Ideal for a still life: Victoria Wilmotte’s vessels made of Wedgwood Jasperware.

Victoria Wilmotte
The Alchemist

Victoria Wilmotte certainly knows how to surprise us as her designs combine often somewhat unusual materials. So what is the French designer’s style? Truly sculptural.

She first took the limelight at imm cologne 2016: ClassiCon presented Victoria Wilmotte’s design “Pli”, and it caused a real stir. The name was of course not chosen at random, and the little table does indeed boasts bends and folds. Thanks to them, the table, which features a body made of stainless steel, resembles some gigantic polished gem that shimmers in green, blue, bronze or black, depending on your choice. The four colors are the product of the different lengths of time for which the surface was treated using a INOX SPECTRAL process that causes the stainless steel to change color. The table top can optionally be gleaming or satin crystal glass, calibrated to match the respective color tone. The oval shapes of the basic surface and the top contrast with the edgy feel of the base. The result? New, original, distinctive. And precisely like a sculpture.

It was no doubt in Victoria Wilmotte’s French DNA to become a successful designer. For Jean-Michel Wilmotte, her father, is likewise a designer as are her three elder brothers. Victoria first studied Interior Architecture and then Design at the Royal College of Art in London. She was not exactly on the same wavelength as Jurgen Bey, her professor at the RCA. “He’s very conceptual,” the 31-year-old recollects. “He was more interested in the story a table tells. But I wanted to talk about techniques.” For Victoria has an affinity for surfaces and materials, and loves spending time in the model-building workshop. She prefers to be in direct contact with things than with a mere idea. And here she was more in line with her tutor, Michael Marriott, who himself accords experimentation priority.

Victoria Wilmotte

Her graduation project was called “Domestic Landscape” and included a conceptual element after all: Victoria Wilmotte wanted to know whether it is possible to change our perception o everyday objects if you make them from a different, higher-grade material. She took plastic bottles used for detergent of fabric conditioner and set out to give them a satin finish, in black and blue, and with perfect geometries. A phone call to a representative of Wedgwood set the ball rolling: “I was hunting for a material that looked like plastic but was simply that bit different,” Victoria remembers. “And I came across Jasperware. I presented my project to the rep. And three months later he rang me back and said: You can come and collect the pieces. They’r ready.” And they thereupon went on show at ToolsGalerie in Paris.

Galerie Pierre Bergé noticed the exciting young designer’s work – and she created furniture and objects from marble for an exhibition there. To that end she traveled to Carrara for ten days to familiarize herself with the material and how it was worked: “I like exploring materials that have been slightly forgotten, and industrial techniques that are outdated,” she comments. And she immediately brought the insights to bear for her next project, a series of round marble boxes, once again for ToolsGalerie. “The surfaces of the containers are enamel-coated. I like surprising people, for example by mixing Corian with marble or colored metal or wood. I like forging a link between all these materials.”

This style runs like a red thread through Wilmotte’s work, from her china bottles and her “Biological Marble Tables” made of artificial resin and metal, to her little “Pli” table, made of stainless and metallic glass. She’s bound to come up with many more surprising combinations, and the first step down that road is clearly her Domotex project: entitled “Mineralartificial Walking”, here she sets out to use stone and marble for floors in new ways, by relying on artificial resin in the process. (ua)

Click here for a preview of Victoria Wilmotte’s project for the Domotex.

Group portrait with fireplace: three versions of Victoria Wilmotte’s “Pli” table by ClassiCon.