Interview with Marseilles designer Axel Chay

Axel Chay, a self-taught designer based in Southern France, talks to us about his work, his inspirations and his recent collaboration with American Vintage. 

When did you start working in design? 
10 years ago. Several years went by before I actually made my first piece, which was the pink Septem stool, followed by the green floor lamp. I had the chance to display several of my pieces in a gallery. I got great media coverage and things really took off from there. I’ve only been designing full-time for two years now.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 
I really delved into the design culture pretty late, because my parents were mainly interested in contemporary things. It was my wife Melissa (who now works with me) who introduced me to all this. In the end, the inspiration comes from digesting shapes and colours. I really like kinetic art, for example. My brother, who also works with me, loves Donald Judd.

Photo : Archik

How would you describe your style? 
Very free and inspired. I do things without restrictions.

You recently made several window display creations for our AMV Kids launch. How did this collaboration go? 
I was on holiday in Puglia when I got the call, so I had time to think about what I wanted to create. My idea was to reinterpret the hardness and flexibility of the tube, which is my signature. So, a child’s bead maze was a perfect choice. American Vintage is a brand that I love. Everyone who lives in Marseilles knows someone who works there.

What are your next projects? 
I’m exhibiting from 18 to 23 April 2023 at the Salone del Mobile in Milan with my friends from “13 desserts”. Soon, I’ll be able to move into a new space, where I’ll work with my brother. It will be an office, showroom and workspace rolled into one. It will be great to finally be together again! 

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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.