We are talking to Biarritz born, craftsman Matthieu Gree about the connection between modern retro, the love to nature and high quality hats.
Being a devotee of ancient craft and technology french-born Matthieu Gree believes that in order to perpetuate quality and style of things & objects in the traditional way, one must be in tune with one’s own environmental surroundings.
"In what decade does this instrument really belong? How do we make it last for future years ahead? Why does it have a place in this world?
I’m someone that likes designs that creates a feeling of nostalgia. As French people we usually like to take things slow and not rush any process when we are creating. What is the point if we do not have the time to feel the design of a craftsmanship? As you told me, the process of hat felting is more than 300 hundred years old, so when I am wearing Bondett’s RUSTIC JAMES, even if I know it’s a new brand, I can feel the history of the artistry. That is the real beauty to me. A savoir-fair that has been taught down in generations in order to keep the tradition alive. When we use our hands to create something, the mind and body are connected to the object we are making, I believe on some vague frequency we as hat people can feel that bond with the creator of the piece.”
"I love hats!
Even if it’s not the easiest accessory to wear at all times, there’s a feeling of empowerment
while wearing it. I spend most of my time in working clothes that are full of
holes, paint and stains, contrary to that I enjoy dressing up, so when I’m
actually wearing a hat it’s definitely a great accessory."
ON ANCIENT CRAFTSMANSHIP & UP-CYCLING
In my everyday life there is great passion for old furniture. The assembling techniques that were of the time were all made without as many tools as we use today and with great precision. It is fascinating. I think the elders had it all figured out, they could do so much with so little compared to now. Nothing was wasted. I try to adapt history to my own way of living and working. As I care a lot about the environment I work with up-cycling of old and broken furniture. There is a story behind the wood of a rustic table from the 70s. Who sat there, what did they talk about, what music did they listen to, where they happy? Sad? Did they end the night with dancing, or were they alone? We will never know what happened to them, but if I can re-build that wooden table, in that way their lives will continue in our lifetime and in the future. That’s what I liked about your hats, they have something retro nostalgic about them, and their quality is made to last for future generations.
They too will have a story to tell.
I chose materials that will last a life time. Wood, metal, resin and fabric are probably the materials that I mostly work in. They match well together; some of them reduce waste, for example Resin can be used to take care of old surfboards that would otherwise be thrown away. When I up-cycle it gives me an opportunity to express myself artistically while finding an intellectual solution in how to make an object useful. I would create a lamp from parts of an old engine and add wood, or dream catchers from broken surf leashes, a bar out of scrap wood and old doors that I had found at some random place.
ON RETRO STYLE
Modern retro is always with me. My dad is a big vinyl collector and used to have an old chevy from the 50’s, my mom loved the flea market, she found tools to use or transform, that’s where it all started. When I was traveling in South America people created pure gems from
scraps, so I went back to France and took everything that I had learnt and created my own workshop where I restored or transformed old broken things.
The 70’s is a very special period to me. I think it was an era of great awareness and exceptional creativity. Freedom, music, art, brave designs; it was also a moment of awakening, we realized how our consumption impacted the planet. Whenever I drive my van, I travel back in time. A 45 year old Peugeot J7 than runs partly on frying oil. These were machines that were built to last, pure simple mechanic that still is reliable. Maybe I idealize, but it seems it was an era of possibilities. It was the birth of pioneers in surfing. They explored the world, followed the summer around the globe in
search for the perfect wave.
ON THE CONNECTION TO NATURE
I grew up in a little village, in a house between the forest and fields. As a kid I spent most of my time outside building little cabins, fishing and running in the wild. I’ve always had a strong connection to animals. I treasure being still and observing them. The house was close to the sea so we played on the beach, searched for crabs and seashells. We were taught about the strong force of the nature, how to play with it, not against it.
Growing up next to Biarritz has had a major impact on my personality, which I’m deeply grateful for. The ocean, mountains, nature, small cities, Spain just around the corner... Our childhood was a bit like a time machine compared to other major cities. It was freedom. After traveling and studying elsewhere my heart decided to return to Biarritz, I had to go away to realise the city’s values and how lucky we were to have grown up there.
BONDETT sat down with Pauline Cappelen for a chat about hats, imaginative flow and style.
Pauline Cappelen, the creative soul behind two of Stockholm’s most vibrant places: luxury concept store Gazebo at Hotel Villa Dagmar, and the chic, exclusive cocktail bar Andy’s, at the Hotel Diplomat. Here's what she has to say:
brings out hidden parts of a person. It might be a little bit uncomfortable at first but after daring the first necessary steps to wear it, the feeling of boldness
that it creates is immeasurable. It bears an international expression that
speaks for itself: chic, personal and confident."
“My personal style? I like to think “A little bad taste is good for everyone”, and by that, I mean that everything doesn’t have to match perfectly, but rather keep it personal. I’m hopeless at following trends, I prefer to look elegant, natural, and dress in a lot of vintage. With a hat on, I would go for an easy look with a distressed pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a coat; or during the night, leather pants with a chiffon blouse. I would either match the coat or the blouse with the same color as the hat to create harmony."
ON IMAGINATIVE FLOW
“To stay creative, I try to always be curious. To me, perfect things are boring. I want to challenge the status quo by using the only resources I have, which does not necessarily have to be a lot, to give the imagination a thrill. Many attires can be redone or re-used, for example, tie a sparkly belt to an old boring coat and give it a new life. Or use any other quirky accessory to give your wardrobe a facelift. I’m very stimulated by antiques and vintage pieces. My guilty pleasure is to browse online objects from the Nordic auction house Bukowskis instead of Instagram. I think I am very driven by finding something that is unique about every piece or person that I encounter. It’s not always easy to go your own way, but when you finally do, that is where the magic happens."
ON VILLA DAGMAR & CONCEPT STORE GAZEBO
“My great-great-grandmother Dagmar is the main inspiration behind Villa Dagmar. She was a force of nature, always traveling the world and gathering small souvenirs from different exotic corners of the planet. The belongings she brought home were used to create a dream-like atmosphere in her house, her dressing room; and to feed her guests with exciting stories from her travels. That feeling is exactly how we want our hotel, the concept store Gazebo, and guests to feel. When a customer buys an item from Gazebo, they are buying something unique, the best and most creative designer pieces from Sweden. We wanted Gazebo and Villa Dagmar to feel like hidden gems in Stockholm, which is also why the huge inner courtyard is not shown off immediately, but remains a bit from the entrance.”
ON ANDY’s AT THE BAR HOTEL DIPLOMAT
“Andy’s Bar, the latest eclectic addition to Hotel Diplomat (the sister hotel of Villa Dagmar), was born out of a need to gather a diverse, cosmopolitan crowd in a small and intimate setting.
The concept is based on a vibrant cluster of people from all parts of the world. We appreciate a liberal crowd where every age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and style is welcomed. Similarly to Gazebo, we wanted to create a sort of international playground for adults, where engaging conversations between random tables create an atmosphere of open-mindedness and relaxed vibes. The perfect place to put your hat on and sip on a Dry Martini in the company of new and old friends."
BONDETT will be available at Villa Dagmar's concept store Gazebo starting 6th of May 2022.
Gazebo can be found at Nybrogatan 25-27 in Stockholm.
Open Wednesday-Friday 11.00-18.00 and Saturday 10.00-17.00.