Meet Maxime Prou & Adèle Favreau, better known as Atelier Bingo. After meeting at a design school in Nantes back in 2007, they worked separate jobs in Paris, before deciding to pull out of the city chaos and move to the French countryside to start Bingo.
Because, why not? Two young, brave artists, leaving the city behind to be together and work on their magic.
Interview by Jeroen Smeets
How would you describe your work to that one uncle you haven’t seen in years?
We would say we are artists and illustrators. We create images with our four hands, and we play with shapes and colours. Sometimes for ourselves and sometimes for companies.
What is the most French thing about you?
(Maxime) I love to grumble and smoke a lot of cigarettes, I think that is very French.
(Adèle) Me, I’m very stubborn. And we always buy a baguette for breakfast every morning.
What is the best and worst thing about working together all the time?
The best thing is you don’t see more of your colleagues in the office than your love at home. Because your colleague is your lover of course! It’s easier to understand each other and to be really honest at work but at the same time that is the worst thing too.
Can you tell us a little bit about your studio set-up?
We decided to swap our life in the Parisian chaos for the peacefulness of the French countryside back in 2011. Our studio is located in Saint-Laurent-Sur-sèvre; a very small village in the west coast of France. The building is an old rehabilitated textile factory and it’s Adele’s uncle who renovated the building in 2007. One day, we were at a family get-together and my uncle Robert show us this crazy and beautiful building. We fell in love directly and we decided to leave our jobs in Paris and start Atelier Bingo together.
Were you involved in designing the studio set up as well?
Uncle Robert did all of it. We just talked with him about how we wanted to live and work in the same place. He made it all happen and made it look amazing.
What is the best thing about your studio, and what is your most valuable possession in the studio?
The best thing in our studio is the light! We have so much natural light coming in, during summer of course but almost just as much during winter. Our most valuable possession is all our screenprint material and our etching press.
What is the most memorable moment in your studio to you?
We have lots of good memories here. Last September we had Lisa Gorman come to our studio with Ben Glezer (photographer) and Kelsey Martinovitch (model) to do a photoshoot of our Gorman x Atelier Bingo collaboration. It was just so incredible to see them in our French countryside, especially because they came all the way from Melbourne for us.
Is there a difference in your work process and mentality between commercial jobs and your own work?
Not really, because so many of our clients come to us because they like what we do. So they are looking for something we know and they give us much freedom in return. The small difference is technical limits, so like for Gur (a rug company) you can’t have so many colours and to do too many circle lines. But that’s about it.
What are you working on at the moment, and what can we expect to see from you guys in the new year?
We are actually in Melbourne, Australia right now for the launch of a clothing collection with Gorman. We would love for 2017 to have more time for ourselves to experiment, create new personal printed matter (etching & screenprint) and do more wood installations. Maybe create a children’s book too.