Emilie Mazeau-Langlais – Cardboard Designer

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An interview with Emilie Mazeau-Langlais / Cardboard Designer

Cardboard appears in Emilie Mazeau-Langlais’ life at a very young age. As a child, she builds play houses out of huge cardboard boxes. She will later come to discover furniture and pieces at antique dealers’. Her passion for Louis the fifteenth style naturally drives her to creation from a necessarily perennial material. Cardboard imposes itself. – I wanted to make furniture that I couldn’t afford, from a raw material easy to find, malleable, and to be able to think that, happen what may, there would always be room for creation. From then onwards, she hangs around art crafts-men’s workshops where, for hours on end, she contemplates the high-precision work, the shape of the tools, the techniques… And so in 2006, Emilie Mazeau Langlais creates her first piece of art which has since become the emblem of her demanding know-how : a Regency chest of drawers made with small pieces cardboard taped together. Since then, the technique of this self-taught artist has undeniably evolved. Emilie evokes the down-to-earth constraints of working with cardboard. – You can’t wet cardboard. It’s use, in the strict meaning of the word, as a raw material, is constraining. I often wonder how I’m going to go about my work. Everything is raw material, I don’t use paper, my angles are made of cardboard too and nothing is hidden. It’s my stance. It takes me up to two months to make a large dresser. Her own designs and plans, to begin her three-dimensional creations, come from her preparatory work. It comes as no surprise that she is the only one today to master the technique, as a craftsman would. These creations cannot be mechanized. But why create, specifically, pieces of Louis the eighteenth furniture ? – Because it’s the most beautiful! I like curves and rounded contours. It’s very feminine furniture. The emblematic piece is the chest of drawers, with two drawers – always. Which we owe to the cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle who signed a pair of chests of drawers for the great Trianon in Versailles for Louis the fourteenth – the purpose of which then remained to be invented. As for the Louis the fifteenth chest of drawers, with its long, fine curved legs, made of rosewood marquetry, elm burl, embellished with lacquer, with marine varnish, with porcelain, with turtle shell – the technique of which she has taken over – it is today her signature piece! The chest of drawers has become a popular piece of furniture, the style of which is deeply inscribed in the history of French furniture. Were you tempted by purely inventing a piece of furniture, a light fitting, a functional object? – No. I don’t see what I could invent. I prefer to take inspiration from what touches me most. Nevertheless, Emilie is not a reproducer. She has her own identity25 chevet-louis-dor-eml-008_low commode-hd-1_low img_20170310_124822