It was the first time the Prix Liliane Bettencourt was awarded since the l’Oréal heiress disappeared a few weeks ago and her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers spoke courageously of the beauty of handmade technics and of the love her mother had for artisanal talents. The ceremony took place at salle Wagram and its 100 th Prize was awarded after 18 years of steady sponsoring. It is one of the most original and sensible prizes for artisans in France which distributes 550 000€ annually.
Every year the Jury changes for it is always constituted of active members of the arts community. Jean de Loisy was president this year with Catherine Pégard, Olivier Gagnère, India Mahdavi and Dominique Perrault among other artists. Each laureate gets 50 000 € and more to pursue a specific project over two years. The foundation accompanies each project and often exhibits them at Palais de Tokyo.
There are three different categories: Exceptional Talents went to Steven Leprizé a 31 year old wood carver and cabinet maker who developed “Marsupio”, a desk in elastic wood. With birch, Virginia tulip, gum and lycra, he enables his desk to adapt to the owners’s needs. A graduate of Ecole Boulle, he is going to develop supple panels with CNRS (Centre national de recherche scientifique) and Ecole des Mines.
The work which won the Dialogues category is the Tiss-Tiss armchair. A founder, David de Gourcuff and two designers, Aki and Arnaud Cooren, created an armchair in aluminum engraved with fabric. It has the rigor of the metal and the poetry of fabric. the foundry is in Auvergne and will be saved by this prize money allowing the owner to hire more employees. More armchairs are going to be developed and the collaboration between the three will go forward.
As for the Prize, Parcours, it is won this year by La maison de l’outil et de la pensée ouvrière in Troyes which I mentioned to you a few months ago. It is a magical museum with very modern displays of tools. I cannot recommend it enough for a visit.
Once again, the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller has proved that it is awarding its prizes against all trends. It has chosen the genius the hand as its theme and is doing an in depth work with artisans who usually live away from Paris and devote all their time and energy to creating beauty. And it accompanies them along the road… What a brilliant institution!
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