Whether you’re in New York, Paris, Shanghai or Dubai, everyone in the world of luxury brands knows of ceramic artist Pascale Girardin. They give her contemporary spaces, and she fills them with soulful art, perfectly outfitting any locale, expressing human experience, complementing architecture, and making people feel good.
Girardin’s extraordinary portfolio contains some of the most recognized names in the world: Nobu Downtown and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, the private residences in the Pudong Four Seasons, Paris department store, Le Printemps, and the Al Bahdia Golf Club in Dubai. More recently, she completed a trellis for the new Hotel Signiel in Seoul, as well as a new series of totems for an office building in Beijing, and a mural for the Bellagio in Shanghai.
Given all the amazing experiences you have had, what would you like to work on?
“A collection of pieces for Hermès!” says Girardin, enthusiastically.
How do you approach a project? What is your creative process like?
“Often, my eye falls on something and I just start there. Those moments of contemplation are very furtive, but the results are burned into my memory. It might be the volume and proportions of an unusual object, or the texture and colour of a natural surface. Or, something else! It’s very hard to explain, but when an object, a space or a surface grabs my interest, it stays with me, and serves as a starting point for a new work.”
Tell us about your research and how your work has evolved:
“Ceramics requires a great deal of patience, and extensive knowledge of chemistry, physics, visual arts and sculpture. When I design a piece, I know that there’s only a 50-80% chance that it will come out the way I want. So many things can go wrong at the various stages of drying, glazing and firing. My work changes with the degree of difficulty and chance of success. I don’t deliberately set out to do things that are easy; rather, I look for the fluidity and natural imperfections that make each piece unique and give it an elegant, poetic character.”
This accomplished ceramic artist, sculptor and designer also designs and produces dishes for some of the top restaurants in North America, including J&G Grill, Nobu and Toqué!
Girardin has an impressive resume, which began with studies in biology at Université de Montréal. She went on to earn a BFA from Concordia University, pursued her studies in ceramics at the Centre de Céramique Bonsecours, and received a certificate in design from her alma mater. Topping it all is a Master’s Degree in Visual and Media Arts from UQAM. Girardin is also the recipient of numerous accolades, including Pierre-Pagé, François-Houdé, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, and the Canada Council for the Arts, among others.