Brice Tual is Artistic Director at Ateliers Muquet, the specialist in luxury interiors, decorative panel work, fine cabinetmaking and unique furniture. Every day, he focuses all his attention on his projects to identify the best-possible solutions and provide his clients with a bespoke solution to their needs.
Whether it’s creating an original logo for a major brand identity, hand-carving an enormous fresco, crafting furniture designed by famous interior designers or shaping a textured surface for a superyacht interior, most challenges are accepted enthusiastically! As expert craftsmen devoted to excellence, Brice Tual and his team are committed to developing the creative heritage of Muquet using increasingly technical and diversified products. They constantly seek out innovative ideas and solutions for their exclusive, high-quality creations that must combine aesthetic beauty with high-performance mechanical properties, such as resistance to fire, light, abrasion, etc.
How do you combine the latest trends with traditional expertise?
Brice: As French manufacturers of custom-made decorative panels, it’s crucial in today’s market that we can offer unique designs to our clients, who are interior decorators, architects and designers from right around the world. Their projects set trends that others follow, and present me with some very real challenges. Sometimes they send me a 3D model, a drawing or perhaps just a photograph that conveys the mood they’re looking for, which I’ll then use for research. They also specify the aesthetic considerations and any technical or regulatory constraints we have to meet. I’m also influenced by past fashions, which I’ll often revisit and combine with the techniques we have available today to broaden the creative spectrum of Ateliers Muquet.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Every piece of creative art is an interpretation, reflection and reference of the world around us. So the memory, sensitivity and environment of the creator play a crucial role in the creative process and convey their own personal ideas. Nature is one of the broadest sources of inspiration for me, because it offers an infinity of shapes, lines, structures and colors that I reinterpret in our materials: the structure of a coral, the texture of tree bark, the color of an insect or the footprint of an animal all have the potential to be the starting point for a repeat pattern to be used on our decorative panels. I’m also influenced by what I’ve read, things I admire or feel in others across a very broad range of disciplines, from literature to painting, cookery, manufacturing or architecture.
How would you describe the relationship between the things that inspire you and the materials you work with?
When you look closely, Mother Nature leaves nothing to chance, so the structure of a leaf or a shell is so obvious what it should be and as effective as it should be; that’s what gives us the feeling that nature is beautiful. But simply reproducing those forms is never enough; my ambition is to interpret them, rewrite them and transpose them into the objects we create using our expertise and technical knowledge. The desire to respect and pay tribute to Nature then comes together with the kinds of materials we work with: bronze, brass, copper, inclusion resins, patinas, wood, stone… The ultimate aim and purpose of our work is to achieve an extremely high-quality result that makes a distinctive statement and reflects the aesthetic requirements of our client within the budget set.
Can you tell us how your creative process works?
Every time I get an idea, I apply a kind of pre-visualization process, which I’d describe as a kind of mental sketching out of shapes and patterns before actually picking up a pencil. Once I get my ideas down on paper, I can begin to experiment with them and examine them in more detail. Working closely with my team, we brainstorm the tools and techniques we’ll need, and together choose the products and materials we’ll use to make these creative ideas a reality. But I also like to leave room for the random effects of hand movements or ‘controlled accidents’ that can sometimes create surprising results, or even provide inspiration for other projects.
Based in Carrières-sur-Seine on the outskirts of Paris, all Ateliers Muquet creations are crafted in a vast space of more than 16,000 square feet, while the on-site showroom showcases hundreds of material samples that are updated and refreshed every month. So the best way of experiencing the world of Ateliers Muquet is to visit by appointment, and meet with Brice Tual who will introduce you to materials and textures that will absolutely take your breath away!