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    Alice Lahana

    Alice Lahana

    1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

    I was born in the south of France, and raised in a small city called Nîmes.

    2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

    I remember a book about Le Dounier Rousseau that I had as a child. I spent entire afternoons contemplating each painting and I hoped very much that by closing my eyes and opening them again I would be transported into the paintings.

    3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

    I did a lot of very varied jobs, some financing artistic projects, others because I didn’t really have a choice. When I left my studies I was a building painter and a studio model at the same time, which required a certain organization. I have also been a jewelry seller, translator,  hostess, and waitress with a relative level of enthusiasm. 

    I subsequently joined the Patrick Seguin Gallery where I had the chance to restore  Jean Prouvé furniture among others. Then I created an online magazine and a market place dedicated to young artists & designers (L’Observatoire Magazine). Then I joined the teaching team at Parsons School of Paris. On site, I had access to a whole bunch of  very attractive machines such as 3D printers and CNCs. So I started creating again  and this time my studio grew significantly. I left Parsons School last year to devote  myself full time to my creations. However, I still give a few courses in a small Parisian interior design school. 

    4. What led you to the design creation ?

    I was quickly attracted to design when I was a student at the Beaux-Arts in Paris but I did not dare to go in that direction at that time, believing that I knew nothing about it and that I had to stay in my place as a conceptual artist. Then in the 4th year, I had the chance to go on an exchange to Sao Paulo in Brazil and there I allowed myself to explore new directions thinking that it would just be temporary and that it was just a matter of satisfying my curiosity. So I  took design classes and started hanging out in the carpentry workshop. It was a big revelation for me and on my return I applied for a two-year carpentry course. So it was through crafts that I discovered design.

    5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

    I leave a lot of room for spontaneity and improvisation in my work. My workshop is also my  living space so as soon as I have a new idea, I get started. Experimentation is the foundation of  my process. It is through practice that I develop my idea and decide whether it is good or not. I make furniture like a sculptor would carve a sculpture, that is to say by being interested in  the curves, in the way in which the light is projected on it, in its texture, in its different  profiles.

    6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

    In a typical day, I alternate between making a mirror and the prototype of a new piece.  All this while also taking care of tasks that inspire me less such as communication, business relations, accounting, etc. No day is the same and I often find it difficult to stop.

    7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

    I mainly work with wood because I like its lively appearance. It’s unpredictable, natural,  fragile and solid at the same time. Carpentry tools are equally fascinating. When I worked at  Parsons School, I developed 3D printing carafes. At that time I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t so bad if it wasn’t environmentally responsible. And then I realized that I wasn’t comfortable with it. That to feel fully legitimate to create, I had to use only natural materials.  It seems to me that today we can no longer produce objects without considering their environmental impacts and without making radical decisions about the materials we use. So I learned ceramics to replace 3D printing. Clay and wood now interact together in my work and I hope to bring in other natural materials very soon.

    8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

    In the Arles collection, the chair and the armchair have the particularity of only being  solid and structured once the last cleat is in place. I like this process because it is only at the very end, at the last step, that the object takes shape. 

    There is also a paradox in the manufacture of mirrors. The final object appears light,  precious, delicate to us while the manufacturing process itself is the opposite of that.  You have to break a mirror plate, cut the wood in all directions, hollow it out to create a recess, and embed the plate. It’s very physical and requires a lot of deconstruction steps.

    9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

    I still have a long way to go but from my personal experience, the most important thing is to experiment without necessarily trying to create a final object and by considering failures as stages in reflection. Manual work allows a great understanding of materials and unlocks lots of boxes in the mind. In my opinion, it is very important to allow yourself to be surprised by this and to accept that you cannot control everything. It is in the unpredictable that the most creativity is found.

    10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

    I absolutely couldn’t place it in a movement. What I can say is that my work is part of a very contemporary way of thinking, which drives most young designers. It is the desire to move from one discipline to another, to break down the boundaries between art, design, and craftsmanship and to imagine domestic objects which could be sculptures, and sculptures which could have functions, through processes that could be both artisanal and technological. It seems to me that the designer movement to which I belong aspires to this, to a desire to break down all barriers and break away from the conventional.

    11. What designers and artists have influenced you ?

    I had the chance to discover Charlotte Perriand’s work in depth when I was restoring furniture at the Galerie Patrick Seguin. She inspires me through her journey as a woman in a  male environment but also for her work on the organic, in particular her drawings and her photographs.

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

    I find the young artistic scene very inspiring in both Art and Design. I am fascinated by the work of Destroyer Builders, Joris Poggioli, Katharina Trudzinski, Hot Wire Extensions, and Simone Holliger.

    13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

    14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

    The free form  

    Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
    (The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

    1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    A workshop facing a lake, the fire crackling in the fireplace and the sound of the wind

    2. What is your greatest fear?

    Wage employment

    3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

    I have a constant need for renewal

    4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

    Perhaps inaction and denial in front of climate change, but I include myself in it.

    5. Which living person do you most admire?

    My mother and my grand mother undoubtedly

    6. What is your greatest extravagance?

    I asked my friends, they have no idea

    7. What is your current state of mind?

    Pretty relax

    8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

    Courage

    9. What is the quality you most like in a man ?

    His ability to keep quiet when unfamiliar with the subject

    10. What is the quality you most like in a woman ?

    Her ability to speak up

    11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    Sorry, I’m early

    12. Which talent would you most like to have?

    I wish I was a dancer

    13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    Being able to go to bed after 10 p.m.

    14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    What I do day to day

    15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

    A bird 

    16. Where would you most like to live?

    In the middle of nowhere

    17. What is your most treasured possession?

    I realize after reading this question that I have absolutely nothing valuable in my house

    18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Living in fear

    19. What is your favorite occupation?

    Eating

    20. What is your most marked characteristic?

    Independent

    21. What do you most value in your friends?

    Their leniency

    22. Who are your favorite writers?

    Romain Gary, Vanessa Spinosa, Annie Ernaux

    23. Who is your hero of fiction?

    Julie in The worst person in the World by Joaquim Trier 

    24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

    George Sand

    25. Who are your heroes in real life?

    My mother and my grand mother undoubtedly

    26. What are your favorite names?

    Cleo, Lou

    27. What is it that you most dislike?

    ASMR

    28. What is your greatest regret?

    No regrets

    29. How would you like to die?

    Suddenly

    30. What is your motto?

    Tenderness has seconds that beat more slowly than others.

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