Maison et Objet 2018: Cecile Manz, the Designer of the Year

With every new edition, Maison et Objet elects a Designer of the  Year to honor one of the most outstanding names in industrial and interior design worldwide. In January 2018, Maison et Objet Paris has chosen to celebrate the talent of Danish designer Cecilie Manz.

A SCANDINAVIAN WOMAN

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After earning a diploma in object and furniture design from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1997, Cecilie Manz moved to Finland to further her education at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. The very next year, she founded her own studio in the heart of Copenhagen. Even though she needs the vibrant feel of the city to feed her creativity, she is still happy to commute back to her suburban home and garden every evening to reconnect with the elements.

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See also: Maison et Objet: Philippe Model’s Selection

Not unlike other Danish designers, the balance she maintains between civilization and nature is vital to her creative process.
Now in her 40s, the elegant Dane readily admits that the ceremony for the Crown Prince Couple’s Culture Award she won in 2014, presented to her by the Prince and Princess of Denmark themselves, was certainly one of the highpoints of her career. A career that spans twenty years as she patiently honed her skills to emerge today as one of the major figures of Scandinavian design.

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«The balance she maintains between civilization and nature is vital to her creative process.»

A VERSATILE DESIGNER

Her first project, entitled The Ladder – a ladder that doubles as a chair –, was quickly picked up for production by Nils Holger Moormann after the German designer spotted the prototype in an interior design magazine. The other project that jumpstarted her
career was the Caravaggio lamp.
Heeding the call to experiment, Cecilie Manz has worked on such diverse projects as sofa throws, a minibar for a Wallpaper show, a series of wooden armchairs, a collection of dining tables and chairs for Fritz Hansen, glass vases, and several models of portable speakers for B&O Play – the more affordable brand recently launched by fellow Danes
Bang & Olufsen, she has been collaborating with since 2014.
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Despite her taste for experimenting with new materials and exploring original functions, whenever she sits down at her drawing table the process is
invariable. Every new design starts with countless sketches and models and a close dialogue and collaboration with the manufacturer. A visit to the production line may refine the result and match the techniques used in each particular factory.

This autumn, Cecilie often flew out to Japan, firstly to collaborate with a Japanese company called Actus on a project named Moku and also to be the co-curator of the exhibition “Everyday Life – Signs Of Awareness” at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the relationship between Japan and Danemark.

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AN ADVOCATE OF WAR MINIMALISM

More than a style, the Scandinavian approach she defends, which is too often distorted in her opinion, “should reflect the actual lifestyle of these countries”. In her work, this is often achieved through subtle play on shades of grey associated with brighter colors.

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See also: Maison et Objet 2018: Rising Talent Awards Italy

Colour is a fundamental element in her creative process and she always develops a specific palette in the earliest stages of each project, because it is a way to assert the product’s identity. Her Scandinavian heritage is also self-evident in her effort to strip her creations of any superfluous element, focusing on the essential, oblivious to the fact that her ceaseless pursuit of uncluttered lines presents a new challenge every time.

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AT MAISON&OBJET

This autumn, Cecilie Manz will be undertaking new projects as well as coming back to old ones.
She is constantly experimenting in her studio and she will present the latest results of her work at Maison et Objet in January 2018. The exhibition will feature existing products and new designs, displayed in a warm and homey atmosphere – the underlying theme that defines every single one of her creations.

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Colour is a fundamental element in her creative process and she always develops a specific palette in the earliest stages of each project, because it is a way to assert the product’s identity. Her Scandinavian heritage is also self-evident in her effort to strip her creations of any superfluous element, focusing on the essential, oblivious to the fact that her ceaseless pursuit of uncluttered lines presents a new challenge every time.

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See also: 10 French Top Interior Designers You Need to Know

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