Cornette de Saint Cyr, Paris

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Cornette de Saint Cyr, Paris


The Cornette de Saint Cyr Auction House is setting-up in Paris on Avenue Hoche – the Parisian Golden Triangle - within a vast 19th century townhouse boasting 1500m². Arnaud Cornette de Saint Cyr asked matali crasset to design its impacting aspects such as the reception desk and retail fixtures. He wanted to tag on a contemporary touch in the selling ritual by presenting topical furnishings, thus attesting the family adoration and commitment to contemporary design.

A reception desk immediately welcomes visitors within the entrance hall overlooked by a remarkable stairway. This piece of furniture impresses us with its rich and generous blend of textures, allying leather, wood, oak and brass, its sense of touch, its lights … 

The deeply-revered Cornette-family blue is apparent on the furniture which can almost appear disconcerting with its bevelled aspects and combined materials.

Upon entering the auction room, we’re met with an architectural intervention to set the stage. The fireplace and mirror have been covered with a metal framework resembling a coat of arms with the auction house’s name lingering in space. It symbolizes the entire metamorphosis of this space.

There are then a set of specific and mobile pieces of furniture meeting the requirements of this room which can be played out in one or several acts.

An auction house is like a theatre where it always finishes with a sale. This is perhaps why Arnaud de Cornette de Cyr asked me to design all the furniture for his new backdrop as he knows this is my way of thinking about design – like a series of life scenarios. He is never present during the exhibits but likes to be present during the auctions.

I chose to work with long-lasting materials such as wood, copper and leather.

The furniture design plays with prominent edges, treated like mono-materials.

The flat-tint blue is reminiscent of Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr’s complicity and fondness of Yves Klein (International Klein Blue) and the latter’s “altar” displaying Klein’s quasi-relic judo belt, and the photomontage Saut dans la Vide (Leap into the Void).

For this project, matali crasset called upon some fine craftsmen – Domeau & Pérès -  travelling companions with whom she’s been working since 1995 who’ve helped her on her finest commissions, and Arnaud Lhermitte who has helped her produce many of her standard designs.

This work follows on in the design of furniture produced for the ARC (Research and Creation Workshop) of the Mobilier National (National Heritage Furniture Repository). The office is currently being used by the Ministry of Culture. Through this project she shows us how know-how is not the enemy of contemporary design. 



  • Fabrice Gousset