I meet ceramic artist Paola Paronetto in the courtyard of Munich’s Schreiberei restaurant, where we are surrounded by her objects made in collaboration with the French champagne house Veuve Clicquot.
Veuve Clicquot has a long tradition in design and art. Throughout its history, artists such as Karim Rashid, Yayoi Kusama and Andrée Putman, to name but a few, have collaborated with the champagne house. For this year’s collaboration, Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame 2015, Paola has designed six sustainable gift boxes. The boxes were presented at the Salone del Mobile in Milan in April this year.
For many years, the artist has been working with paper-clay to create colourful objects, mostly everyday items, which when grouped together create something spectacular and at the same time have a harmonious, calming and positive effect on the eye.
Paola Paronetto is a master of colour and composition, often inspired by nature, and has created her own visual language for Veuve Clicquot by combining her traditional way of making ceramics with her interpretation of colour.
There is an affinity between the Italian artist and Madame Clicquot, known as La Grande Dame in France at the end of the 19th century, where she was renowned for her creativity and her courageous, curious, daring and often unconventional spirit.
From the 14th to the 23rd of June, guests will be able to book a table at the Schreiberei restaurant in Munich, a setting decorated with Paola’s objects, some of which (the ice cooler and the extra-large bottles in her paper-clay technique) were created especially for La Grande Dame 2015.
Guests will be able to enjoy lunch and dinner during these ten days in Munich, together with the cuisine of star chef Tohru Nakamura, created especially for her art.
IRMA: You have a strong relationship with nature. How did nature inspire you for this collaboration with Veuve Clicquot?
PAOLA PARONETTO: The material I work with, clay, comes from nature. Working with earth is never the same because the weather changes, the temperature changes and the clay is always different. It is the same with making champagne, the cellarmaster depends on the weather, the rain, the sun and the temperature, he has to make quick decisions, just like me when I work with clay on an object.
IRMA: Why are there six shades and how did you choose them?
PAOLA PARONETTO: I started with the colour of the sun, which is bright orange, like the colour of Veuve Clicquot. Then there are different shades of blue, like the nuances of the sky and the light grey of the clouds. There is also a matt purple, which I chose to represent the power of women, also as a tribute to Madame Ponsardin, who was nicknamed La Grande Dame for her courage in taking over and continuing her husband’s business in 1805, which was very unusual at the time.
Women also play a very important role in my work and I like to support women artists.
IRMA: How do light and shadow influence your visual language?
PAOLA PARONETTO: I am interested in the surface of an object when it comes to putting it in a different light. All my objects have a matte surface, because in nature there are mostly matte surfaces, think of the earth, flowers and trees. There are very few leafs that have a shiny surface. Probably another unconscious influence from nature.
IRMA: You are known for the Cartocci collection, which is all about colour and shape.
PAOLA PARONETTO: My objets d’art are made from a mixture of clay and paper pulp, resulting in structures that are delicate but strong.
For Veuve Clicquot, I designed three large bottles of different sizes.
“The bottles were my very first paper-clay collection, so it is very close to my heart. “I don’t really see the bottles as objects. They’re characters, people and families – that’s why you see them grouped together. They represent the joy of being together.
IRMA: You had a conversation with Tohru Nakamura before he had a menu in mind. How did his concept of Dine and Wine inspire you to work with him?
PAOLA PARONETTO: Tohru asked me many, many questions about my art, my philosophy, how I do things. It was a lot of talking and he really wanted to understand my thoughts. I am very curious about his menu tonight, as I will be interpreting my work for the first time.
IRMA: In your opinion, what are the elements that make a beautiful table inviting for friends and family when you invite them to your home?
PAOLA PARONETTO: Nothing goes together on my table. I just put different plates and glasses on the table, there is no concept or design. It just comes together and in the end it is the people and the atmosphere, the food and the company that make a dinner party great.