We chatted to artist Steaven Richard about his atelier’s recently-unveiled collaboration with Rémy Martin.
Ever-demonstrating a perennial focus on craftsmanship and development, Rémy Martin has chosen to join forces with artist Steaven Richard to showcase XO. For this project, Richard has immersed himself in the world of Rémy Martin, evoking parallels between the firmly rooted traditional origins of cognac, and those of artistic metalwork.
We chatted to Richard about the collaboration.
Why did a collaboration between Rémy and Atelier Steaven Richard make sense?
SR : Rémy Martin and I share the same values: we have a strong bond with the earth, a special connection with materials and a finely-honed vision of how the process flows. After a long series of productive discussions with the House, I was able to use my vision and expertise as a metalwork artist, and we built this work together.
Where did the inspiration for the idea come from?
SR : I was inspired by Rémy Martin’s know-how, where art and craftsmanship converge. These are two essential pillars for creation. We require the elements and nature. Art and craftsmanship both appeal to the senses and to our human instincts. You also need a sense of daring and the ability to challenge yourself if you are to step out of your comfort zone and create something that is bigger and more powerful than you could imagine! You need to know how to master the tools, yet never lose sight of your intuition. That intuition must be your guide throughout the process of creation.
What are some parallels behind the brands?
SR : There is a same hunger for excellence. I am from the world of decorative arts and this is a world that is always looking for perfection.
Why do you think the worlds of art/metalwork and alcohol merge so well? (E.g. both the finer things in life/both for enjoyment?)
SR : My own know-how shares the same connection with the earth, nature and excellence. Keeping your feet firmly rooted on the ground actually allows your imagination to grow. And there’s the idea of verticality again: for me, the vines conjured up the idea of a forest stretching up towards the sky, and from there I thought about working in partnership with the House.
How did the creative process start?
SR : I went to Cognac to visit the vineyards and the cellars, where I could learn about each stage of the manufacturing process. Experiencing life at the cooperage and in the vineyards and cellars completely changed how I understood the profession. The patinas on the cognac sampling pallets, from the youngest right through to the oldest, reminded me of the bronze patinas in my atelier.
But what has given me the biggest thrill is working as a team and gradually forging something beautiful together. And that applies to both Rémy Martin and to my atelier; we created a unit and collaborated as a whole on this project. The final work emerged as a result of this collaboration.
What did you enjoy most, and what were the biggest challenges?
SR : My biggest challenge was that we have a tasting experience, and on the other a visual experience in anamorphosis construction and deconstruction.
Who is this collaboration designed in mind for/what kind of person?
SR : I’m talking to people who may have been initiated to a cognac experience in the past, and that will find this same experience on another visual dimension.
What’s been the feedback on this collaboration?
SR : The result of our collaboration is the fruit of hard work and boldness on both our parts. I was incredibly moved when the work was revealed. It is the result of a shared history, a mingling of power and authenticity, and it brings the beauty of craftsmanship to art.
How long did this take start to finish from creative concept to the final product?
SR : It took a year to be able to transcribe what I had been able to integrate from the world of Rémy Martin to the final product.
The limited edition Rémy Martin bottle designed by Steaven Richard is available exclusively at Selfridges online and in-store, just in time for Father’s Day.