Art from treasure: David Lynch, Beatriz Milhazes and Alessandro Mendini discuss upcoming show

Beatriz Milhazes's 'Aquarium'

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Beatriz Milhazes's 'Aquarium'

Ahead of the opening of the exhibition Cartier, Jeweler of the Arts in Paris, Relaxnews caught up with three of the artists behind the innovative artworks for a quick chat about swapping their usual raw materials for precious and semi-precious stones.

Beginning April 3 in the French capital, Cartier, Jeweler of the Arts will bring together director David Lynch's Jeweled Triangle lamp, Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes's Aquarium mobile, The Cartier Column by Italian architect Alessandro Mendini and Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano's whale-shaped art case Nécessaire Gosse de peintre. Here is what Lynch, Milhazes and Mendini have to say about the project (Kitano was unavailable for interview).

Relaxnews: How did the stones you used for the Cartier project inspire your creative process?

Alessandro Mendini: It certainly never happened to me before to work with such precious materials. My attention was immediately attracted by the quality of the gems, and I tried to emphasize their pureness and differences. When I placed them side by side, I felt as if I was designing the highest concentration of a mineralogy museum.

Beatriz Milhazes: I was inspired by the idea of jewelry. To work with the stock of precious stones of Cartier is the same as having a treasure to make an object of art. My piece Aquarium is a fairy tale object. 

David Lynch: It was actually the reverse: I got the idea to have white light passing through colored stones to make the three primary colors. After, Cartier brought out the stones and tried to find the stones closest to the primary colors that were the same size and shape, which is how the stones we used were selected. The idea to make a sculpture that utilized the gems came from Cartier. Their request conjured the idea of the lamp.

Relaxnews: Could you give a few examples of other items or materials you would like to repurpose for an art piece in the future and why?

Alessandro Mendini: I work with many different materials, and this will continue to happen in the future. Sometimes they are precious; sometimes they are simple or synthetic: crystal, blown glass, inlaid wood, bronze, et cetera.

Beatriz Milhazes: On this piece we worked with a big range of materials. The stones were the departure to develop the concept and design but we needed to work with different techniques and materials to make the piece happen. It is a mobile and each stream has its own perspectives and feelings. Some motifs are pure haute joallerie, discs made with hundreds of rubies et cetera, but some others were made with a high end technique on resin.

David Lynch: I would like to work with almost any kind of material. I love organic phenomena and in a way all materials are organic phenomena. These days, I'm in love with cardboard, Japanese paper and electrician's friction tape.

Cartier, Jeweler of the Arts runs April 3-21. Reservation with the Visitor's Department is necessary. For more information visit


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