Mathieu Lehanneur, is a French designer who is on the forefront of international design scene; he is also one of the few in his generation to use his talents in a variety of areas, beyond furniture. He combines design, science, art and technology as poetic-communicative components to achieve maximum welfare for human beings. Air, water, sound and light are his favorite work materials. Mathieu Lehanneur designs for brands such as Veuve Clicquot, Issey Miyake, Christofle, Cartier, Poltrona Frau, JCDecaux, Nike, among others, with the same proficiency as he creates spectacular projects for Saint Hilaire Church (Melle, France), for the Diaconesses Hospital (Paris), for the new hotspot of the Parisian scene, Electric, for the Pullman Hotels (London and Paris), for the Centre Pompidou (Paris), for Audemars-Piguet (Hong Kong, Basel, Miami) and for the upcoming cultural center Lab Cambridge (Boston, US), opening next July. Mathieu Lehanneur was invited to lecture at TED Conference programs (2009) and in 2012 to have his book published by the German publishing house Gestalten. Paola Antonelli, curator for architecture and design at MoMa (NY) describes him as “a champion of the intellectual agility of today’s design”. In order to create his science-inspired humanistic projects, the designer considers human beings as complex structures which need more than chairs, but need air to breathe, sustainable food, good health, and love to live better.
1/ Can you introduce yourself?
I’m a designer, of things and places. A designer who works and operates like a doctor. Patients with different backgrounds come to me and explain their problems. I study their case and give them my diagnosis, I conceive and design the appropriate treatment.
2/ How do you define design?
I don’t want to give it a final definition. We have the chance to work in a blurry environment. There is no frontier to our intervention, if I define it I will limit it. This is why my definition must be as wide as can be : Design is to the modern man, what silex was to the prehistoric man, the best way to progress.
3/ Must design necessarily be functional?
The functionality problematic was settled many years ago. We have everything we need, what more do you want? What function hasn’t been filled yet? The . I’d rather talk about relation, instead of function. To me that last innovative functional object was the airbag: invisible, immaterial, and made to save your life!
4/ What do you dream of designing?
I dream of creating a system to reduce the intensity of the terrestrial gravity. It brings us down. Imagine if we could be lighter, like on the moon.
5/ Your next project?
I work for a new coffee shop in the Louvre, the interior design of the Grand Palais, an electric bicycle, a boat and a new urban lightning system.,/