MOCO LOCO is 10 years on the web this year, to mark the occasion this week we’re talking to designers from where we began, our home town of Montreal. Guillaume Sasseville designs “rare objects”, skillfully combining the traditional crafts of the artisan and industrial production.
Photo: Chloe Dulude
MOCO: Tell us about your work right now…
Sasseville: The Marble project is the latest, part of a collection of ‘common’ objects, each addressing a different feature of marble. Assembly, transparency, weight and wear.
A simple chair and dumbbells made of solid marble, that’s a visually compelling juxtaposition. Are they practical? Can they be used like the common objects they’ve been modelled on?
Yes they are usable, use was considered at each stage of development and in the methods of production. They remain essentially simple objects, but it’s all there to use.
These are everyday objects that in their simplicity address the concept of timelessness. What are the ingredients of objects that span generations? Respect for the material – the marble is already contributing a lot in this aspect – and respect for the form, we had to get to the essence of what is a bench or what is a dumbbell.
More specifically, ‘Classic Common’ is a collaboration with Pierre LaramÃ©e of Commissaires which dissects the concept of building.
A series of components are deposited one on top of the other, mechanically assembled using the technique of stapling, an ancient method still in use today, but with a twist as the pins are normally hidden on the back of components. For ‘Classic Common’ the pins are exposed.
For production, we use a hybrid of skilled stonemason and 6th generation digital processing. I love this overlay. The marble is locally sourced, the block comes from Vermont just over the border in the USA. We visited to the quarry, it was magnificent! A marble cathedral under a mountain.
So, a new (and old!) kind of heirloom. In your opinion, does the notion of heirloom, a keepsake we pass from generation to generation, exist in our modern society?
We can question the notion of bequeathing, the intention to pass objects to future generations, regardless if they are family or outside the family. Our job is to give meaning to objects, afterwards, it’s up to those who possess them to anchor them in their context.
The movement towards virtual objects is well underway. The interest I have in the common objects I create, is to create a collection from basic, primary materials. ‘Classic Common’ and ‘Common Glass’, another current studio project, are part of this effort.
Do you have any heirlooms yourself, from your family passed down to you?
Personally, I’m still too young … my grandparents at one time traveled extensively, some objects they brought from Asia are incredible, these objects refer directly to moments in their lives, their value is symbolic for me. We’ll see, my grandmother always knowingly smiles when I linger too long in front of her library. I am far from being in a hurry, her stories have more value to me right now.