Interview by:

New Norm Magazine

Photography

Country

Switzerland

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Think utopia art and architectural photography workshop is the fruit of an architects couple who think of the image as a dream factory.

Its photographic universe is an appeal for imagination. In contrast to the Googlerisation of the 21st century, here, everything is not taken for granted but suggested.

Between architecture and dreamlike landscapes, Manon & François are keen to create around this universal language of the image here and elsewhere in the world.

- Manon & François, founders of think utopia

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Reflect

Embracing slower living

Where are you from / call home?

We live somewhere between France and Switzerland, two countries with close but very different cultures.

We are lucky to live in the beautiful region of «Haute-Savoie» in the heart of the French Alps, surrounded by mountains and lakes where the seasons and the strength of the elements are a daily inspiration.

Having both studied and worked architecture in Switzerland, we practice a large part of our activity in this country, where precision of fineness is a culture in itself. Here, the quote «less is more» by Mies van der Rohe takes on its full meaning.

What are some simple pleasures that you’ve rediscovered during the coronavirus pandemic?

Time.

Listening to music while doing nothing but listening to music, practicing a little more on the piano for one, diving into a book for the other, talking over a cup of tea, immersing ourselves in the atmosphere of Studio Gibli.

Last bonus, to not know if it’s Sunday or Thursday.

How have you and your creative process changed?

Time.

Stop chasing time and take the time to imagine and create. We like the word «flânerie» which is sort of a physical or intellectual stroll, aimless, out of time.

A unlearning where action leaves room for reflection and imagination. The nights are the most flourishing hours for us. Having no alarm to wake up in the morning, we were able to create more easily when the nocturnal inspiration comes to us.

These bondary hours of silence where we are already tomorrow and still feeling today.

What are some of the things that have changed in your country as a result of the pandemic? What is the new normal?

Living on the Franco-Swiss border, we experience two different ways of managing the pandemic.

French people are confined at home with restriction of movement and actions. For now, exits must be justified and are limited in time and space. Unlike France, Switzerland still offers the possibility of moving with intelligence, while respecting certain mass limitations.

For the «new normal», it’s everyone’s role to take a new worldwide direction, on the way we exploit and consume our planet and its biodiversity.

Think utopia…

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Remember

Travel from home

What was your favourite destination and why?

It’s very difficult to define our favorite destination as we absolutely loved all of our trips for different reasons. They all gave us unique sensations, specific to its universe.

 

We like to recharge our batteries in the southern sun of our «douce France» accompanied by the cicadas song, the smells of pines and Mediterranean sea spray, and we enjoy just as much to be totally disoriented in Japan where modernity and tradition mix in the most inspiring fineness.

What are some of your most memorable moments during the trip?

The unexpected.

Stroll, go where our desires guide us and be surprised by the unknown.

Our initial plans are often disrupted, offering us detours which are ultimately our greatest surprises. The travel must always be a journey and not a destination.

We also particularly love to get up at dawn to appreciate the awakening of the world in these cold tones, contemplate the warm tones of the end of the day, then appreciate the silence and the metamorphosis of space under the moon.

Each hour at its own pace, its light, its atmosphere.

What does travel give you that everyday life doesn’t?

The travel is a source of inspiration, it cultivates our curiosity.

We particularly love to observe the details and the different habits from where we live, such as human relations and the way to welcome or meet, the stores and consumer-behavior, architecture and lifestyle, spirituality and its influences.

The travel is for us a creative break where our ideas emerge, it’s in these kind of moments that we have the most fascinating and passionate discussions.

You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, where would you go?

If we could teleport (because flying for 24 hours, thanks but no thanks), Greenland or Antarctica would be our dream.

We are fascinated by these ends of the earth, with raw winter atmospheres and dreamlike lights. There, Humans have to fit with nature and not the reverse. No, more seriously, to visit one of the planets in the «Interstellar» movie.

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