What is your favorite art ?
I love when all the arts gather in one magical place and moment to create a unique and powerful experience with historical and technical depth. I admire Rosanjin for example, a Japanese genius who was both a master of culinary art – a highly involved art that links nature and man, meets a basic need while being rich in centuries of expertise – and also ceramics, calligraphy and lacquer, and gathers all these arts to create a total experience.
What was your last purchase ?
A Sugimoto knife, a beautiful object of wood, horn and steel.
What is your hidden talent ?
To eat all-you-want sushi.
What was the last book and/or movie that took you away ?
Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Belleza ; This is the story of a former successful writer who once in the later part of his life, after wasting all his youth in meaningless things, goes in search of meaning and beauty in a deserted and beautifully filmed Rome.
And why ?
On his deathbed, Socrates had left as a last advice to his disciples not to waste their time looking for recognition from others, but rather to seek what makes sense. In the Grande Bellezza, sense takes the form of beauty. Rome is the perfect embodiment of this beauty, the refinement and the force of heritage. And yet the main character cannot see; his eyes are not able to open this beauty that seems to belong to a decadent world. This film reminds of two things : You cannot see beauty if you know not where to look, and our responsibility as heirs of a civilization of immeasurable wealth, is to bestow this beauty in the core of our societies. Traditional art and crafts are not backward-looking and decadent ; They form the soul of a people.
What is your favorite museum ?
The Hunt Museum in Paris, full of beautiful objects, classic elegance and a touch of judiciously placed contemporary art. This is a perfect example of how to make, from a subject that might seem outdated, a wildly contemporary venue without compromising the respect for heritage.
What is the experience and the journey that has transformed you ?
Meeting Yoshiyasu Sudo, 55th Head of the Sudo Honke brewery, whose family has been manufacturing sake without interruption for nearly a thousand years, always drawing water from the same well.
What is favorite your city or neighborhood ?
At the risk of sounding very classic, Saint Germain des Prés remains a place that I love for its concentration of galleries, bookstores, restaurants and small typical details such as fine arts students all sitting around in the streets drawing seventeenth century building facades. It’s a whole atmosphere that continues despite the influx of tourists, gentrification and the end of the great literary era of the neighborhood. I also like Gion in Kyoto, its medieval streets where you can run into Geishas going home in the middle of the night, and where great restaurants are hidden behind wooden doors that leave nothing to the imagination.
What is your dream vacation ?
My family and I.
In your opinion, think the world would be better if… :
Perhaps the world be better if we stop to think in the long-term. If we thought each of our actions and our buildings as part of a story that transcends us. When a building is built today, its lifetime is calculated in decades, not in centuries. Even objects are expected to last only a few years. Doing so, we create garbage non-stop and are doing little to sustainably beautify the world, little to transmit and preserve. Our daily lives becomes dull and flat, devoid of history.
Provide craftspeople the opportunity to promote their exceptional expertise. Harbor people and companies that appreciate this art at its true extent. Keep the memory of the history, the materials, and the methods. Restore the product to its status of singularity and uniqueness. Catalyze, promote and ensure the sustainability of this Heritage of Humanity.