4BI Bruno Moinard


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Bruno Moinard is an architect and scenographer of well-established reputation. He expresses himself through the elegance and purity of his creations that are imagined and thoughtfully drawn out to the minutest detail. His creativity is inspired by the same innate artistic dimension that makes him a painter. It springs forth from the jet-black and gold-toned brushstrokes of his sketches, drawn during his first meeting with a client, yet already outlining his vision of the future. This is the portrait of a man who breathes life into the pure lines of presence, culture and timelessness. Can one combine talent, a master craftsman's attention to detail and the persona of a disciplined creator and artist with the traits of simplicity, modesty and natural warmth? Without doubt - Bruno Moinard demonstrates this to everyone he meets. He is deeply appreciated both for his professional work ethic and for the empathy and humanism with which he approaches every project. At the inauguration of the Parisian Musée des Arts Décoratifs bookstore in December 2004, the layout and design of which had been conceived by Moinard, one of his childhood schoolmates greeted him with enthusiasm, saying, "Bruno's drawings were always the ones on display in the classroom-they were the most beautiful!"

The Écart International Years

Following his graduation from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d'Art and after a first experience with Hubert Cormier for the famous Troisgros restaurant in Roanne, Bruno Moinard joined Andrée Putnam's and Jean-François Bodin's team in the architecture firm Écart and Écart International in 1979, bringing with him the drawing skills he'd honed over the years. This 15-year adventure would lead to him becoming Andrée Putnam's senior partner and participating notably in one of the firm's most memorable construction projects, that of the legendary Concorde airplane. "We managed to conceive an extremely lightweight decorative fitting - in other words, a second skin - using high-tech methods that provided the plane's interior with a fresh silhouette while preserving the existing structure: it was almost plastic surgery." During this period he would also work on the design of boutiques (Thierry Mugler Paris, Yves Saint Laurent USA, Karl Lagerfeld France & International among others), hotels (Morgan's New York, Le Lac in Tokyo, Sheraton Roissy and Saint James Club in Paris, Im Wasserturm in Cologne), restaurants (Café Français MOMA in New York, Opium in Tokyo, Orchid in Kobe) office spaces (Éditions du Regard, Culture Minister Jack Lang's, Arche de la Défense, La 7 Arte, Air France and more) and museums, foundations, exhibitions and many private homes, apartments and townhouses (Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Goude, Pierre Boulez among others). Together with Philippe Starck he would also lend his expertise to the design of French president François Mitterand's Élysée apartment. For ten years, from 1985 to 1995, he oversaw Écart's Research & Design department of 15 people. In 1995, Moinard realized a long-held aspiration by founding his own agency, 4BI. "I made the leap that year in order to fully express my creativity under my own name" explains the architect who, after these long years of experience working on a large variety of projects, now traces his own path - one strengthened by his experienced perspective and inspired by his inherent values.

Independence with 4BI

Moinard's humanism is the beating heart of his design agency, the name of which, 4BI, personifies its creator's mantra. Three enigmatic symbols with a deceptively simple meaning - '4' for his four children, 'B' for Bruno and 'I' for his wife Isabelle - represent the family, a foundation that evolves and strengthens in culture, presence and timelessness over the years. With this base, upon which is solidly anchored his newborn firm, Bruno Moinard began his "second professional life" with the renovation of Galerie Lahumière in a private townhouse situated at Parc Royal, Paris. An acclaimed success, the result caught the attention of Musée Rodin in Paris, which in 1996 entrusted him with the design and layout of the exhibition entitled "Les Marbres de Rodin de la Collection Thyssen" and the following year, "Vers L'Âge d'Airain, Rodin et la Belgique". Moinard's distinctive strokes were by now fully outlined; his mastery of light and shadow, his sense of contrast and inversions, the bold purity of his classic aesthetic and the unique expression of his creativity invite visitors into the stimulating worlds created by his original black-and-gold sketches. It was that same year that his talent and warmth won over the Cartier Foundation, which entrusted him with the design and layout of two exhibitions, "By Night" and "Comme un oiseau". "These projects signaled the beginning of a long collaboration with Cartier, both in France and around the globe, which continues to grow today and into the future," says Moinard. Indeed, the collaboration expanded over the next couple of years, with the design and layout of the exhibitions "Amours" (1997), "Être Nature" (1998), "Désert" (2000) and "Un Art Populaire" (2001) all conceived and sketched by Moinard.

Cultural heritage, contemporary vision

The famed watchmakers and jewelers then asked Moinard to create the architectural concept for the launch of its Santos-Dumont watch at the Trocadéro in Paris. Their collaboration took flight with an international wingspan as Bruno drew the design and layout of Cartier commercial spaces for the New Wave Collection in Europe, the United States and, most notably, Asia (Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok). This project, which consisted of adapting a single concept to a vast number of cities around the globe, was to be a prelude to the immense assignment Moinard received shortly thereafter in 2002. Classicism and modern materials flowed from the ink of his pens as the architect drew his designs freehand for the global wave of new Cartier boutiques right before the brand's eponymous owner. Moinard merged creative radiance with diamond-cut precision as he adapted his concept to the culture and presence of 220 different locations; the first boutiques to be redesigned were Tokyo, Kobe and Tainan. The emblematic flagship boutique at 154 Champs Élysées is engraved with the elegance and experience of its creator as it projects the pure lines of a French culture admired worldwide. "I wanted a black marble facade using the rare and gold-veined Portor marble which was present on the facade of the original boutique on Rue de la Paix; imposing windows equipped with a shutter system derived from Haute Couture pleats, which echo a theater curtain as they open in the morning and close at night. The floor is made of white stone, which is set with brass inspired by the well-known Cartier scroll used on the brand's jewelry boxes. A subtle detail that silently brings attention to the legend and its symbols. "In 2003 Bruno Moinard was awarded the Janus Prize for the new Cartier concept design; then, during the "Sommet du Luxe et de la Création" in November 2004, he received the prize of "Talent de l'Élégance". About this he explained, "The speed with which the new Cartier concept was implemented is extraordinary. We elaborated it in three weeks... three years later, 80 boutiques throughout the world have already been redesigned around a single concept." The number three, whether referring to weeks or years, pays tribute to the astounding rapidity of the small but dynamic team of the 4BI design agency. The team today comprises seven professionals of varied but complementary profiles, allowing for a successful management of work-in-progress regardless of the sector of activity. Bruno Moinard's vision and his ability not just to reconcile but to weave together tradition and modernity would catch the eye of another luxury giant. In 2002 François Pinault entrusted him with the interior design of the wine-making spaces and cellar of Château Latour, located next to Pauillac in Bordeaux; the property had been acquired by Pinault in 1993, returning to French ownership the famous vineyard previously held by the English for 30 years. "It was suggested to me that I should create an abbey. I imagined a pristine closed space, a bit like a fortress, with four small horizontal windows ushering in light to a simply-drawn interior. In fact, it is not so much an abbey but a cathedral, which inspires both majesty and humility, in a peaceful setting created by the play of light and shadow, where the delicate scents of wooden barrels mingle with those of 'the nectar of the gods'. A constellation of small lights echoes the presence of fireflies in this grandiose space," says Moinard, the room filling with the pure lines and minute details that continue to define his path on paper.

Inspirations of an architect and painter

As Moinard's journey through design and architecture continues, a number of achievements, significant for their specific theme or creativity, are worth noting. One encounters within Moinard's long list of creations the scenography for the exhibition "Chaumet, deux siècles de création" at Musée Carnavalet in Paris in 1998; the "Musée du Tennis de Roland-Garros" - also known as Museum Tenniseum - inaugurated in 2003; the redesign of the "Musée des Arts Décoratifs", under construction; the concept and creation of the Kiora restaurant in Tokyo; and the Blanche furniture collection for HA2 in Japan. One cannot refer to Bruno Moinard's work without observing his strong ties to the culture of "l'Empire des Signes", as expressed by Roland Barthes, which is based on an awareness of symbolism, a respect for the ritual and an encompassment of the sacred and eternal. A hint of Japanese aesthetic is imbued in the decisiveness of his calligraphic strokes, the purity of his sketches and his tireless quest for presence - the essence of each object or space Moinard explores - in order to draw out a harmony of profound beauty between the passing of time and timelessness. Moinard captures both the samurai's discipline, through his focus on attainable perfection and a complete mastery of his craft (in the Japanese sense of the word), and the poet's fascination with light, its intensity and its vibrations; an inspiration that finds its roots in France's Normandy region of his childhood. Born in Dieppe in 1956, the budding architect met his muses in an ocean of changing moods and subtle reflections, in a mist-cloaked sea of grays whose juxtaposition with the whitewashed permanence of Normandy's chalky cliffs (known best for l'Aiguille Creuse and Arsène Lupin) allow the passing tones of time to coexist with the classic hues of eternity. It is at this crossroads that Moinard settles, trading fountain-pen for brushes, his travel sketchpads for a pristine white canvas on which to weave together, between sky and land, his vision of the future.

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