Adélaïde Enlart is a feted 35 year-old designer from Paris. She studied communication, graphic arts and fashion then worked as a production coordinator in film for eight years, before creating the lighting label Vanity Boum in 2014. Her recent partnership with Sézane made waves and many of her products now sell out - in France, and increasingly around Europe too. Here, Enlart reveals some of her thoughts on design, upcycling and life - exclusively.
What made you want to be a designer?
“I always loved design - the decoration, the beautiful objects and materials, and even the everyday ones. The day I saw that all these old glass shades were abandoned, I knew there was something to be done. All of these beauties only needed a little cleaning and a twist before becoming amazing lights ready for a new life. The first ones I found during my first hunting sessions fulfilled my desire of creation, which has become more than making and selling – but a real way to share with people. Moreover, it is absolutely coherent with my way of thinking and consuming things. This glass, which went through ages – almost a century – it was still in a perfect condition. It would have been a shame not to do something with it. My approach, when creating Vanity Boum, was to give access to the unique – which is a kind of luxury – at affordable prices.”
Tell us about your work with Sézane?
“Sézane contacted me a couple of years ago with this idea of collaboration in mind. I was already loving the brand as a customer and was also very inspired by how Morgane Sézalory changed the game with Sézane. As our two universes matched very well, we created a first series of little lights inspired by the lamps I was creating then. We kept the DNA of Vanity Boum with this brass base and globe shape and we imagined three glass shades which were poetic and feminine - just like our two brands are!”
Were you surprised and happy at how well received that was? People went crazy for it.
“Of course! It was crazy! I am still surprised and moved when I see how people love our lights! Some of my clients have several lamps from Vanity Boum, like they were creating their own private collection. Besides, doing collaborations with such a beautiful brand like Sézane, being at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche for Christmas, working on the next amazing collaborations, and seeing that our community is getting bigger and is looking forward our next creation... it all makes us so happy. This is what makes my everyday extraordinary.”
How do you feel about your work selling out so often? You have plenty of fans
“Yes! And I have the best community ever. They are so caring, lovely and of the same sharing approach. It’s not like only selling to a customer. I know the name of almost each of them, I am always so happy to see that some of my first clients are still following the brand. I feel very lucky and proud. Designing objects with a soul, with a history, and sharing it with people who love it as much as I loved making is such good luck. It was a dream in the beginning which became real and now it’s only getting better. It is a lot of work and some sacrifice, but I am so grateful to make something I love that much.”
Talk us through how you make a lamp
“Every year, we spend almost six months finding all our vintage glass shades. Then we need the time to clean, renew and in the end give a name to each of them. Et hop! We put the collection online – every time my heart beats very very fast – and our lights fly away in a couple of hours. Insane! Every light for me has its own history: where I found it, who sold it to me, how the weather was, what was the feeling I had when I discovered it. Then, thinking about what colour cable would be the best, giving it a name, shooting it with my photographer.... In the end, a collection is like a little family for me. So when they are all sold out, it’s like saying goodbye to my babies. I made everything so they can go out on their own and live a new life, but I always have a little pinch in my heart.”
What inspires your design?
“Absolutely everything. Travels, architecture, fashion, art… I need to feed myself with as much inspiration as possible. Some tiny details in a building, the lace embroidery on a dress, the colour of a door can inspire me. I try to look at everything around me. The everyday objects, the craftsmanship of a country, the work of people around me.”
What are your favourite designs?
“I can’t choose but let’s say that the Art Déco period in opaline glass may be my favourite kind.”
What are you working on next?
“We are currently working on our next editions. Meeting glass makers in Europe, glass blowers in France, creating the next colour palette. Also still hunting for more rare and unique antique glass shades around the world, thinking of our brand for the next five years and dreaming of our first boutique in Paris.”
Do you think of it as upcycling? Why do people like this kind of thing?
“It is, for sure, even if I don’t often use this term for talking about Vanity Boum. But the process is an upcycling one: I find a very old glass with a great potential, I then have a reflection about what would be the best to make something new and beautiful. By creating this brass base which will highlight the globe, choosing a specific colour of textile cable that will perfectly match with the shade. This also is a conscious approach, using material that already exists instead of producing new ones. And all of this gives a unique quality to each product, an authenticity. When you have a piece unique from Vanity Boum, you know that no one else is going to have it.”
Writer: Christopher Beanland