Claire Leina 

Interview

 

The talented young graphic artist Claire Leina grew up in Brazil and remains as passionate as ever about its flora and fauna. She has alightly wild side ttamed by her characteristic sense of fun.

 

What's your background ?

 

I graduated from the École de Communication Visuelle in Aix en Provence. I trained as a graphic artist, applying my skills to fashion textiles while working as an assistant to creative director Benoît-Pierre Emery,  at Hermès. I worked on designs for silk scarves and wraps for Kenzo and Bompard amongst a great many others. Then I left Paris for the sunshine of Marseilles, where I have been working freelance since 2008. It was while I was in living in Marseilles that I realised that I wanted to get into interior decoration. So, I created a wallpaper collection for an Australian brand and this is how my collaboration with Habitat started. I was spotted by Pierre Favresse, Habitat's creative director, who is always on the lookout for new designers. 

How would you describe yourself in terms of today's design scene?

 

Well, I suppose one is always afraid of getting lost in the crowd so to speak. But I'd say that my experience in both fashion and interior decoration is a real advantage. I enjoy working in different areas, getting to grips with projects, working on brand identity - taking a global approach. And then of course, there's who I am, my universe, my inspiration and my   design approach, which can be sophisticated, sensual and include watercolours depending on the project, but I think people connect with my feminine and poetic side. 

 

 

 

ERIC BOMPARD, Cashmere scarves, Éric Bompard, 2011/2012/2013

 

 

 

AREA ENVIRONMENTS, Wallpaper for Area Environments, Minneapolis. © Area Environments

 

 

 

WALLPAPER REPUBLIC, Wallpaper for Imgs Custom

Wallcoverings (Australia)

 

 

 

AREA ENVIRONMENTS, Wallpaper for Area Environments, Minneapolis. © Area Environments

Plants and animals have always been a source of inspiration, what do they mean to you?

 

I've lived in South America and Africa, where nature - plants and animals - are incredibly colourful and bountiful. This is the world I grew up in until I returned to Provence aged 15. But I still have an enormous passion for travel and for plants in particular. I am still inspired by landscapes and constantly make use of these images. It's funny because all things exotic and tropical, like Brazil - are really fashionable at the moment. And because I grew up in this atmosphere I have a wealth of inspiration to draw on! There are also dreams, which plunge us into a wilder, more natural and certainly a more joyous world! 

What are your sources of inspiration in this area and in particular for Habitat?

 

Well, it's true that I've created two collections inspired by animals, but they're are in fact quite different. One was for the 2014 Spring/Summer Brazil collection - a must because of the World Cup! The other one was for children. The first design was inspired by my memories and my imagination; it depicts a collection of tropical birds - toucans, parrots, etc. - in their purest form of expression. Whether repeated or singular, the bold colourful patterns liven up cushions, armchairs and tableware. The second design is graphically bolder; I played around with the principle of origami. It has a cleaner, larger design. Its simple forms are well-suited to children.  

 

 

 

Brazil Birds melamine plate and Daborn fabric armchair

 

© Benjamin Godiniaux

HABITAT, Habitat Collection - Autumn - Winter 2013/2014

What are your views on design today? 

 

I've noticed that the most conservative pieces tend to sell best, probably because the style is longer lasting and there is a better chance of a good return on investment. We don't seem to be taking risks any more and that's a real shame! And that's just one reason why I'm going to relocate to England where graphic design, which is inherent in  the culture, is more inspiring, more creative and more open. Bizzarely, the use of colour and pattern has gone crazy. For example, wallpapers are busier than ever but maybe that's because they are being used differently - as wall hangings for example. It's good news for me, as this is my territory. I want to convey the idea of escapism and dreamscapes. And I think the climate is ripe for all things deco! 

 

 

What are you up to now? 

 

I'm just finishing the decoration of a teppanyaki restaurant in Aix en Provence, which specialises in Japanese cuisine. I'm having enormous Japanese tattoos printed on the walls, floors and ceilings. And after the summer, I'm off to London in search of a new sense of freedom and where I hope to recharge my creative batteries and nourish the graphic artist part of me, which I hope to bring back to France and present in two new, highly patterned collections for Habitat's Autumn/Winter collection for 2015/16!