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- Mad Incubator
In light of the upcoming Milan Design Week, MAD had a talk with textile designer Manuel Leromain. One of 13 Belgian designers who will present their work at the well-known SaloneSatellite design fair under the banner of Belgium is Design. A collaboration between MAD Brussels, Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode, Flanders DC and Hub Brussels.
Can you briefly introduce yourself ?
My name is Manuel Leromain, I studied at La Cambre in Brussels, and I am a textile designer. I work around the technique of cutting paper and I create jacquard tapestries such as paintings that you can hang on the wall, on your sofa or on the floor.
You are one of 13 Belgian designers that are going to Milan Design Week 2023 to present your work at the Salone Satellite with Belgium is Design. How did you get involved with Belgium is Design?
After being selected, I was contacted directly by the organization to plan the various meetings in which I was going to participate together with the 12 other designers. Together we discussed the progress of the show, our expectations and our objectives as well as the number of pieces we wanted to present. Belgium is Design is very invested in the way they communicate and promote young designers. We also took a group photo showing our work and to present the creators of this 2023 edition. This photo has already been shared several times on social networks, which explains the importance of an organization such as Belgium is Design during design week in Milan.
What are your expectations for this years Salone Satellite? What do you hope to see?
First of all, I think it's important to get noticed by giving out your business card and by networking with as many potential customers and furnishing fabric publishers as possible. For example, I would like to talk a lot with the creators of CC-tapis, whom I admire a lot, because I find their work sensitive and original. Especially in the choice of colors and materials. CC-tapis regularly calls on creators to edit new graphics. It would be an honor to work with them in the future. My wish would be to have my drawings and collages published in the form of furnishing fabrics, whether woven or printed, I would very much like to find my joyful universe in a pretty interior.
Belgium is Design aims to challenge industrial production. How does that reflect itself in your way of working and in your designs?
My tapestries have been woven on industrial jacquard looms but that does not mean that they are mass produced. On the contrary, each tapestry is a unique piece. This required me to do a lot of research, whether it be technical, graphic, or even symbolic. I experimented with all these parameters for a year before obtaining a convincing result. I did weaving tests, compared the qualities of the threads and the colors, while also making a research notebook with drawings and photos as well as working on the computer to visualize the final result. My work is both a creative and artisanal process while also following an industrial route, I find that very interesting.
Let’s talk a bit about your work! Where do you draw inspiration from for your colorful textile designs ?
I draw my inspiration from my childhood and the environment where I grew up. I grew up on the countryside in a mill in the east of France. This place was a real playground and my tapestries also reflect these childhood memories like moments beyond and out of time (the canoe, the swing, the weeping willow ..). I see color and composition like a real creative engine. Color is inseparable from my work because it comes from my associations and my cut-outs of colored paper and preparatory work that I carry out any creation. I use all of these techniques to obtain a result that satisfies me. I recently saw the exhibition of Baya, an Algerian painter, in Paris. Her color palette is absolutely wonferful, shimmering and vibrant. When you’re a painter, the use of color is really important, the same goes for working with textiles.
Lastly, what would be your advice for start-up designers that are new to the industry ?
I believe that the work process and the way of investing in a project, is very important. One cannot create for the sole purpose of creating and be satisfied with the result. It seems to me that the work of a designer, whatever it may be, must always be questioned. Exploring is thé way of doing things! By carrying out tests, prototypes and samples we reach more successful and less superficial results. As a textile designer, I’m always thinking about the results and what i’m doing. Sometimes the creative process is more interesting than the result! The main quality of a designer is their curiosity! You have to stay curious all your life.