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Therapeutic objects, invisible design, ergonomics of desire... Mathieu Lehanneur has juggled with contradictions for 10 years to produce a design which regularly exceeds its boundaries and catches the attention of editorial offices and prestigious clients internationally. Lehanneur is a creator of iconic objects which immediately summarize a time, a place or a brand. An eye for the most captivating response for each challenge set places him in the ranks of great designers today, story tellers of the never-ending tale between man and his objects. Mathieu Lehanneur therefore returns to simply good and useful design by referring to natural history more than to design history; for him the user is above all a body, a place of chemical exchange whose physiology is to be attended to in order respond to its needs, desires, or emotions. An intuitive or very real recognition, he sometimes even collaborates with scientists and doctors to invent new ergonomics when confronted with our tangible challenges: to breathe better; to sleep better; to love better; to live better.
It is an exploration of natural and technical possibilities which permit him to produce objects which are equally functional and magical, as well as both strange and friendly. A graduate of the ENSCI- Les Ateliers in 2001 (Higher School for Industrial Creation), his very first project explored improvements in the taking of medicine through integrating the patient’s mental resistance. Entitled ‘Therapeutic Objects,’ these medicines, the design of which proposes a new ritual suitable for maximizing treatment, are today part of the permanent collection at the MoMA. He became recognised on an international level with the ‘Elements’ series (Carte Blanche VIA 2006) and ‘Bel Air’ filtration system using plants (2007), six objects composing a range of domestic ‘Health Angels’ which aim to rebalance our physiological deficiencies (like the lack of light in winter) and counteract urban aggression (sound and air pollution). Edited by Le Laboratoire under the name ‘Andrea’, today Bel Air is a commercial success with more than 1,000 copies sold in six months, awarded the Best Invention Award in 2008 by Popular Science magazine. The second French person, after Philippe Starck, to be invited to the prestigious TED conference, with the same pleasure he passes from an object for the Carpenters Workshop Gallery (London) or for Schneider Electric, to packaging for Issey Miyake, and in particular to interior architecture by designing for example, a personal office in 2009 for David Edwards, a highly-charged scientist and businessman for whom he conceived a room suitable for exercising his intellect in order to bounce off his multitude of ideas. Since then, Cartier, Nike, Yohji Yamamoto and the Centre Pompidou, for which he has produced two spaces, or the church at Melle in Deux Sèvres, have called upon him praising his unique ability to take in the context and mull it over producing symbolic and functional architecture. He has just received the ‘Intelligence de la main’ Prize awarded by the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation for his series of ceramic jars entitled ‘L’âge du monde’ (The Age of the World).