We sat down with Hartô co-founder Amandine Merle at Mason & Objet Paris the leading home decor fair, which connects the international interior design and lifestyle community together. Hartô is a collaborative design house based in Paris that manufactures their unique designs in Portugal. Available in Australia exclusively through Clickon Furniture the brand aims to fill a gap in the market, creating pieces that are practical but also inject fun and whimsy into a space.
Clickon Furniture: Hi Amandine, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us and get to know your much loved Parisian design house a little better, let’s jump in! I’m sure our customers would love to know a little bit more about HARTÔ
The Gaston Wall Secretary Desk has been relaunched in a larger 80cm width.
CF: What does the name HARTÔ mean?
AM: Harto is a Spanish word. “Estoy harto” means “to have enough”, “to be tired of” and we chose this name to translate our wish to bring something different into the design world. At the time when we launched the brand, [in the market] you could mainly see light pastel colours and white wood, in a very aseptic mood. We wanted to bring something new, with strong colours, in a feel good spirit. Something fun and different in terms of style.
We chose this small word to translate our feeling, and put a circumflex over the ‘O’, to give our own little graphic touch
CF: You work with several different designers in the creative process, how do you ensure that the finished product suits the overall aesthetic of your brand?
AM: Our role is indeed to show the way ahead, and create a collection which reflects our brand image and identity.
When a designer presents a project to us, and it fits our collection, it’s actually kind of obvious to us. I could almost say that the faster is the decision, the most obvious is the fit. After this first step, we work closely with the designer to adapt some aspects and perfectly match our brand. This is a discussion, in workshops, between the designer and our design team, across several weeks. This is also at this stage that some adaptations may be needed to ensure production feasibility.
CF: Do you think your style has evolved over the years?
AM: Sure! In my opinion, a brand which remains static cannot last. Such a brand as HARTÔ needs to reinvent itself, to foster its creativity by integrating new materials, new shapes, new types of products.
CF: How so?
AM: The HARTÔ image was built on strong vivid colour, round shapes, and of course natural wood. Over the years, we developed a wider colour chart, with more mature and dark colour – but still deep colour. It’s important to us to offer a style which catches the eye with something vibrant. We have also begun to use more painted and stained wood, which is a different way to offer the material rather than natural wood. Colour gives a more sophisticated aspect to some pieces of furniture, it is very important in our creative process.
CF: The laser cut metal detailing of the Gabin sideboard has been a huge success, how did you come up with this concept?
AM: Our first idea was actually to work on a cane door. It was the beginning of this new trend. We wanted to bring something different, but still inspired by a cane work pattern. After a trip to Morocco, where you can see a lot of Moucharaby pattern, we dug into this idea further. In terms of production feasibility, we actually needed to simplify the pattern, it needed to be a repeated geometric pattern. We decided to select this current pattern, which has this feminine touch and is used in old French houses to nicely cover the heating installation.
CF: Will you be creating more products with this detailing in the future?
AM: After adding the Gabin Cabinet earlier this year will be launching a new piece, later in 2018, a new Gabin High Sideboard. We are also thinking about how to use this method on seats. Watch this space…
Your sneak preview! The Gabin High Sideboard.
CF: For the current collection, you have chosen Bordeaux red as a new colour option, what inspired this bold statement?
AM: We wanted to propose deep and warm colour for this collection. Bordeaux is, a very French colour, referring to wine of course, and also to our National History. This colour also refers to a current trend that we describe, at HARTÔ, as the “theatrical trend”: to create a real and interesting decor, we need to stage the pieces we like the most in our interior.
CF: Do you have any design or styling advice for our customers on how to get the Parisian look at home in Australia?
AM: A Parisian interior always has something vintage. I would recommend to add a few old furniture pieces, found in a brocante (secondhand shop), with noble material such as marble. It is also very Parisian to install a huge library along the wall, even better if it can be built into the wall, and help form the architecture of the room.
Another typically Parisian detail is to have a fireplace with a large golden edge mirror on the wall, like you can see in the photo reportage we made at designers Pauline & Pierre-François’s place. Of course, it’s not easy to build an old chimney in a brand new house! But as a substitute you can create the same feeling with an old mirror fixed above a statement piece, such as Marius chest for instance. Finally, wooden parquet with “chevron” pattern is definitely a must.
CF: And finally Amandine, what is the iconic Hartô piece you think all homes should contain?
AM: Anything from the Marius collection!