A conversation with Léonie Alma Mason, architect and designer

Léonie Alma Mason © Claire Israël

Immerse yourself in the world of Léonie Alma Mason, an entrepreneur who never stops. She talks to Artsper about her motivations and her journey, including the creation of one of her two companies.

1. Hello Léonie! Could you please introduce yourself to our audience? How would you describe your career path and LA.M Studio, that you founded?

LA.M Studio is an interior architecture and design agency based in Paris. Our manifesto is simple, like a good mineral wine: the identity of a place is always what we look for first. Indeed, each place is unique and has its own code, so we give priority to points of view, starting from what already exists to create bespoke layouts wherever possible. LA.M Studio's approach is rigorous. We offer new perspectives, places that are elegant, bold and timeless. Our hotels, cafés, bars and restaurants, offices, boutiques, design studios, houses and private apartments have two things in common: they are both intimate and open to the world.  

2. Where do you draw the inspiration for all your work?

Everything can be diverted and used as a source of inspiration. I come from a family of art historians, which gave me the chance to immerse myself in it from an early age. In my daily life, I have a real need for cultural nourishment in the broadest sense, whether it's the setting of a film scene in the cinema, a landscape on a trip, an innocuous motif in the street between two appointments, an evocative atmosphere in a book, an exhibition of contemporary art, photography or ballet. It's this diversity, which is more focused on the arts, that has always nurtured my career and fueled the vision I share with my team on a daily basis. I also admire the work of designers and architects like Carlo Mollino, Eileen Gray and Andrée Putman, to name but a few.

Maslina Hotel, Croatia © Claire Israël

3. How does your design process work? Is it similar for spaces such as hotels, offices, homes and film sets, or completely different?

We're designers of living spaces. We design unique projects. We bring our clients' visions to life. From the existing footprint, our team's imagination will bring out the main lines of a project, during the Concept phase, which is the most important for me. Our approach is atypical, plastic, performative at times, in connection with materials, light and volumes. Particular original elements, the environment, the strong details of a place are always the starting point for the development of a project in order to anchor it in its history and context. On this basis, we create a unique story for each project.  

4. You recently launched LOMM Editions, a furniture and lighting company in collaboration with your grandmother, Odile Mir. What does this project represent for you? Have you always been inspired by your grandmother and always wanted to work with her?

When I was a child, we did a lot of creative things with my grandmother who is above all an artist-sculptor, whether it was drawing, sculpture, papier-mâché objects, or sewing. Without talking about it, we've always had a creative instinct and shared tastes that enable us to understand each other immediately when we work together. 

LOMM Editions is particularly close to my heart, since we created it together. The story started from an innocuous conversation where she told me about her large David armchair which is her favorite, now part of the national collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. As I dug deeper into the subject, I realized that behind this model were many more pieces, all dated from the late 60s and early 70s, which I found incredibly beautiful and timeless. The name “LOMM" contains our 4 initials mixed together and it carries the values of our common love for beautiful things, in this case, design and transmission. A transmission from her to me, but also in our relationship to the French artisans with whom we work, and the one that LOMM maintains with younger artists (like Odile). We must not forget the artistic aspect of design and it is in this direction that I wish to develop LOMM, notably through collaborations which can give rise to limited series of one-off pieces. One example of this would be the work we achieved with the photographer Thomas Paquet for the exhibition “Nothing escapes light" at the Bigaignon Gallery.

LOMM Editions © Claire Israël

5. Your portfolio is extensive! How do you manage to divide your work between so many different projects?

Studio work is what keeps me busy the most, with an average of ten projects, followed by a team of 4 colleagues who are each in charge of their own projects. At the same time, I dedicate at least one day a week to LOMM Editions and devote more time to bringing the company to life during events, exhibitions or temporary partnerships that we organize at least 2 to 3 times a year.

6. Is there a discipline or medium to which you feel particularly drawn?

Personally, I really enjoy drawing. It's like meditating on an idea for a project, in order to get to the heart of the matter, or a moment of rest while traveling. I'm also very keen on photography and would love to learn how to develop my own silver photos. I also have a passion for the jewelry I buy or design, and hope one day to have the time to learn the rudiments of goldsmithing.

Second edition of the Offscreen art fair (2023) © Valerio Geraci

7. What's your favorite of all the projects you've worked on?

Generally speaking, I really enjoy working on projects abroad, as they allow me to travel and discover new places, traditional materials and sources of inspiration, and meet new local craftsmen and craftswomen. This year, we designed the entire scenography for the second edition of Offscreen, a contemporary art fair specializing in photography and the visual arts, that took place in a Brutalist-style garage in Paris. It was a wonderful experience, combining our skills as designers with our love of art.

8. What can we expect from LA.M Studio in the future?

Following Offscreen 2023, the first exhibitions designed for LOMM Editions and some stands designed for Editions Macula at the Art Genève fair, I'd like to strengthen this link to culture. Gallery space, exhibition scenography and museum architecture are subjects I'd like to develop further in the future. Apart from that, we're currently working on a project for five star hotel villas in Croatia, as well as a head office building in the heart of Paris, and a luxury apartment from the renovation, furniture and decoration to the works of art.


Their favorite artworks

Sculpture, Sophie Calle, Ainsi de suite - Édition limitée, Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle, Ainsi de suite - Édition limitée

Sophie Calle

Sculpture - 24 x 18 x 7 cm Sculpture - 9.4 x 7.1 x 2.8 inch

$1,342

Print, Composition, Henri Michaux

Composition

Henri Michaux

Print - 50.5 x 33 cm Print - 19.9 x 13 inch

$1,007

Painting, La Chapelle sur Carouge, Bram van Velde

La Chapelle sur Carouge

Bram van Velde

Painting - 100 x 74 x 1 cm Painting - 39.4 x 29.1 x 0.4 inch

$246,065

Print, Affiche no.87, Eduardo Chillida Juantegui

Affiche no.87

Eduardo Chillida Juantegui

Print - 62.5 x 48 x 0.2 cm Print - 24.6 x 18.9 x 0.1 inch

$3,244

Print, Jeu de Paume, Antoni Tapies

Jeu de Paume

Antoni Tapies

Print - 174.5 x 112.5 cm Print - 68.7 x 44.3 inch

$5,592

Print, No.6, Bernar Venet

No.6

Bernar Venet

Print - 49.5 x 50.8 cm Print - 19.5 x 20 inch

Sold

Print, La lumière est !, Robert Combas

La lumière est !

Robert Combas

Print - 110.5 x 84.5 x 0.3 cm Print - 43.5 x 33.3 x 0.1 inch

$6,599

Print, Farandole, Hans Hartung

Farandole

Hans Hartung

Print - 49 x 74 cm Print - 19.3 x 29.1 inch

$3,355

Print, La Chambre - Édition limitée n° 2, Raymond Depardon

La Chambre - Édition limitée n° 2

Raymond Depardon

Print - 24 x 28.5 cm Print - 9.4 x 11.2 inch

$727

Design, Vintage Table, Willy Rizzo

Vintage Table

Willy Rizzo

Design - 75 x 129 x 129 cm Design - 29.5 x 50.8 x 50.8 inch

$3,355

Photography, Betula z, Sofia Fanego

Betula z

Sofia Fanego

Photography - 46 x 43 cm Photography - 18.1 x 16.9 inch

$1,678

Print, El mundo es una cárcel, Carmen Calvo

El mundo es una cárcel

Carmen Calvo

Print - 56 x 41 cm Print - 22 x 16.1 inch

$800

Design, Anfibio Leather Sofa, Alessandro Becchi

Anfibio Leather Sofa

Alessandro Becchi

Design - 65 x 170 x 80 cm Design - 25.6 x 66.9 x 31.5 inch

$15,658

Photography, Memento I, Mattia Listowski

Memento I

Mattia Listowski

Photography - 80 x 70 x 1 cm Photography - 31.5 x 27.6 x 0.4 inch

$2,796

Design, Applique Coquillage, Thalia Dalecky

Applique Coquillage

Thalia Dalecky

Design - 43 x 32 x 12 cm Design - 16.9 x 12.6 x 4.7 inch

$1,342 $1,208