Photo courtesy Julien Laperriere
Thirteen years ago, South East Asia captured Montreal-based television hostess, Geneviève Borne’s heart. When a Cambodian friend suggested they travel there together, Geneviève jumped at the opportunity. “I spent three weeks living with her family. The Angkor temples remain one of the most beautiful sites I’ve seen in my life,” she told me in a recent tête-à-tête at our Montreal boutique.
Since, Geneviève has remained drawn to the region. Lucky for her, as a documentarian for the television travel channel, Évasion, and as an ambassador for World Vision, she returns year after year. And to this day, she has travelled to China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, she still claims it to be one of the most amazing parts of the world.
During that first visit to Cambodia, Geneviève was initially struck by the dominant role religion played in the day-to-day lives of Cambodians and by their lifestyle. But what had the most impact on her was the quality of the air and of the light, “The wind there, it’s incredibly soft, like a caress. And the light. It’s golden. There’s something about it that makes it different to the light here. Its texture is different. Maybe it’s the reflection from the soil? Maybe because in Cambodia the soil is red?”
Cambodian objects and design also appealed to her instantly, “I was attracted and admired their desire to create a Zen environment, as if everything was created to encourage reflection, peace and meditation.”
It’s of no surprise that there was an instant connection when she was first introduced to Artemano. “Every time I walk into the store I’m completely charmed. It brings me back there, to what I love about South East Asia.”
Geneviève strongly believes that Artemano’s ability to transport her back to South East Asia is based on the profound appreciation and recognition of the region’s traditions. As is the understanding that the craftsmen and women create goods that go beyond traditions and that fit in the everyday modern world.
When it came to her own home, Geneviève wanted to inject it with the Artemano touch and ambiance. She was convinced that with Artemano she could create a sensation of travelling to Asia within her own personal oasis. Working with Lisanne Sabourin, an Artemano designer Geneviève first chose to use Suar wood because of its organic quality and because of its shape, curves and fluidity. Combining it with a concrete backsplash in her kitchen made for a warm environment without foregoing design, she told me. “For me concrete is warm and very nature-like because it’s uneven and imperfect.”
Another absolute must was Artemano’s metal pierced lamps. Geneviève is fascinated with these lamps because rather than containing light, they surround it while still allowing it to pierce through and flow out freely. Ultimately, the effect they create – one of playful patterns projected throughout the walls of a room- made their inclusion essential.
Another one of Geneviève’s “Artemano obsessions” is a particular black silk hanging lamp, “its interior is gold, so the effect at night is very dramatic,” she told me enthusiastically.
As we all lead busy lives, Geneviève shared that bringing Artemano into her home provided a very soothing and comforting atmosphere, “I feel like I’m being wrapped up in a blanket.” The result is a home that is calm and peaceful. A place that not only makes her feel at ease and relaxed, but that also helps her take the time to look inwards and recharge before she goes back out into the world. A space where she can achieve the feeling that she’s travelling to one of her most favourite parts of the world.