Baptiste Lanne, designer and sculptor
BAPTISE LANNE, DESIGNER AND SCULPTOR
I met Baptiste at the Serres de la Milady in Biarritz.
I don’t know if you know this place. It is an old 19th century horticulture building with a roof and walls made of glass. This beautiful place hosts now around twenty artists’ studios. In a flowery and creative atmosphere, a link between art and nature.
Baptiste took the time to share about his career, his works whose mission is to “bring nature back into our homes”.
I hope you’ll love his poetic creations!
Could you please introduce yourself?
I am 34, I am a designer. I have a master degree in Design in Paris. I’ve worked for 10 years for agencies like Philippe Stark, and companies like Habitat. It was a wonderful experience because I learned so much!
I started to enroll in training classes while I was working. My goal was to be able to do everything on my own. Draw my pieces and know how to photograph them in order to communicate about what I do.
Your journey expresses a lot of freedom. Could you tell us more about your childhood and what has your family given you to make you feel so free?
I grew up in Normandy and my family and I often went to Paris to see painting exhibitions. And then, I took painting and ceramic classes from the age of 5. I realized at that age that I wanted to do a creative job. Architect, couturier, or designer … My parents enrolled me in those art classes to enter the best schools in Paris.
You said that children enjoy great freedom. Do you think that the child we were defines the adult we become? Shouldn’t we be more attentive to our childhood dreams?
Absolutely! I’m even more convinced now that I am a father. It is sad to see some people who are not happy because they have been oriented towards jobs that they don’t like.
They search for meaning and cannot find any.
I believe it is important to do what you love. Always. Moreover, when you are a child, you don’t ask yourself any questions, you spontaneously do what you like.
I come here every day from 9am to 6pm, just like office hours. This legitimizes the artist’s job. Because, yes, it’s a real job.
((I tell him that I feel like mentalities are changing, that there is another perception of craftsmanship and on artists that is emerging).).
Yes, it’s true, but there is still many young people who do not dare to become an artist because it is not considered to be a real job.
You have a very unique approach to design by putting nature at the heart of it. What inspires you in nature?
It’s the only thing that inspires me because it’s timeless. I started by making useful things like tables, chairs. I try more and more to go towards unnecessary things: sculptures, painting. Well, when I say unnecessary… you know what I mean!
My goal is to bring nature back into our homes.
I work with wood because it is a natural material. It is everywhere, it is biodegradable, it does not pollute. There are lots of sorts of wood.
(I point out to him the huge tree branch covered with moss next to him and then observe what these branches became thanks to his work …)
I took some photos of these raw branches so that people can realize all the hard work it takes. It is important that we see in my work the print of the hand. It is not a machine.
How did you find your style? Did things happen naturally?
I reconnected to forms I used to do when I was younger. The whole purpose of my approach is to suggest things, because they are abstract shapes. You can see a bird, a seed, a plant.
The shapes are soft, round. I try to make objects that are poetic, that tell a story. Their presence is enough to bring softness.
You told me that you work with several sorts of wood. What is the type that you prefer to work with?
Walnut. It is the perfect wood. It has a beautiful warm brown color. And it is a very hard wood that can be sculpted very well.
What is the project you are most proud of?
The first sculpture I made two years ago. It was a very small sculpture. It looked like a fishtail that I offered to my nephew for Christmas.
Can you tell us how you got started? How did you learn ?
Since I took classes of clay sculpting as a child, I knew already some basic concepts. However, I learned woodworking on my own.
I went to Japan two years ago and met craftsmen who worked with wood. They made chairs, wooden furniture. They had learned on their own and that made me realize that I could do it too.
I’m still learning everyday. I just finished a 2.5 meter long table. I hesitated to accept this project because I wasn’t sure I could do it. But I made it so I am very happy!
What is your story with the Basque Country and what particularly touches you here?
It all started with surfing. I used to come here when I was younger to surf. Then I met my wife here in Biarritz.
What touches me is the proximity to the ocean and the mountains. I found this workshop with a very affordable rent. It was impossible to find a workshop in Paris. Rents are too expensive.
Here, there is a lot of people coming to visit the “Serres” and interesting projects. That socialization is important for an artist.
What does espadrille mean to you?
It reminds me of a simple, useful and timeless object: a sole made of rope and canvas or leather on the upper part. I love that!
I wear espadrilles every day at home.
What enchants you about the Atelier Aliénor project?
This project resonates with me a lot. Because I am convinced that today, the added value is the fact that it is done here, in small batches. I like the fact that you are telling a story and trying to make the best product possible.
I find it beautiful to say that we design products that will support people in their daily lives.
The question of Beauty is really close to my heart. In an ideal world, everything around us should be beautiful.