French designer Hubert le Gall gets his inspiration in the bath.
“Take it off ,” instructs Hubert le Gall. No, I’m not posing nude for the French artist. We are about to take a photo together at the Ruinart VIP lounge at Art Stage 2016 when he spots the unsightly lanyard dangling from my neck. He means no disrespect; he just cannot stop himself from correcting an eyesore. This attention to detail is how le Gall, 55, manages to produce some of the most whimsical furniture. He has made conversation pieces – consoles decorated with snowflake-like flowers, rabbit candle holders and the like – that are featured in art fairs, hotels and homes. You cannot create nature-inspired designs without being somewhat observant. In his hands, little details are shaped into capricious designs. A bronze bull cabinet, for instance, makes a provocative first impression. A bull’s head tops serpentine gold lines meant to be the animal’s intestines. “There are two kinds of artists in this world – the ones who stick to a particular style, and the others who are always interested in new experiences. I am the latter,” he says.
It explains why the artist worked with glass for the first time in his recent collaboration with Ruinart, instead of using his favoured bronze. “I wanted to express the relationship between the men working the vineyards and nature,” says le Gall, who has a longstanding relationship with the champagne house. “I chose glass because the technique of blowing and breathing life into it gives it human presence.” For this artwork, 12 sculptures in shades of wintry white and soft gold represent the full cycle of a harvest. His inspiration for the pieces might have been the bare Ruinart vineyards in France, but, most of the time, he gets his ideas in the bath. “I stay maybe an hour in my bath. Just plain water, very hot,” says le Gall. “It’s that moment in the water when I am completely relaxed that my vision is the clearest and I have my best ideas. “You know, imagination is special because it comes to you, but it should also be something that you work to get.”
“IMAGINATION IS SPECIAL BECAUSE IT COMES TO YOU, BUT IT SHOULD ALSO BE SOMETHING YOU WORK TO GET.”
MAXALTO PLUS In addition to the Italian pieces, Peter Tay used his own accessories to create the living quarters of an imaginary jet-setter.
Space Furniture, 77 Bencoolen Street.
Interior designer to A-listers Peter Tay borrowed from his jam-packed collection of curios to breathe life into a furniture showroom. In his project to showcase pieces from acclaimed Italian label Maxalto for its 40th anniversary, Tay transformed the third level of Space Furniture into the living quarters of a well-travelled, cultured inhabitant. “There wasn’t enough life in the original floor plan by Maxalto Asia,” says Tay. To address this, he designed the space to evoke the sense of a journey. And the person making it? A discerning jet-setter. Says Tay of this imaginary resident:“He picks up fancy accessories on his travels, puts them into his luggage, and smiles when it is time to open the bag and put them on the tabletop.” To enliven the already chic space furnished with Maxalto pieces such as a green marble-topped Pathos table, L-shaped Lucrezia sofa and velvetupholstered seats from the Dives collection, Tay added his own eclectic accessories: a pair of Louboutin pumps encased in acrylic, a red Valentine typewriter from the ’60s, a sculpture that resembles a Chinese brush stroke, to name a few. The result not only shows off the plushness of Maxalto’s designs – “it’s about quietness, solitude, furniture that talks to you” – but also the wide-ranging travels and infl uences of the mind behind the display.
Equip-bathrooms, #04-14 Singapore Shopping Centre.
SOAKING IN LUXURY
Experts in the benefi ts of “me” time, British bath and basin manufacturer Victoria + Albert has introduced the Barcelona, a free-standing tub with soft curves and smooth lines to create a calm and comfortable environment to rest in. Made of volcanic limestone and resin, the bath has insulating properties that keep water warmer for longer, ensuring you have more than enough time to soak up vitality.
MACSK, #01-14 Sultan Link.
If glassmaker Lasvit and furniture brand Campana Brothers had one thing in common, it would be their love for sweet treats, evident in their collaboration named the Candy Collection. The Sphere chandelier features bulbs encased in handmade glass so enticingly colourful you’d want to lick it. The designers know it, too. The table lamp in the series is called Lollipop.