Designing new layouts for the Laboratoire, Mathieu Lehanneur has created functional spaces on the borderline between art and science: LaboBrain is a private think-tank, LaboShop, a public sales outlet.
The LaboBrain is a tailor-made all-white studio for David Edwards, the founder of Laboratoire. It is a gym, a place for working out thought, with all the appropriate tools cerebral athletes need to hone their performances. Projected in brainstorming mode, the user does not have a sit-down work post. He works moving about in front of a concave Velleda screen, a secret alcove that is also a surface where this space age cave-man scrawls ideas and drawings, a sounding board for the creative intellectual.
Buckminster Fuller haunts this alternative space for thought-on-the-move. The cool old self-taught theorist-architect is present in every detail of a solution that puts together science, art and design. In homage to his geodesic dome, a half-deflated leather soccer ball offers laid-back rest between two work-outs,
while under the floor-level grate, plant-life is busy eating CO2 and pumping up oxygen to bring organic relief to the interior
Almost classic, the table and chair in the office of David Edwards’ assistant is the right-side lobe of this brain, the rational part for organization and storage. But there is one constraint: not a single stray artefact to catch the eye. A wall of immaculate white cardboard boxes salutes the Imac in manual mode, and will serve for several years of paper archives.
A wall of boxes also figures in the main space, but in sheet metal. Their sides embossed in a wafer pattern call to mind a New York hot dog stand revamped to Italian design codes: chic, stained, shiny, and with a leather hand hold. Pop-style luxury in a place that pulls together the USA and France.
Mathieu Lehanneur, designer. Graduated from ENSCI-Les Ateliers in 2001; is currently exploring possibilities in nature and technology for their break-thru potential in functions and their capacity to work magic. Made his international début with a series entitled ‘Elements’ (VIA Carte blanche 2006) and the ‘Bel Air’ filtering system for plants (2007), six objects that form a domestic ‘Health Angels’ kit for rebalancing everyday physiological needs (such as lack of sunlight in winter) and countering aggression factors in urban settings (noise & air pollution).