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Chafik Gasmi, A designer between industry and poetry

His “Ying” armchair, which he designed with contemporary furniture designer Hugues Chevalier, is installed in the reception rooms of the Prime Minister in Matignon and has contributed to his fame in France and abroad. A multi-talented architect and industrial designer, Chafik Gasmi exercises his creativity in many fields; from furniture to retail design, from interior architecture to scenography, he conceives true 360° concepts for his clients within his multidisciplinary studio, mainly in the luxury and hotel industries. He has thus participated in the development of Sephora, developing the company’s vision and artistic approach, as well as that of brands such as Lancôme, Baccarat, and Le Royal Monceau.

For the Design Week Factory, the internationally renowned designer will take over the Galerie Joseph on rue Saint-Merri, just a stone’s throw from the Pompidou Centre. With a vision of enhancing the verticality of the space of this place, bathed in light, Chafik Gasmi designs a unique and poetic tulle installation experience in this new space of Galerie Joseph.

We Interviewed this talented designer, all dressed in white, who defines creation as the art of grasping the context and issues, and transforming them into poetry. 

Hello, Chafik, can you tell us about your sources of inspiration?

Algiers. I was born there. That makes everyone laugh, but I always start my story with my place of birth. First of all, it is a city that is white, and my relationship with white is obvious. Then, the city is oriented from west to east; it takes the light from all angles. I also like this confrontation between what man brings and what nature has to offer, and architecture is what allows me to find a certain balance. If I have to sum up Algiers, its people, its culture, nature, in the end it is life. 

Which projects and which people are references for you?

I think I did this job because I was immersed in the architecture and the beauty of the city very early on. The architects who fascinated me are those of the Renaissance because they had a real vision of the world. It’s not just about the act of building in the strict sense, but first of all acting in the political, economic, social, and cultural sense.

Your favorite mode of expression?

Space! I think that space includes everything: it has a musical, sculptural and choreographic dimension. It’s an envelope made up of solids and voids, materials, and light.

What is your creative process?

The encounters! When I apprehend a project, I don’t really have any ideas.

Ideas are like light; you just have to observe: when it hits a place, something happens.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

What we’re doing today at Galerie Joseph on Saint-Merri Street. But we’ve done some incredible projects, like the one for a façade made entirely of water in the desert!

What’s your favorite object?

The pencil! I can’t stand drawing with anything else.

Your last great artistic emotion?

I have a lot of them, but the most striking one was my visit to Lecce in Puglia. It’s a sublime region; it looks like it was carved and sculpted with the same stone.

And an emotion from touching a clean installation made by an artist was Monumenta by Anish Kapoor, an incredible moment where I was completely transported.

Your favorite address in Paris?

The Seine! I’m a fan of it. Every time I walk along the Seine or cross it, I am amazed.