It was when I was living in Paris that I met my best friend Sixtine. She was completely Parisian in every way- from her swooshy, slightly disheveled, honey blonde hair; to her designer clothes to her 20 a day habit. We met whilst we were both worked for fancy European clothing brands in an equally fancy department store. We would take cigarette breaks together and swop discounts. She would take me on wild nights out and I completely adored how passionate and loud and intense she was. Her wonderful family (she is one of 3 girls) all took me under their wing- inviting me on summer holidays to their summer home, cooking me Sunday dinners. They are supportive and kind and all uniquely talented.
Sixtine’s sister, Adélaïde, has a similarly rebellious streak as me. At 21 she ran off to Argentina to become an artist. So far so wonderful. She created large-scale street art illustrations in her signature style and funded herself by selling beautifully made gifts of screen-printed cushion, tea towels and pouches at a Buenos Aries craft market. As her work grew in notoriety so did the commissions and her ambitions. She moved to London with her husband and daughter a year ago and, although, it should be easier to see her now- as with all London friendships- I don’t see her as often as I would like to. But when I do I just love it. And her.
So, fast forward to this Autumn; I had wanted to redesign our hot chocolate and toasting gift boxes for a while. They weren’t working for us- they were expensive to produce and lacked personality. It’s really hard to think about how you would add personality to, well, a box. Good copy- sure. But- it needs to be picked up off the shelve for that to work. How do you create a concept that is visually arresting and delivers what your product is all about? What did we want to focus on for this project? Uniqueness. That’s what.
As all our marshmallows are handmade there will always be little differences between each one, that’s what makes them so special. In early September we’d had a really inspiring meeting with a London printers F.E Burman during which they showed us how by using their new HP Mosaic programme – a software which can be used to produce unlimited variations of one design in a single print run- we could produce a limited edition series of one-of a kind boxes. Each box could be as different as each of our marshmallows.
So far, so mind blowing. But we needed a seed design. Something that related to my marshmallows as well as the brand, but also made use of how fabulously intricate the process of creating thousands of unique boxes around one design can be. And that’s when I thought of Adélaïde. Our friendship and our symbiotic journeys from Paris to London. I thought about how her line illustrations are incredibly creative yet also very disciplined- it's the same methodological approach I have to making marshmallows. And I thought about the awe inspiring scale of her works as well as the craft and love that goes into each individual piece. That and the fact her stuff is just really cool and I would like an excuse to work with her. So I called her up and asked her to collaborate.
After chatting through the concept, we worked with F.E Burman on transforming the initial piece- a stunningly detailed monochrome line drawing with metallic circular flashes- abstract yet intricate- through their 'Mosaic' programme. We used the software to set parameters for each design and then watched, amazed, as the programme generated hundreds of variations by playing with the pattern, dimensions and scale.
We printed onto our favourite G.F Smith Naturalis paper- a smooth surface for showcasing the intricacy of the design and all produced in the UK. And the results are more than we could have ever hoped for. Hundreds of unique art-works for each of our boxes of equally unique marshmallows. The process and form all working in a perfect flow to create complete one offs. The possibilities being infinite.
And each box design also means so much to me- each one represents Paris and London, travel, lasting friendship, craft, dedication, synergy and family. Both of us have poured so much of ourselves into what we do and how we do it. So if you are looking to treat yourself to something totally unique. And who isn’t? I really don’t think you could do better than one of our hot chocolate or toasting experiences this Christmas. A one of a kind. Just for you. Now, what more could you really ask from a box?
If you fancy a little nosy around Adélaïde’s work then you’ll be glad to know that I used this excuse of ‘working’ together for us to have a good old chat. I’ve also probed a little more into her current loves, techniques and projects as well as some of her other collabs and you can read all this here….