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Nathalie Du Pasquier An interview with the painter turned tile designer.

Nathalie Du Pasquier An interview with the painter turned tile designer.

Issue 39

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Design, Partnerships

  • Words Gabriele Dellisanti
  • Photography Bea de Giacomo

Featuring 41 hand-designed patterns, Du Pasquier’s collection of tiles for Mutina presents an almost overwhelming range of possible permutations.

At the age of 22, French artist Nathalie Du Pasquier moved from her hometown of Bordeaux to Milan where she joined designer Ettore Sottsass in founding the Memphis Group, an influential collective of young artists who expressed their opposition to modernist trends through an oeuvre of brightly colored, oddly shaped designs. After over three decades of exclusively dedicating herself to painting, she discusses her recent collaboration with Italian ceramics brand Mutina on Mattonelle Margherita—her first-ever tile collection—and the role of color in her creations.

Your work has always been characterized by its use of vibrant color combinations. Why do they appeal to you?
Colors might be prevalent in my work but they only become vibrant when they are placed next to certain other colors. For example, Mattonelle Margherita is characterized by a wide range of different colors, but you can choose between creating a simple layout or a bold, vibrant one.

You crafted the Mattonelle Margherita collection for Mutina. How did you find the right balance between keeping the design minimal while fully expressing your creativity?
I think there is nothing minimal in the design of Mattonelle Margherita. I wasn’t interested in just expressing my creativity, but in finding interesting ways of playing with simple signs and colors. I drew the patterns by hand and developed a new range of paintings for the project.

How do patterns make use of color and allow for multiple layouts?
I didn’t want to create preestablished layouts and combinations; I wanted to give the user the freedom to design their own. The collection allows for many possibilities: The elements can be used to cover entire floors and walls or to create decorative details within any home. It’s really all about your own creativity.

In your art, you often create 3D compositions that you then paint. What’s the appeal of working this way, rather than painting scenes from real life?
The appeal of representing abstract objects is in avoiding the narration of a story. If I paint things from the studio or from the kitchen, like I’ve done many times, there is always a story attached to them and the viewer will probably see symbols or other ideas, something I am not too interested in. Still, I paint these abstract constructions from real life and they are totally figurative.

Did you also paint the brick monuments you made for Mutina’s BRIC exhibition last year?
Actually, I never paint big things. I’d rather say that I paint small things big, and those monuments are definitely not small! The bricks in the exhibition were chosen from a catalog and painted by a master craftsman, then I gave precise instructions to build the structures that formed the exhibition.

What does a brightly tiled surface bring to a space that paint can’t achieve?
The housewife in me says: A tiled surface is easy to clean and always looks new!

This feature was produced in partnership with Mutina.

Featuring 41 hand-designed patterns, Du Pasquier’s collection of tiles for Mutina presents an almost overwhelming range of possible permutations.

You are reading a complimentary story from Issue 39

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