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April 2023
Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani - DSL Studio and Genevieve Lutkin

Faye Toogood launches 'Esquisses', a new collection of furniture and rugs with Maison Matisse at Milan Design week. Founded by Henri Matisse's descendants, Maison Matisse is a House of design objects inspired by the artist's work.

"When the Maison invited us to collaborate, I was particularly moved because my Assemblage Five was entirely inspired by Matisse's chapel in Vence. The Chapel of the Rosary, consecrated in 1951, is the full stop after a "whole life dedicated to the search for truth." There is the fervent colour you would expect from the artist - in the stained glass, and then there are stark white tiles depicting the Stations of the Cross - drawn by Matisse using charcoal attached to a bamboo pole.

Looking at the line in these drawings is an intimate experience, like reading a letter from Matisse, David Hockney describes Matisse's draughtsmanship as a quest to "make the line meaningful, to find a linear solution."

With drawing as the start point, I worked on creating a library of gesture, line and shape responding to motifs in Matisse's sketches, I kept coming back to a series of table still life drawings Matisse made in the 40's. Fruits, vegetables, household objects, all rendered in his eloquent, essential line. We ended up with more than one hundred sketches and initially just to catalogue them, we chose the best 24 and stuck them together in a concertina book. That format immediately suggested rugs and a blanket... and so those were there first pieces we developed.

The rug is made from natural wools, so it's only colours found in sheep. Perhaps it's the contrarian in me, as Matisse is so known for his colour, but I wanted to keep the whole collaboration in a palette of neutral shades. It's all about the line and shape. The concertina library of motifs allowed us to look at furniture. We have created an upholstered armchair and stool and a coffee table - all developed from the shapes and gestures found in the sketching process, The finished pieces all have the energy and slight irregularity of a drawing." - Faye Toogood