MOBILE ART: Moynat’s creative director Ramesh Nair has a knack for packing unusual ideas into the house’s trunks and leather goods. There was a mobile breakfast trunk launched in 2012 with three-star Michelin chef Yannick Alléno, and in 2014, a range of handbags shaped like vintage steam locomotives codesigned with Pharrell Williams.
Cue the Artist’s Trunk, inspired by a conversation with Chile-born, L.A.-based artist Mambo. Designed and handcrafted in France, the trunk-cum-mobile art gallery is fitted with a foldout easel in anodized aluminum composite that can display up to six of the artist’s works.
“I used to make these little models of trunks and there was one that opened up completely with the idea that maybe one day Anish Kapoor would want to work with me. Then I got thinking about Francis Bacon and his triptych and thought, yes, there’s something to do there,” Nair said at the trunk’s unveiling on Wednesday in the Moynat stand on the first floor of Le Bon Marché, which is hosting a Paris-themed exhibition. Nair had just returned from Taiwan and South Korea for two new store openings for the Groupe Arnault-owned leather goods firm.
The trunk’s curved bottom is fitted with compartments for paints and materials, with a selection of Mambo’s possessions such as music, books and notepads, tucked into leather pockets in the lid.
The trunk’s exterior is an artwork in itself: a paint-splattered canvas echoing the floor of Mambo’s atelier, complete with traces of his boot prints.
“It’s sort of a puzzle, you can play with it and turn the works upside down,” said Mambo, whose graphic artworks are mainly inspired by the human brain. A series of fun portraits by the artist and a graffiti motif also feature on screen-printed silk twill scarves and Quattro totes in taurillon leather.
“We’re used to having art in a gallery. Here, we’re bringing art into our personal space but also bringing a bit of travel with it,” Nair said. “I don’t look at it as a piece we’re going to sell to somebody; it’s a support, an easel, an installation. For me, art means craft.”