression of a ritualistic room…

Absolutely. This bathroom is culturally hybrid. The smell of the soap reminds you of showers you take after a dip in the sea, at your grandparents’ house or in a vacation home in Southern France. It’s a mix of calm, salt, warmth and fatigue. We combined these sensations with the Japanese bath culture. A public place where you can unwind and take care of yourself, regardless of your lifestyle or age. The suspended bars of soap recall this Asian culture, which we were immersed in for three years during our artist residency in Kyoto.

Plaisant artisanal soap-makers in La Seyne-sur-Mer.

AMV Journal is a space dedicated to encounters, discovery and travel. Every week, explore the musts, portraits and inspirations of American Vintage and its creation studio.