Hubert De Malherbe – Collectors’ Island

June 8, 2018 3:52 pm

Hubert De Malherbe has an obsession with colored glass. He spends a lot of his free time searching through the flea markets of Paris for just the right piece to use for his sculptural design work. “I see words in color. Do you know what synaesthesia is? All my memories are built on that. I associate letters and sounds with colors. And in glass color achieves its most beautiful expression, color is suspended in its transparency.”

Each year the Genevan watchmaker Vacheron Costantin releases a book titled Collectors’ Island, this year I photographed the entire book and this is one of eight stories included.

Many thanks to Bradley Seymour at Studio Sibling for the invaluable creative direction, and to Lara LoCalzo for her exceptional work as Editorial Manager. All captions written by Virginie Bertrand.

Malherbe is aesthete all the way down to his wheels. He arrives at the Saint-Ouen flea market after visiting the one in Vanves in his 1970s De Tomaso Pantera.

Malherbe’s glass alphabet: a collection of glass and crystal mixing Baccarat, Daum, Lalique, and Murano glasswork, one-off artisanal creations and stock items, displayed on Malherbe Edition shelves, the sparkle of the glass contrasting with the soft matte felt covering the shelves.

Return to the Saint-Ouen flea market, this time at the Vernaison shop. Malherbe hunts through the shop of his favorite bric-à-brac dealers, envisioning future compositions.

Folie II, rock crystal and hammered metal, appliqué created by Malherbe using found objects: Murano glass volutes, insects, gilt grapes, stained-glass cross, a 1920s solid brass chain… Winter counters spring, always the notion of contrast, the double vision of the creator.

Saint-Ouen flea market. Malherbe discovering glass spheres at the shop of Danièle Gachet, a specialist in 18th and 19th-century lamps and expert consultant for Monuments Historiques.

A mixed composition of glass and crystal and a ceramic hand on marble tables crafted by Angelo Mangiarotti. Hubert de Malherbe created the mirror using 18th-century glass chandelier spindles.

The collector’s sitting room featuring a dialogue among his creations. Velvet sofas by Créations Métaphores, family photos and, at the back of the room, the works of artists such as Georges Rousse and Nathalie Belin.

A Malherbe Edition console table, double curve in oak, brass base in the form of a console; triad glass sculpture found at the Saint-Ouen flea market.

A lighting device created by Hubert de Malherbe using 18th-century glass spindles found at the flea market and sandwiched between metal plates. It is a sculpture that can be interpreted and used in two ways: a play of mirrors and lighting effects; a table and a light source.

Saturday morning at the Saint-Ouen flea market in Paris, shop of Jules Vallès. Hubert de Malherbe, designer and collector, is an habitué of this meeting point of art and curios. It is one of his solitary rituals.

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