Who They Are
"We started out wanting to create brands. We were coming from different creative worlds, architecture and publishing, which laid the groundwork for what came next. We had this common passion for branding. That was the starting point. However, the story of this studio is also a story about family, friendship, shared pleasures and at the heart of it all, art. The studio has flourished thanks to chance encounters and our dear clients. Over the years, we had the privilege of working with inspiring people with whom we shared more than just projects.
From the early days of the studio, one specific, momentous encounter stands out. Pierre Bergé. A relationship based on limitless trust. For 10 years, we collaborated with him and Yves Saint Laurent on culturally rich and fascinating projects. He entrusted us with the identity of his label Andante, the auction house Pierre Bergé & Associés, the foundation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent and even the Zola-Dreyfus Museum and Maison Jean Cocteau.
Architecture came to complement our branding work rather quickly. Pierre Bergé’s auction house was the first global project alongside Gwenaelle Grandjean, now a landscaper whom we love to work with. It was the first project where branding and architecture came together as one.
Meeting with Marie-France and Bernard Cohen was also a key moment in the studio’s progression. We were slowly learning about retail and service, two aspects we hadn’t really explored up until that point. Creating MERCI in under 6 months was one of the studio’s more challenging adventures. Under Marie-France’s tutelage, we learned to make simple things pretty and desirable; we learned about finesse, the importance of packaging and the attention to detail. We understood the level of precision and the surprising, sometimes accidental gestures, that transform a simple shop into a whole experience, a vibrant place that lives. MERCI changed the Parisian retail space, shaped a whole neighbourhood, and we had the chance to be along for the ride, using this opportunity to learn every step of the way.
A few months later, we made the impulsive decision to head to New York City and open a studio there, with no particular vision of where it might lead us. We strived to remain small and nimble in Paris and believed that creating intimate, autonomous creative studios would prove stronger than one large operation. Upon meeting Reynald Philippe at the beginning of his own career, we invited him to join the adventure as an associate partner.
Fortuitous encounters eventually led us to the emerging team of the NoMad Hotel, who entrusted us to take on the creative direction of the New York City hotel imagined by Jacques Garcia. Our initial scope was branding but the project soon took another dimension when we offered to dress the walls of the hotel rooms and common spaces with the work of artists from our Portraits de Villes collection. Photographs excerpted from the books combined with our carefully curated art cemented the hotel’s narrative. This undertaking was noticed by American media and became a reference.
NoMad also introduced us to Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, the hospitality duo behind one of the world’s most coveted restaurants, Eleven Madison Park. They taught us how to build around boundless energy on the ground floor of the hotel.
Collaborations with Festen and Perseus soon followed, for the creation of two major hotels: Le Pigalle and Les Roches Rouges. Both became honest examples of our ability to accessorize hotels to strengthen the architecture and narrative. Meeting Edouard Daehn and William Kriegel was also a turning point in our growth. The studio asserted itself in the realm of architecture and embraced Le Barn project, building a strong brand and a place that resonated with its identity. Le Barn has become a staple for weekend getaways and dinner parties with friends, just on the outskirts of Paris.
In the midst of all of these nascent projects, we’ve always managed to make room for our own product development. As soon as an idea would surface, we would lay the foundation and produce a limited edition run. That’s how our own brand DNA and famous kraft paper bag became iconic when MERCI opened. And in our hearts, the Portraits de Villes book collection takes up a lot of real estate. As we’ve invited artists to tell the story of a specific town through their lens, we have been granted the privilege of working closely and forging relationships with incredible talents. This collection has consistently followed our evolution, publishing 2 to 3 books every year. The magic of our studio is to be able to pour into it everything that we love so dearly.
That is why be-poles is becoming Saint-Lazare. To be able to draw from this creative strength and build upon it without constraint. The creative effervescence poured into our projects feeds our craftsmanship and expertise, leading to the constant development of new ideas and objects that are so intricately woven into our daily lives, passions, and hobbies. This talented community that we have fostered continues to thrive in our new ateliers, where each person can bring ideas to the table and is given the tools to see them mature. Sharing our knowledge is a crucial part of our ecosystem. In 2021, our story continues with Saint-Lazare, a new chapter begins where we choose to reaffirm our singularity and our savoir-faire. Having recently relocated to a new studio in the heart of Paris, the 9th arrondissement, we have imagined this space as a creative workshop for “doing” and “creating” at 60 rue Saint-Lazare."
Antoine Ricardou, Clémentine Larroumet, Reynald Philippe.From Saint Lazarre.co
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