Patrick Jouffret, a french designer, has the will to create objects that free the spirit and bring Beauty to all. He sees Beauty as multi-sensory and absolute, that goes beyond what can be apprehended. He shares with us his vision of Beauty and how he tries to bring it every day into our lives.
Can you tell us about the last time Beauty helped you or healed you?
I see Beauty everywhere. I see Beauty in places, in things, in behaviors. I also hear Beauty. I think that the last time it really healed me, was in my new work place which is located just above the harbor of Toulon. This place changed my daily life, I have a beautiful light coming in and an ongoing changing landscape. Beauty really influences my work and calms me down.
How do you bring more Beauty to the world?
I try to bring Beauty to the world through my behavior, my relationships with others, especially with my children. Trying to make them thrive, to make them feel good. I think this is a way to bring Beauty to the world, because they are the one who will build the world of tomorrow.
I also try to bring Beauty through my work, by creating every day and useful objects. A Beauty born out of the useful. And also by creating Beauty for the benefit of all. That is to say, all the objects that will be for public use, but which will be specifically designed to bring Beauty into the present world.
Do you believe that Beauty will save us? How?
For me, it’s the “us” here that’s important. It seems hard to save oneself by Beauty, however Beauty can improve our daily life, for sure. It’s unity that will save us.
Usually objects created for the benefit of all, are often seen as a decline in the design market. So creating objects for the benefit of all, is, for me, a form of generosity. To work on the shadowy areas of our daily lives, whereas it’s public transportation or the places of end of life, all these places that are a little bit forgotten, in a world in which Beauty has colonized a culture of individualism. I find that very interesting. So yes, if Beauty is used for these purposes, I think it will save us.
If I say Beauty, what do you think of?
I think of a lot of things. It can be a female figure. I think also a lot about music. I think about Bach, I think about musical instruments, details of objects. I think about nature, even if for me, nature goes beyond Beauty. It is the absolute. That is to say, it is something that is difficult to grasp. It seems to me that what we are going to find beautiful is what brings us back to the smallness of our human condition, to the limit of what we can do. I think that’s why I’m really touched by people, by human actions which go beyond what is ordinary, in the ordinary.
Do you remember the first thing that amazed you as a child?
Yes. I remember very well a German word I was taught in kindergarten, since I was in a bilingual school. That word was ‘blumen’ which means flowers in German. And that I found absolutely beautiful. It was an aesthetic shock, but through hearing.
Which perhaps explains why I was talking about music just before, is that I think that Beauty is multi-sensory. You feel a landscape through the wind on your skin, through the sound of the wind in the trees, through the light, through the smells. Beauty is definitely multi-sensory. When one works in design, and therefore also in aesthetics, it leaves you dreamy. Since one has a field of action that is not only form, density or aesthetics but which can go far beyond that and which is moreover constantly moving.
Where does Beauty hide? Can it be found in the most ordinary things?
Beauty is mostly in the ordinary things. I have a little trouble seeing Beauty in the extraordinary. For me, Beauty is slight variations in human creation that will bring something unexpected and really surprising. It’s an exchange between the one who has made and the one who is admiring. It can be an exchange going on through centuries. One can see a Byzantine pottery or an Inca musical instrument and realize that the person who made this object several centuries ago, several millennia ago, was in a process, in a research. It was certainly not his first work, and I recognize myself through that. I think that painters probably feel the same when they visit a museum.
I think that Beauty is above all in ordinary things. In fact, the ordinary is a bit extraordinary. You just have to look at a light, feel the air in your lungs, realize that something miraculous is happening. I think that looking for Beauty in the extraordinary is a pity. It’s missing the essential.
What is your motto or philosophy in life to make you feel beautiful and fulfilled?
I don’t have a motto or sentence that helps me in my moments of doubt. I adapt to situations and avoid having habits as much as possible.
What feeling does Beauty arouse in you? Could you describe it?
I think that Beauty brings tears to my eyes. It’s very embarrassing. I remember listening to the singer Barbara once, though I didn’t listen to her often, but I had this vinyl where she was singing Brassens’ songs. I was overwhelmed by emotion when I heard her voice, what she released, that I started crying. I don’t think I was crying tears of sadness or melancholy. I was crying in front of so much Beauty. A sporting feat can also sometimes moves me. It can be a little drawing, an idea, which can bring tears to my eyes.