Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, residential and public sectors.

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In conversation with architect and designer Jean-Marie Massaud

Introducing Aston Club, his latest collection with Arper, we speak to architect and designer Jean-Marie Massaud about the process and inspiration behind his work.

01/06/2020 3 min read
Jean-Marie Massaud

Since the beginning of his career, Jean-Marie Massaud has worked on an extensive range of works, stretching from architecture to furniture design. He has worked with major brands ( Arper, Axor, Christofle, Air France, and Toyota, to name a few) on elegant designs ranging from stadiums, flying hotels, and even concept cars – and of course, furniture collections, such as his latest – Aston Club, for Arper.

Aston Club is one half of Arper’s latest collection, alongside Adell by and Lievore + Altherr Désile Park, both made from post-industrial recycled plastic and designed to be easily dismantled and recycled after use, in keeping with Arper’s sustainability focus.

What is your background?

I started in aircraft engineering, then I discovered that design had a greater potential for me to invent new scenarios and be more creative. I started designing submarines, then expanded to fragrance bottles, furniture and architecture like ecosystems. My approach is first of all holistic, with an expertise on smart and “effortless” solutions. I like competence and timelessness, things that are GOOD!

How did your collaboration with Arper begin?

My first encounter with Arper President Claudio Feltrin was 15 years ago. There was no business issue, just an informal meeting. We smiled and laughed very spontaneously. For me, a very good human feeling.

He invited me to visit him and his company. He received me with a brief: “empathic design, competent, simple with a flavour. Maybe a lounge chair.” I then came back with a surprise: the first sketches of the first Aston. Perfect harmony or hazard?

Then, we immediately began working.

What was the process and inspiration behind Aston Club?

Aston, with its unique and iconic silhouette, is the result of the quest for essential, elegant and enveloping architecture, with an idea of the minimal with a distinct flavour.

Aston Club is an extension of this quest, augmented by the ambition of more mature comfort, refined ergonomics, and a timeless look. At the heart of this project there is the union of two fundamental ambitions:

– A superlative ergonomic comfort

– A demanding eco-design

We had the will to develop a naturally charismatic object blending with any context, whether it is an institutional environment, reception area, hotel or domestic setting.

After 3 years of research and development – refining special mechanisms that naturally follow body movement, paying attention to design each part to be easily disassembled and recycled – we accomplished fluid and refined lines, welcoming balanced mellow volume for the best experience and a timeless elegance.

To add even greater elegance to this Arper collection we included a range of exclusive fabrics finishes, allowing Aston Club to be used freely both in the most classic or “homey“ settings, and the most contemporary, radical environments.

An object turning into a real accomplice, a life companion.

In your view, what are the key issues facing the industry?

I think we need to put forward real, holistic, relevant approaches. I believe good things help us to reach a better quality of life while being in harmony with the environment, reconciling fulfilment and responsibility.

A combination of essential, competence, affect, smartness and elegance is facing the stakes of today’s world: our challenge is to do better with less by creating enduring, timeless objects that we can use and love for a long time!

Finally, I think the industry should promote a qualitative growth, with limitless potential, versus an archaic quantitative growth. I believe Arper is in line with our changing world!


Photography: Salva Lopez and Frederick Vercruysse

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