Name: Carton Noir
Location: Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence, France
Product: Shine a Light Mirror
To say Cécile Chappuis rises above her material is an understatement. From her studio in Provence, she crafts humble cardboard into beautiful objects for the home—including these stunning mirrors. Inspired by seventeenth century Dutch design, they’re a highly refined example of making lemonade out of lemons.
What inspired you to create the Shine a Light Mirror?
The mirror was inspired by seventeenth century Dutch style. The rather wide beveling allows for a lot of depth within a moderate surface. The mirror itself is chamfered, to reinforce the openness and to capture more light.
How was the mirror made?
The frame is assembled from multiple layers of industrial cardboard of various thicknesses and densities. The cutting, gluing and painting of the cardboard layers is all done by hand. This particular square frame is 19.7" (50 cm) wide and its thickest point is 3.3" (8.4 cm). The mirror itself is 7.9" (20.1 cm) wide and is beveled by a mirror maker. A special high-density paint is then applied.
Where is this product manufactured?
The product is manufactured in a workshop located in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the French capital of antiques in the region of Provence. The workshop is inside an eighteenth century watermill that used to power woodcutting machinery, and is now open to the public as a showroom.
What was the big aha! you had while creating this product?
The amazing thing with cardboard is the contrast between the crudeness of the raw material and the sophistication of the final result. The steepness of the transformation is both a reward for the creator and a surprise to the owner of the finished product.
Can you describe your creative process?
I take my inspiration from a mix of art history, architecture, contemporary art and design. I always start from the raw sheets of cardboard and elaborate from there to create volumes and shapes.
What do you love about what you do?
Since everything is done by hand and cardboard is so versatile, I always create new objects and innovate in the way elements get assembled.
How would you sum up your aesthetic/design philosophy?
I bring together inspiration from the Flemish school of painting and the spirit of Italian Renaissance and combine them with contemporary art to invent new styles.
What are you working on next?
I am starting a range of frames and other objects that are still made with cardboard, but that also include LED-based integrated lighting, so that they can take on a different personality at night.