We invite you to discover The Collectors — our interview series that unearths the treasures, trinkets and thoughtful things that the most exciting creatives that we follow are holding onto. It’s here that we find out why collectibles hold such value and in fact, how value is so much more than a price tag. Introducing Chantal and Lucillia Chenel, our second find for The Collectors.
Lucillia, right, is an art director and curator, tarot reader, and co-founder of Eso Paris — the cool esoteric platform that aims to educate and connect its followers with reputable alternative healers, astrologers, psychics, and more, through their Eso Nights in Paris and their Eso School online. Previously, Lucillia ran Ultra Moderne, a second-hand furniture and object business specialising in pieces from the 1970s-1990s. Most recently, after moving from Paris back down south to Nice, she has just launched her website, where she sells objects and homeware that she’s carefully sourced.
Chantal, left, is a talented artist and jewellery designer, creating limited edition 18kt gold pieces in Nice, France, where she lives and works. Her pieces are sculptural, wearable works of art, showcasing and celebrating the unique beauty and characteristics of gold.
Belonging to an antique and art dealer family — Chantal and her husband, Alain, collected Picasso ceramics long before they were all the rage. Both mother and daughter are drawn to aesthetics and beauty, and have the most incredible eye when it comes to sourcing, arranging, and decorating. Chantal's two sons, Adrien and Olivier, as well as her daughter-in-law, Gladys, founded Galerie Chenel in 1999, specialising in Ancient Sculpture and Art. We catch up with Lucillia and Chantal Chenel, on their world and things they can’t get enough of.
What’s the first thing you collected?
Chantal Chenel// Rings.
Lucillia Chenel// Barbies.
What’s your favourite thing to collect today?
CC// Lately, Lurçat tapestries.
LC// Tarot cards, small objects, lamps...
"...I find a lot of inspiration in the shapes of different objects."
You are both very visually creative people — do you collaborate on projects together?
CC// Yes, more and more. Especially since we started remodelling our house.
LC// We like working on interior design projects together.
What is the most important thing that you have learnt from each other?
CC// Developing my creativity!
LC// Learning how to cook well!
An item you have stolen from each other?
CC// Clothes and bags.
LC// Everything — especially bags!
Most special piece of jewellery that you own or wish you owned?
CC// One that I never take off — my blue ring that holds an aquamarine.
LC// My grandmother's heart-shaped necklace.
Is jewellery a part of your everyday life?
CC// You'll never see me without my earrings and rings.
LC// Yes — I wear a lot of earrings.
Does the jewellery you wear have a deeper symbolism to you?
CC// Yes, especially the jewellery that my husband gave me over the years.
LC// Not particularly, but I like wearing the same jewellery for years.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?
CC// My projects mostly revolve around interior design at the moment, but I'm also working on new fish-themed earrings that will be unique pieces.
LC// I'm developing Eso Paris, which I founded, and I'm hunting down objects that I will be selling on my website.
Are there any artists that inspire you work?
CC// Calder, Picasso, Giacometti...
LC// Several but no specific one.
Do the things you collect inform you work at all?
CC// Yes, of course!
LC// Yes, I find a lot of inspiration in the shapes of different objects.
What are you reading at the moment?
CC// La vie après la vie by Raymond Moody.
LC// I listen to a lot of podcasts and watch a lot of esoteric documentaries.
Which century is most "you" in terms of design and furniture?
CC// 30s - 70s.
LC// 70s and 80s.
Favourite piece of furniture in your home?
CC// My bookcase.
LC// My future couch! A modular couch from the 70s...
List a few of your favourite designers...
CC// Platner, Picasso Medallions, Calder.
Did you take on a new hobby during lockdown?
What's your uniform?
LC// Jeans and a roll-neck during the winter.
Something you can't live without?
CC// My children, my friends, and my cat.
LC// My family and my dog.
Your favourite thing about London?
CC// The vibe before Covid.
LC// The parks.
Your ideal Sunday in Nice?
CC// Reading by the pool followed by a walk by the sea.
LC// A walk by the sea or in the countryside.
This or That?
Silver or Yellow Gold?
CC// Yellow Gold
LC// Yellow Gold
Picasso or Matisse?
Villa Kerylos or Fondation Maeght?
CC// Difficult to say. I love both.
LC// Fondation Maeght
Keep jewellery on or take jewellery off before bed?
CC// I only take my earrings off.
LC// I sleep with it on.
Croissant or Green Juice?
LC// Croissant — Pain au chocolat!
Charlotte Perriand or Ettore Sottsass?
CC// Charlotte Perriand
Paris or Nice?
Coffee or Tea?
Cat or Dog person?
Faceted stones or intaglios/cameos?
CC// Intaglios and cameos
Lastly, which piece from our collection would you choose and why?
CC// My favourite is the Venus Egg Pendant.
LC// The Istros Hoop Earrings, worn with a dress.