Founded by Alexis Lautier and Pierre Talagrand, Mr. & Mr. is both a creative design studio and an independent editing house. The duo detours the typical design practice by diving each of their productions into a distinct fashion. Radically transforming the way objects are used, and versifying the fabrication processes, whilst using a blend of creative techniques.
We Are Selecters presents Mr. & Mr.’s Antithesis collection in our November’s sales event, … a collection that mixes traditional craft skills with contemporary nomadic techniques, resulting in two versions of a handbag line, which is as customary and nonconformist, as they are natural and petrochemical.
In conversation with Mr. & Mr...
Tell us more about who is behind Mr. & Mr?
Mr. & Mr. is run by Alexis LAUTIER and Pierre TALAGRAND.
Alexis Lautier: Mr. & Mr is a natural selection at work, a pure product of Darwinism. I started off with being interested in industrial design, then I studied fine arts and architecture which brought me full circle back to design.
Pierre Talagrand: I’m a creationist! I’ve been in textile, fashion and graphic design. Our skills and energies complete each others.
How did you decide to collaborate?
A: It was the only way for us to resolve the conflict between Darwinism and Creationism…
P: We were looking for a platform of expression, that’s why we created an Editing House, rather than just a Designers Studio; we wanted to be able to design, produce and distribute our own objects and ideas independently, and be able to invite other artists and creators to work with us.
How do you work together? Is one of you more creative and the other one more executive?
A: It’s not that simple, we like it both ways. I definitely have more of a technical background…
P: And I’m more versed in marketing and communication… But when it comes to the fun creative part of things, it’s all hands on deck!
Where do you find inspiration?
A: We like our objects to tell stories; for instance, for Bella Maniera, our first piece together, an edition of 13 placemats It all started with the table. We were thinking of hospitality and what it means to sit down together and share a meal, which brought us to the « Last Meal », a very interesting moment in the Passion of Christ. It’s a story of love, betrayal, abnegation, all frozen in one moment.
P: I did a lot of research in the symbolism of the hand gesture of each one of the Apostles, and tried to transpose that in a very contemporary manner… It’s not so much about creating an object that references the Bible, but more to create a game around those ideas and the way they penetrate every aspect of our culture.
What can we find in MR & MR?
P: Playful, D.I.Y. wares with a sexy side. There’s a real poetry in objects, that we wish to transmit.
A: I like objects that make a statement, not disposable things that responds to trends. Our creations have a life of their own.
In your website you state that MR & MR “deviates from the everyday customs and usage of our objects, has fun with our representations of the world and subverts the norms”. How has this been applied to your Antithese bags?
A: The process was the complete opposite of the hierarchical way the designer imposes a form to the fabricator. We wanted to create a bag, so went straight to the artisan. We traveled to Morroco and learned from craftsmen trained in traditional basketry and leather work. Their techniques and know-how inspired the forms of the product. That’s what makes them unique.
P: Even though, they’re somehow ‘’mass produced’’-in series of 25-, each one is unique, we leave a lot of freedom to the craftsmen to adapt the designs to their needs. We really embrace the different little details in texture and form in each piece.
How does the name Antithese defines the collection?
A: ‘’Antithese’’, perfectly sums up the idea of covering the hand woven palm leaves with black gaffers tape. It’s about the stark contrast between the organic and industrial materials.
You say that these bags are “the clash between a French fantasized vision and the realism of the North-African expertise. What is that “fantasized vision”?
A: The Luxury industry tries to create perfect objects, one indistinguishable from the next. The hand of the craftsman should be invisible, only the desire of the Designer should transpire in the product. That’s just not the way our collaborators in North Africa work, and that’s not what we wanted.
P: By ‘’realism ‘’ we mean each bag is relatable to the artisan that made it. It’s not an abstracted idea, they are materials that have been shaped by a human hand each step along the way. Why would you want to hide that?
Why did you decide to create these bags out of wicker?
P: First of all it’s not wicker, it’s woven Moroccan palm leaves. It’s a material we really fell in love with. There’s a unique of flexibility you just do not find in wicker.
A: It has this really organic quality to it, you really feel each fiber of the plant.
Could you tell us anything else about how these bags are made?
P: We wanted to have a durable object, something that you could fix if it broke.
A: I got to experience a real crash test. I got into a motorcycle accident with my ‘’besace bag’’, the stitch work snapped but the weave held together, so I could repair it in a snap -unlike my collar bone-
P: Oh cry me a fucking river!
Which would you say it is the must-have bag for men and women of the range we sell at our I AM store?
P: Definitely the Truss FW 13 BAG !!! A Must have !!!!
A: I want ten of those !!!!!!