I’ve met Clémentine Pautrot – Winner of Sofitel MyBed and Wallpaper* Magazine design competition – in the lobby of Munchen’s former Post Office turned luxury Sofitel hotel. Just like her inviting installation, she was a focal point in the room, a vivid color in a sea of darkness.
Modesty Charms, Elegance Conquers
Thanks to Decoist and being flown out to Munchen by Sofitel’s amazing team for their fabulous celebration of this international design competition winner – French designer Clémentine Pautrot – I got to meet a vibrant and modest young woman who looked like she has seen her dreams come alive. Probably because she has, when the installation she imagined in sketches was complementing Sofitel’s exquisite lobby.
She’s honest and inspiring, applying simplicity not only to her designs, but to day-to-day life as well. And she was kind enough to answer a few questions. Enjoy!
Ada Teicu: After meeting you at Sofitel Munich Bayerpost, my mind accepts your name as synonym to a relaxing sleep. Please add depth to this shallow knowledge by sharing your story so far with us.
Clémentine Pautrot: I am a French interior designer. I studied in Paris and I have been working for two years in an agency named “red”. Most of our projects are windows or merchandising props for jewelers and watchmakers like Cartier, Hermes etc.… I think it is a great challenge to reveal the brand’s identity through very subtle details. I like this refinement. We also have a packaging activity and we do interior design. I’d like to have some time to travel, discover other cultures and ways of life.
Ada: A friend forwarded you the link to the Sofitel/Wallpaper design competition. How did you imagine the outcome once you entered and how did it differ from real life?
Clémentine: When I heard about the competition, it inspired me and I did some research. I drafted some ideas. It was just a week before the deadline when I finished my work. I didn’t expect to win or even be shortlisted. So I didn’t really think about the outcome. Once in Munich we did a video and a photo-shoot. I didn’t imagine it would be so long! But Wallpaper* team has been so great to work with and Sofitel staff very welcoming. It was a really nice experience. I look forward to see the article in the July issue of Wallpaper* !
Ada: How did the design process go once you entered the competition?
Clémentine: Once I entered the competition, I didn’t see the shortlisted announcement. It was a real surprise when Wallpaper contacted me by the end of February. They offered me a chance to come to Munich the week after. I met the Sofitel and Wallpaper teams to organize the event and I had a meeting with Nitzan & Cohen Design Studio to discuss the design of the setup in the lobby. A few emails and a month after, I was back in Munich for the bed’s installation. Everything looked like my sketch even if we changed a few materials. In April, I had a few interviews in the Oyster Suite. Then, on the 4th of April, we had the cocktail in the lobby with German, Belgian, English and French journalists and bloggers.
Ada: What idea or image at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost event stuck with you?
Clémentine: Spending a few hours installing the lights and making the bed look perfect. When we took the first picture, it was exactly like my sketch! It looked great, I was really proud.
Ada: You’re French and your culture is known as chic, elegant and relaxed. How does this influence your design perspective?
Clémentine: I don’t believe in the French “chic”. It is not an influence for me, but sobriety, simplicity are. Just shape & material, no flourish.
Ada: This installation was your way of materializing falling asleep. Where did you find inspiration?
Clémentine: My inspiration was my own experience of sleeping. When I fall asleep, I just let my mind escape from my body. In my dreams, I live so many adventures; it is like a parallel playground. This way I get away from reality and free my mind. I see it as climbing an endless ladder.
Ada: This Sleep Universe you imagined for Sofitel begs the question: What does your bedroom look like?
Clémentine: Very simple. Messy and tidy at the same time. With a lot of handmade items and little souvenirs. What I like about it is the light coming through the orange curtains in the morning.
Ada: What do you think are key factors for a restful sleep from a design point of view?
Clémentine: Quietness and a feeling of safety are very important. The bed must be like a cocoon, it must protect the sleeper from the outside rowdiness.
Ada: What do you dream at night?
Clémentine: I dream a lot. Younger, I even dreamed so much that I woke up exhausted. My dreams are a distorted version of my everyday life.
Ada: How has this design competition change you and your work?
Clémentine: No big changes but I feel more self-confident.
Ada: What’s next on your design path?
Clémentine: I am still working in the same agency, based in Paris. I learn a lot. Maybe I will try some other competitions.
I strongly encourage Clementine to do as she says, try new competitions and reach new heights in dreams, whichever kind they may be – daydreams or distorted versions of everyday life. After all, we can say we live in three worlds – reality, daydreaming and night dreaming.