Rémy Martin team up with Charles Kaisin and Atelier Thiery to celebrate Charlotte Perriand at the Design Museum.
Celebrating the craftsmanship and talent of French design, luxury cognac brand Rémy Martin have partnered up with the London Design Museum for a one-of-a-kind sculpture in lieu of their latest exhibition.
The collaboration aims to spotlight one of the 20th century’s biggest design talents, Charlotte Perriand, marking 25 years since her last major retrospective in London. Shown in the central atrium of the prestigious London Design Museum, Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life visitors will find themselves immersed in a world of Perriand’s studio sketches, photographs, prototypes, scrapbooks and even some major final pieces as they explore her work as an artist, pioneering sportswoman and global traveller.
As longtime supporters of French talent, the brand tasked artist Charles Kaisin to design a mobile sculpture consisting of 1,724 centaurs hand-gilded by goldsmith Atelier Thiery. The number of hand-crafted origami centaurs actually reflects the year the House of Rémy Martin was founded, and even includes a limited edition bottle of Rémy Martin XO designer by the family-ran gilding studio themselves, enclosed in a gilded case that features 18-carat gold leaf. The bottle is now available exclusively at Selfridges, and would make a pretty glamorous Father’s Day present if we do say so ourselves.
We caught up with Kaisin himself down below to dig a little deeper into his motivations for the piece, his love of Cognac, and plans for the future. Take a look!
Hey Charles! We’re are halfway through 2021, how has this past year been for you?
It has been a very particular year due to Covid, but together with my team we have been very busy working on several origami projects in Belgium and France, such as the Centaur sculpture which we created to mark the Rémy Martin x Atelier XO limited edition.
With everything that happened last year, was your creativity affected?
I spent the first three days of lockdown thinking about what would happen, but then I started planning different projects like the ‘Origami For Life’. It is a special charitable project to support hospitals, especially during this challenging period. We collected origamis and for each one received we found sponsors to donate 1 euro towards the Brussels Hospital and the Samu Social in Paris. The Engie Foundation have also contributed.
How did you first into sculpting and art? Do you remember the first piece you made?
When I was a boy, I didn’t understand why bread always had a rectangular or round shape. So I asked my father to make a metal leaf-shaped baking tin, a little bit like a leaf from a Matisse painting, but so that I could make bread. Of course, after constantly pestering my mother and father, the baking tin was made, but the end result was not very satisfying: in the narrow spaces of the pan the bread was either too hard or not cooked through! For all that, I keep a good memory from it. Shortly after that came building tree houses, a real passion…
Talk to us on the Rémy Martin Centaur sculpture, how did this happen and what was your inspiration and creative process?
Rémy Martin and I have been collaborating for several years already. And when the idea to celebrate the Centaur came about it was evident to me to represent it through these repetitive origami elements covered in gold leaf by the craftsmanship of the talented goldsmith’s Atelier Thiery. In the installation’s light, reflection and quality of execution, we find the same shared values of Rémy Martin and Cognac.
You used 1,724 centaurs for the piece, did you find it challenging at any part?
Each project is a challenge in ensuring that everything is absolutely perfect. We started this project by making a 3D model, then drew sketches of each part to obtain the symbolic figure of 1724 little centaurs, a nod to the founding year of the House of Rémy Martin.
It is also being featured at The Design Museum, what was your reaction to this?
I’ve lived in London for 3 years and I often visit the city and the museum, so it gives me great pride and honour to have this work displayed there.
You also worked with Atelier Thiery, what was this experience like?
I found it very enriching to witness the excellence of their craft – after being covered in gold leaf, each centaur gets transformed into a little jewel.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am inspired by Cognac itself – from the reflection of the light through a glass of cognac to the visits of the cellars and distillery in Cognac.
With everything becoming digital in the past year, how do you think this has affected the art world?
Very interesting question, I think you already might know the answer – the rise of NFTs. But I like the object, being able to move around it and touching it, it involves all five senses in the discovery and for me that’s important.
What’s next for you, what are you most excited for?
We continue our work on other projects, for example, an installation at the emblematic Mucem museum in Marseille, which will be on display until the end of September. As well as an installation at Printemps in Paris, which will be revealed this summer and be on display for several years!