MEET MAISON FRAGILE

Portrait | DEC 6, 2017

THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON LE BON MARCHÉ IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME MAISON FRAGILE, A FRENCH TABLEWARE BRAND. ON THIS OCCASION, MEET ITS CREATOR, MARY CASTEL.

Launched in April 2017, Maison Fragile is a tribute to the family history of its founder, Mary Castel, who emphasises Fragility with a capital “F”. Mary is using the brand to carry on the tradition of her ancestors, who produced and distributed fine Limoges porcelain. As she puts it so well: “That which is beautiful is fragile. That which is fragile is precious”. Le Bon Marché met her at calligrapher Nicolas Ouchenir’s workshop in Paris, with the singer Alexia Gredy, whose lyrics to the song “Paradis” he interpreted. Transcribed onto plates from the first collection “Rue de Paradis”, they bring to mind the historic porcelain makers’ street in Paris.

INTERVIEW WITH MARY CASTEL, THE CREATOR OF MAISON FRAGILE

UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Tableware is part of this famous “meal". I had a Eureka moment. I said to myself: this is our history! My great grandmother Henriette and my grandmother Simone introduced me to craftwork and the taste of excellence – my father had a restaurant, my uncle worked at the famous Brasserie de l’Isle Saint-Louis, and my little cousin is a chef. Tableware is, therefore, an important part of our cultural heritage. This made me want to go into business and make tableware made in France more sought after!


You work with many French artists, from illustrators such as Vaïnui de Castelbajac to photographers like Charles Petit. What gave you the idea for these collaborations?


It came to me quite naturally. When I started the brand, I chose artists that I already knew, people I trusted and who trusted me too. I always choose these figures because of what they do and what they are. In my opinion, the two go hand in hand; their sensitivity, their worldview, the trade, the respect for the craft and for a job well done are essential to me. I love working with completely different worlds, not only with people who work in graphics. It is the first time that a song has been put on a plate. Alexia and Nicolas are a strong duo. I really love how clever and subtle their aesthetic interpretation of Paradis is. We have a shared vision of creation: have experiences of poetry and meaning.

If you had to eat a delicious dish on the Maison Fragile plates, what would you choose?


Everything is delicious if it is served well, from elbow pasta to caviar! You have to eat everything which looks and tastes good; what is important is enjoying and making the most of every moment: carpe diem!


What does Le Bon Marché mean to you?


I think that the Maison Fragile plates are a reflection of our era and of Le Bon Marché: a respect for history, for expertise with freer and less conventional interpretations, with a rock edge that still manages to remain chic. I am sure that Henriette would be extremely proud to know that her history is continuing in the store that she regarded as the store to visit!

That which is beautiful is fragile. That which is fragile is precious.

SIGNINGS WITH THE ARTISTS ON THE 1ST FLOOR OF LA GRANDE ÉPICERIE DE PARIS ON 9 AND 16 DECEMBER

Nicolas Ouchenir, a famous calligraphy artist, interpreted the words of the Paradis song by Alexia Gredy as words arranged like the vortex of life. SIGNINGS WITH ALEXIA GREDY AND NICOLAS OUCHENIR, SATURDAY 16 DECEMBER AT 14:30.

Paradis gift set by Safia Ouares: an illustrator passionate about history tells us about the origin of the Persian Paradise Garden as a magnificent and extraordinary garden with plants and animals.

Safia Ouares decorated the small bowls chosen by the Head Chef at the Élysée Palace, for the dinner sets used at the Palace, based on the theme “Make earth great again”. SIGNINGS WITH GUILLAUME GOMEZ AND SAFIA OUARES, SATURDAY 9 DECEMBER. © Bloom Paris

MAISON FRAGILE IN PICTURES: FROM MANUFACTURERS IN LIMOGES TO NICOLAS OUCHENIR’S PARISIAN WORKSHOP