Friday Five with Jean-Marie Massaud

Born in Toulouse, France, designer Jean-Marie Massaud has kept busy with his hands in all types of design since graduating from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in 1990. Calling Paris home, he opened up his own practice, Studio Massaud, in 2000 and has been racking up awards and distinctions since day one. Working with the likes of Cassina, B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau, Dedon, Cappellini, and Lancôme, it’s no surprise his name has become synonymous with not only French design, but world-renowned design as well. For this week’s Friday Five, let’s peek inside this prolific designer’s mind…

My strongest personal influences, which marked my early childhood and have stayed with me ever since:

Friday Five with Jean-Marie Massaud

Photo via robinkristianparker on Flickr

1. Fantasia – the movie by Walt Disney
I watched this film in awe at the age of 5 or 6 and have the memory of a revelation uniting animation and classical music, which has been with me since my birth. The American talent for combining ambitious creation with popular work is pure joy.

Friday Five with Jean-Marie Massaud

Photo via Kate Gabrielle on Flickr

2. Charlie Chaplin
For his vision, his intelligence and his sensitivity.
For his audacity, his courage, his human and political contribution.
For his work, but also for the short speech he gave on his 70th birthday: “As I Began to Love Myself.”
I invite everybody to read it.

3. The Concorde
The supersonic bird, designed before computers assisted us in the management of the complex.
The absolute elegance, the collective genius, a fantasy briefly made real.
An incarnation of aeronautic adventure, my first passion.
Since then, I’ve only been interested in grace and lightness, the never-ending dream.

Friday Five with Jean-Marie Massaud

Photo courtesy of NOAA

4. The whale, the world below the sea
Another revelation.
The world of silence, of wonder, of weightlessness, is my universe.
Discovering this beauty has been my passion ever since I learned to dive.
That motivated the creation of my first underwater project.
Since then, encountering this superb intelligence, serene and benevolent, the being that crosses the world from pole to equator, gliding and singing to guide itself through the currents.
Absolute grace.
I used it as a formal symbol for my inflatable hotel project “Manned Cloud”, a peaceful and respectful message.

5. The Tjibaou Cultural Center, by Renzo Piano
This project expresses an approach that is both humble and audacious, contextual and ambitious.
The project’s precision, harmony between nature and culture, transcending the ego of the creator – in short, everything that I love. Bravo, Renzo.