Guests of Honour included British Royals – Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer, Louise Wong, Kayan Ng and more
[HONG KONG, 29 May 2023] The opening ceremony of Dualités : Mosaic of Details co-presented by SAUVEREIGN and Studio Putman took place on the evening of Thursday 25th May 2023 at the Metal zone Atrium of ELEMENTS Hong Kong, during which the exhibition was formally officiated by Mr. Bertrand Mak, Founder and Chief Creator of SAUVEREIGN, Ms. Olivia Putman, Director of Studio Putman and daughter of legendary French designer Andrée Putman, and Ms. Christile Drulhe, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau. The exhibition highlights an exquisite selection of avant-garde, sculptural furniture and wearable ornaments that represent a fusion of art, luxury, and interior design and embodies Western elegance permeated with Eastern delicacy. The opening cocktail event attracted more than 150 international and local guests including the nieces of late Princess Diana, Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer, award winning actress Louise Wong, artist Kayan Ng and TVB actress Yvette Chan and as well as esteemed media.
The Grand Opening of the exhibition was followed by an exclusive dinner at the Ritz Carlton, hosted by Bertrand Mak and Olivia Putman. The elite guestlist included guests of honour, Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer as well as Ms. Christile Drulhe, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Julien-Lïoc Garin (Art & Culture Ambassador, SAUVEREIGN and Le French May Organiser, Andrea Lo (Deputy Editor at Tatler Hong Kong), Fiona Fang (Co-Founder of Sustainable Fashion Brand Allegory), Anina Ho (socialite), Celina Harto (former Miss Hong Kong).
Celebrating the first-ever collaboration between the French studio and a Hong Kong-born art and luxury house, the exhibition showcases a remarkable retrospective collection of iconic designs by Andrée Putman and Olivia Putman, as well as a collection of new creations conceived in collaboration with SAUVEREIGN founder Bertrand Mak. Dualités: Mosaic of Details is currently on view and will run through 14 June.
An exquisite showcase of both retrospective and newly created works, the exhibition exemplifies the evolution of Studio Putman through three curated sections. The first, titled Le Salon by Studio Putman (The Salon by Studio Putman), commemorates the 10th anniversary of Andrée Putman’s passing and celebrates the life and legacy of the legendary designer. Within the salon, an original selection of furniture and objects by Studio Putman is displayed along with photographs and personal artefacts of the late designer. The scenography is designed by Andrée’s daughter, Olivia, and highlights the late artist’s masterful use of black and white checkers as a recurring motif in her practice. A recognisable marker of the studio to this day, the iconic checkerboard pattern is a legacy and signature perpetuated over two generations of Putman designers.
From the reign of Andrée to Olivia, Studio Putman has created and designed for a myriad of internationally distinguished brands, the prestigious roster of which includes Christofle, Lalique, Charles Jourdan, Louis Vuitton, and Nina Ricci among many others. The second area of the exhibition, titled Studio Putman in Collaborations with…, features an array of individual objects developed from their various collaborations throughout the years. Displayed in a salon-style, the exhibited works span across ceramics, textile, home décor and wearable objects, dating across two decades from 1993 to 2013. A mosaic of moments from the history of Studio Putman, Studio Putman in Collaborations with… elucidates fragments of insights into the creative journey of the evolving studio.
The exhibition culminates in the third and final area, titled SAUVEREIGN BY STUDIO PUTMAN – a gallery of newly created wearable art and home goods, born as a result of the partnership between the two houses. The fruit of 12 months of deliberation and development, the SAUVEREIGN BY STUDIO PUTMAN collection not only marks the first collaboration between the Parisian studio and a Hong Kong-born designer, but moreover, its first collaboration with a designer from Asia.
Designed by Olivia Putman and Bertrand Mak, the collection comprises a new series of SAUVEREIGN’s signature Gem ornaments, sculpted to recall the iconic Putman mosaic. Launched in concurrence are also a wall mirror and compact mirror infused with elements of gold, coalescing the expertise of the two houses. Transforming their canvases from large to small and vice versa, their resultant creations are an interesting microcosm and magnification of the designers’ respective practices.
Interview with Bertrand Mak and Olivia Putman
- Bertrand, tell us about this collaboration. What inspired you to partner with Studio Putman?
Bertrand: I have long admired Olivia’s work, even before I was aware of her mother, Andrée’s work. I first discovered her work through her mesmerising Nina Ricci bottle and fell in love with pieces created for Lalique and Christofle.
Despite the challenges of Covid-19, I wanted desperately to work with her. The relationship was built over weekly Zoom meetings; in fact, I was only able to meet her for the first time in person last week. It took an incredible amount of trust and faith, but as I suspected, our personal tastes, aesthetic values and attention to detail are exactly aligned.
- Olivia, this is your first collaboration with an Asian artist and designer. How long has this project been in the works? Can you share why you chose to work with SAUVEREIGN? Olivia: I was introduced to SAUVEREIGN by my friend Julien just over a year ago and was amazed at the joy the brand brings to women. The modular aspect fascinated me because I love this approach in architecture too. How amazing is it to be able to clip a Gem onto your shoe, blouse or bag according to your mood, or the time of day?
Bertrand and I have not known each other for long, but we have achieved something great in this collection, despite creating it over Zoom! Our approach to working with artisans and ateliers is the same: we simply want the best for our collections; quality and craftsmanship are paramount and should not be compromised.
- Bertrand, this is your first foray into home decor. Can you talk us through the creation of the mirrors? How is SAUVEREIGN’s unique aesthetic reflected in these items? Bertrand: Whilst this is my first collection which includes home accessories, I am no stranger to interior design: I have designed all of my stores and even the furniture in our offices. So whilst I’m not an interior designer, I would say that I do have that sensitivity.
The mirrors actually started as a Gem. Olivia had asked if I wanted to use the original shape of the Gem, which I found incredibly thoughtful given her weight as a designer. My answer was: ‘Do whatever you like.’ The entire process was highly fluid, and I felt we were on a level playing field throughout.
Olivia: We started with a Gem, and as the design developed, we found ourselves looking at an exquisite compact mirror. The next step was to expand that idea into a wall mirror. We both felt it would be a pity not to create such a showstopping piece in two scales.
- Olivia, SAUVEREIGN by Studio Putman transforms your design work into wearable art. Can you share your process for creating the Gems?
Olivia: The first thing I did was to send Bertrand a mood board utilising images I had found of SAUVEREIGN’s existing collections. It was almost like planning a wedding – I wanted my partner’s cooperation and to ensure he was on board with the vision. It was essential to keep both identities and scale was not something I really considered at first.
Of course, there are technical challenges. The domed shape of the Gems was difficult to achieve with the layered mosaics, and 18-carat gold is soft, so precision was essential. Achieving the perfect balance of matte and shiny pieces was also something we considered deeply. Creating wearable art was an exciting task for me to tackle. I tried to consider the women who would wear the Gems and how they might behave with these pieces on or how they might affect a mood. I put myself in their shoes, so to speak. There are unexpected surprises in each piece, I call it a “wink”, which is evident in most of my designs so that the owners are on a journey of discovery long after the first reveal.
Bertrand: Olivia may have considered women when designing, but I’ve always worn SAUVEREIGN’s Gems as brooches, and I was pleasantly surprised with the feedback I received. Brooches are experiencing a revival, but today they are not only for women but also for men. I’m so pleased with the final results. It was not easy to achieve the different layers and amplify the three
dimensional aspect of the Legacy Gems, but the balance is perfect; both houses are both equally present. The signature techniques of SAUVEREIGN were incorporated into the design, whilst Studio Putman’s influence is easily recognisable. This is why we thought of the name Dualités – – there are opposing but complementary forces at play.
- The exhibition has been beautifully curated. Can you tell us more about your approach to this?
Olivia: At first, we had no plans to create an exhibition, but as we explored all of Studio Putman’s collaborations, we felt inspired to share the story. These days it’s fashionable to collaborate, but this is something Studio Putman has been doing with many beautiful brands for a very long time. We’ve been collaborating for almost 30-40 years with the likes of Lalique and Christofle, who are very well known in Hong Kong. I pulled so many beautiful pieces from my archives with Bertrand, and I felt we had to share them. I think people will really understand the SAUVEREIGN by Studio Putman collection, once they discover archive pieces.
Bertrand: It’s genuinely humbling for SAUVEREIGN to be shown alongside these iconic brands. We are in incredible company.