I’m a huge fan of the graffiti artist commonly called Monsieur André, Monsieur A or simply, André (real name André Saraiva.) If you’ve ever idly strolled the back streets of Paris, you’re sure to have stumbled upon his stick figure character smiling down at you from the city’s walls. I’m also a fan of early modern furniture design pioneer, Jean Prouvé. So I was intrigued to learn that André Saraiva is also a big fan of Jean Prouvé.
As well as being a graffiti legend (if you’ve watched Banksy’s documentary ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, you’ll have seen Monsier André at work), Saraiva is also the entrepreneur behind the very hip hotels Hotel Amour and Hotel Ermitage (by the way, he’s also creative director for the quarterly French men’s fashion magazine L’Officiel Hommes, and nightclub impresario behind the popular Le Baron night clubs. He’s a remarkably busy man!)
For his hotels, André commissioned some of the leading lights of design — Marc Newson, Jean Pigozzi, Christian Louboutin, Olivier Zahm — to individually create each room. He’s also stocked them with pieces by Jean Prouvé, Mathieu Matégot and Ettore Sottsass, among others. But, it seems André is so enamoured with the designs of Prouvé that he lists the Jean Prouvé bench as one of his ’10 Essentials’ for GQ. Saraiva says, “I’ve always liked Prouvé’s stuff, and the benches are a masterpiece, so every time I see one I buy it. I have three or four of them. Two are here, one in Paris in my apartment, and one in my hotel in Saint-Tropez. And they’re kind of rare because they’re not the classic thing that people want to have, but I think it’s classical, structurally, and the color—they’re really kind of perfect.”
One day I’d love to own an original artwork by Monsier A; I’d also love an original Jean Prouvé bench. But, I think a limited edition Jean Prouvé bench created in collaboration with Monsier André would be perfect. So, if you’re listening Vitra, make it happen!