A longstanding collaborator with French design show Maison&Objet, and frequently the creative force behind its central ‘Inspirations’ theme, Elizabeth Leriche might be a Paris native through and through, but she also spends a couple of months every year at her other home in Cape Town.
It’s not merely a matter of following the sun for this acclaimed stylist and tastemaker; in the past few years of spending a portion of the European winter in South Africa, she has been drawn to explore the country’s artistic and design milieus, of which many pieces have found their way back to the apartment and retreat in the French countryside she shares with her husband, Thomas Boog, and their two sons.
On her recent visit to Cape Town, she discussed the inspiration behind her latest project for Maison&Objet, titled Silence.
‘The world in which we live today relentlessly seeks to draw our attention with a multitude of images, endlessly inviting us to try new experiences and step up the pace of our connected lifestyle. And yet, whether we consider it as paradoxical or, on the contrary, as representing a quest for balance, life today also encompasses such contradictory notions as speed and slowness, abundance and sobriety, maximalism and minimalism, the noise of towns and the rare silence of wide-open spaces.
‘This space has chosen to take an in-depth look at contemporary forms of “silence” and aims to provide a contrast to the urgency of contemporary exchanges. It answers our need to take a break, provides time for meditation and for seeing forms and objects in a new light. Far from being an invitation to withdraw from life or to go into one’s shell, Silence presents another kind of intensity, one that invents new scenarios and marks a definite presence in the world.
‘The visit begins with a zone of rupture and transition. Visual and aural chaos gradually give way to ‘white noise’, to an island of tranquillity and silence where designers and artists unveil new means of isolating and protecting oneself that redefine the contours of private life. Rather like a rite of passage, inner silence takes over and leads one to contemplate these archetypal, essential forms. Objects themselves become silent to better be a part of our dreams and encourage us to live a more contemplative, introspective and fulfilling existence.
‘Like the Magnum opus of alchemical transmutation, the circuit finishes by confronting nigredo and albedo as the emotions of our private life and the question of knowledge come face to face. A deep, radical black meets a pure, intense white and together impose their own form of silence. The black bedroom immerses visitors in the mysterious depths of silent meditation, whereas the white library presents a repertoire of fundamental forms that showcase a resolutely minimal simplicity.
‘Silence is the new philosopher’s stone; disconnection is synonymous with liberation and silence is this new and luxurious material that is a source of creativity, respiration and harmony,’ concludes Elizabeth.
For more os Elizabeth’s work visit elizabethleriche.com.
Photography Courtesy of Elizabeth Leriche