20Q: Marguerite Humeau

Marguerite Humeau would like to put Cleopatra's perfume into a time capsule. Here's 20 things you didn't know about the French designer.
20Q: Marguerite Humeau.
20Q: Marguerite Humeau.

Marguerite Humeau is a French speculative designer and director of a design trilogy, currently living and working in London. 

We asked her 20 fun questions. Here they are: 

1. What items would you put into a time capsule?

A frozen mammoth, Cleopatra's perfume, the Great Sphinx of Giza, the last Daft Punk album Random Access Memories, the Hitchcock film Vertigo and some wine (preferably a bottle of Coteaux du Layon).

2. How do you define creative success?

When one sees or experiences a piece of work and feels that they will never see the world in the same way ever again.  

3. What makes you laugh out loud?

The American "What's my line" show.

4 . How old were you when you made your first design and what was it?

I was 22, and it was a large-scale "domesticated" black hole.

5. Are there certain characteristics that all creatives possess?

The paradoxical ability to absorb the world around them, while at the same time being impermeable to it in order to produce relevant and original work.

6. What is the question you ask yourself the most? 

Is this really impossible to achieve?

7. What is something that you have learnt in the past five years? 

I have learned to trust my own voice. I have also learnt from my tutor, (and designer) James Auger at the Royal College of Art in Design Interactions, that the more irrational your ideas are, the more rational you have to be in the process of bringing them to life.

8. If you had to live inside a work of art, which would it be and why?

I would love to be sitting in the limousine next to Denis Lavant in the Leos Carax film, Holy Motors. The film is a epic hallucinatory journey in a world where human beings, animals and machines are on the verge of extinction. Denis Lavant's character seems to be the last warrior, on a quest for risky and exhilarating experiences. 

9. What do you do on Sundays?

Every Sunday is different. 

10. Who in the world, dead or alive, would you most like to have a drink with?

Ettore Sottsass, filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, David Cronenberg, artist Matthew Barney, critic Norman M Klein and soul diva Amy Winehouse. 

11. Do you have a creative muse?

Archizoom Associati.

12. What's the best creative advice you've ever received?

- Never give up an idea because you think it is impossible to achieve. There is always a way to give shape to a great idea.

- Fail, test, fail, test, and keep going until the result is convincing.

- Ask yourself: is this project necessary? Does it really have to exist and why?

- Support and love your family, your friends and your peers.

- Take time to sleep properly, to eat properly, and have a secret hobby.

13. How do you deal with failure?

I am the designer, heroine and narrator of epic journeys, which aim at creating supernatural experiences. Most of the things I am trying to achieve seem to be impossible at first. Therefore failure is part of my work. Succeeding makes the story more thrilling, but failing does not make it less interesting.

14. What's one thing that you haven't done that you would still really like to do?

I would like to travel in space and see two celestial bodies collide. Apparently this is how gold was first created. I would love to organise "celestial bodies collision" sightseeing tours in space.

15. Summer or winter?

Artificial summer all year long.

16. What has been your favourite project to date?

THE THINGS? / A DESIGN BLOCKBUSTER FOR ALIENS, my current project, is quite a thrilling project! It is a mix of design, storytelling, magic and filmmaking.  

17. Which superhero do you identify with? 

A real superhero: François Gabart, French skipper who won the Vendée Globe (round-the-world yacht race) in exactly 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes in 2013. He was 30-years old when he achieved this heroic exploit.

18. Can design save the world?

Design can act as a dream catalyst.

19. What would you save from your burning house? 

My family!  

20. What is your favourite book?

Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin in the Middle Taiga by French explorer and writer Sylvain Tesson.

Watch the Talk with Marguerite Humeau