Mr. & Mr.

Montpellier, France

Mr. & Mr. is a French design and production studio comprising the design duo Alexis Lautier (born in 1975 in Grenoble) and Pierre Talagrand (born in 1980 in Nîmes), established in 2011 and based in Montpellier. Lautier graduated from the Architecture program at the Montpellier National School of Architecture in 2004 before establishing his own agency in 2007 under the name L’Atelier Range Ta Chambre, working on a range of projects including architectural photography, conceptual design, graphic works, video, and installation. Lautier continues teaching at Montpellier National School of Architecture alongside his work with Mr. & Mr. Talagrand, conversely, took a more unusual route to arrive at design; he is self-taught and developed his skills through meetings and collaborations with visual artists and fashion designers before joining forces with Lautier to form the Mr. & Mr. brand.

Lautier and Talagrand met in Montpellier in 2005 when they were both looking for a new platform of expression, one with as few limitations as possible — which is why the duo prefer to refer to Mr. & Mr. as a ‘publishing house’ rather than a design studio with the accompanying implication of a singular design aesthetic or creative mission. Combining craftsmanship with the transformation of materials and their application, the work of the predominantly self-publishing brand Mr. & Mr. represents a deceptively effortless hybrid design. Never ones to be confined to a genre, Lautier and Talagrand have now twice —in 2014 and 2017— curated a culinary residency in Montpellier named Restaurant d’Application, which brought together designers and culinary artists in a performative dinner setting. It follows, then, that their pieces more often than not arise from anecdotes or an amusing observation from the designers’ daily lives; there is a serious sense of play and an emphasis on the benefits of making space for error and chance in their practice.

Mr. & Mr. approach production as an ongoing work in progress that aims to give form to their ever-present ambition of “building projects based on crazy ideas” as the designers themselves say; but don’t be fooled, these pieces are passion-driven and precise in their own way, meant to be played and experimented with but never disposable or trendy. The Autel / Altar Wall Shelf (2017) series is a perfect example; each piece is a flawlessly finished thermo-lacquered steel shelf available in a range of pop colours and is installed by means of a customisable textile lacing and hanging system. Not only does the collector necessarily customise the piece in order to hang it; a delicate game of asymmetry and balance then plays out as personal objects are placed on the movable shelf.

Mr. & Mr. have exhibited their work at the London Design Festival in 2015; at Galerie Joseph-Froissart, Paris, the Milan Design Festival, Galerie VIA during Paris Design Week, and at the Shanghai Design Festival curated by MÌN Design Berlin in 2016; and produced a solo show of their work titled I Remember at the Fenêtre Art Centre in Montpellier in 2017.