It was while designing the apartments of their clients that Agnès and Manuel began to take an interest in the decorative elements of architecture. “We needed to invent the subtleties that make a project grow and gain in coherence. We have scaled up to detail.”
And among the – essential – details there are all those little hardware items, door handles, cupboard knobs, stops, peepholes, etc. Why condemn them to discretion? The designers like to tell the story of their photographer who, when keeping a souvenir of his grandmother, chose a doorknob because it had touched her all his life. “It is an object that recalls moments, people, the kind of object that we like to take with us when moving house.”
“We forgot everything that makes a handle to better rethink it, they explain. So that it affirms the spirit of a place, a presence. So that it plays a role, and not necessarily the supporting role. Making assembly the heart of their concept, they explored decorative plates in parallel. Until creating real collections, combining shapes, colors and material effects "so that everyone can appropriate the object and identify it with their project".
And then there is the brass. Its light attracts them, unless it is its shadow. “We love brass for all its moods. It is a living and versatile material, sometimes bright, sometimes soft, sometimes dark. It reflects both the aesthetics of an interior and the personality of its inhabitants.”
Over the course of the adventure, they found magnificent know-how in establishments steeped in history, workshops on a human scale. “We wanted the production to be artisanal and local. We met great people who understood the project, we developed great relationships of trust.”
Through their brass work, through their collections, Agnès and Manuel reconnect with the tradition of ornament. An art of decoration that fascinates them.
Route in brief.
Agnes Cambus. Graduated from Toulouse Fine Arts in 1994 in the Industrial Design section. Joins the architecture firm of christian biecher in Paris. there, she designs the furniture for numerous development projects, objects for editors and learns about interior architecture.
Manuel Bonnemazou. Graduated from ensci (Les ateliers) in 1994. Moved to New York where he explored industrial design in its American version. Joined Habitat France to lead the creation of the lights. Then works in London in the office of Habitat UK, under the direction of Tom Dixon.
Agnès and Manuel founded their agency in 2003, with the main activities of object creation, interior design and scenography. They join forces to broaden their skills with graphic designer friends within the element-s collective, until 2017. They design, among other things, street furniture, a merry-go-round for the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a wood stove for Richard Le Droff, packaging and scenography for Pierre Hermé, a kiosk and furniture for national monuments, numerous apartments in Paris as well as shops and public places.
From 2014 they worked on the " elements of architectural details ", a reflection that led to the creation of the bonnemazou-cambus brand in 2017.
They then devoted themselves fully to this vast design project.