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Talks 2024

Objets extraordinaires

At the heart of Jouin Manku’s practice is the desire to create what the studio calls “objets extraordinaires.” Depending on the context, their typology may vary—chandeliers, staircases, screens, large-scale installations, architectural envelopes… Yet, they all share a common goal. To surpass expectations or turn them on their head. To attract the gaze, make people stop in their tracks, inspire a touch of wonder.
In many ways, they constitute a project within a project. Particular attention is devoted to them, as well as a substantial amount of research and development. Their particularity is to push the limits and to propose something never seen before, embarking clients on a creative voyage whose direction may be change en route depending on discoveries made along the way, but whose end point is always something unexpected.

To imagine each, the studio assembles a special team, working in parallel to the overall project and consisting of in-house designers as well as outside artisans, artists or engineers. Some objets extraordinaires are produced solely using traditional crafts; others combine savoir-faire that may appear diametrically opposed.

The façade of the Van Cleef & Arpels building in Seoul brought together an octogenarian craftsman specialized in the age-old art of celadon and a hi-tech boat-building company. The result is a geometrically complex, lattice-like aluminum structure clad with celadon panels, which twists and turns. The Centenary Chandelier at La Mamounia hotel in Marrakesh is composed of both glass sections industrially manufactured in Czechia and decorative metallic elements handmade by Moroccan artisans.

Each objet extraordinaire is conceived to have a particular presence and a certain intrigue. Some impress by their scale, others by the way they seem to defy the laws of physics. A suspended, transparent, acrylic and polished chrome bar in a Shanghai company headquarters is so ethereal that appears to float, thus confounding the onlooker as to its very existence. 

And while many are the product of great technical prowess, their aim is to appear effortless and to blend harmoniously with the rest of their environment. As Sanjit and Patrick say, “It’s not about the objects themselves. It’s about how they make a room vibrate in a very different way.” In other words, how they create an extraordinary moment of magic.

by Ian Philips

Van Cleef & Arpels facade in Séoul

The Chandelier at La Mamounia

Other projects