Meet this designer and interior architect, as he talks about his work and shares his most special place, in images and words.
His father was an architect, his grandfather a musician, his great-grandfather a designer with Mallet-Stevens; other ancestors invented colored pencils. Thomas Dariel traveled frequently and lived in the US as a child, and his way of thinking remains shaped by the experience. An admirer of traditional French craftsmanship, he also acquired a certain pragmatism and dynamism from China. After a ten-year stint there, during which he founded a design school, Dariel returned to his native Paris this year. He has also founded an interior design studio in Shanghai, worked on some 120 projects and launched Maison Dada. The firm produces his boldly colored creations, which are more works of art than objects and have names like Object of Discussion and Off the Moon. Like the Dadaists, he cultivates the unexpected and an insolence that radiates freedom. As a kid, he loved wacky, useless objects, appreciated the whimsical in the seriousand still does. The far-fetched drives the creative process, and making mistakes is part of it. Poetry to him? “Embellishing reality,” he says, quoting Ettore Sottsass, for whom a designer was a “creator of happiness.” Dariel wants to form a multicultural Factory and pass on his experience to young colleagues. Drawing endless objects is his recreation. Maison Dada is made of the stuff of his dreams.
“The place where I felt most at home . . . The home of my grandparents, fabulous people, near Saint-Germain-en-Laye, now sold. Several generations of the family lived in buildings surrounding a square courtyard. Beyond that stretched a park, which seemed immense to my child’s eyes, where I loved to wander about. Watching the Minuscule series with my son reminds me of that time. The whole place smelled of meadows and grass; there was a gigantic weeping willow, a dovecote, chickens and dogs roaming about. My childhood was steeped in this trio of nature-animals-people. I like the contrast between enclosed cozy spaces and nature. This house represents a moment of sheer happiness, emotional security and peace. It was all so harmonious; a source of inspiration and a starting point.The piece of furniture in this painting represents the drawers of our memory, where memories are stored.” [Editor’s note: Called Confidence of a Cloud, with a fragment of sky in one of its compartments, the item in this painting is a contemporary interpretation of the writing desk and one of Maison Dada’s signature pieces.]