Coutume decorative objects are designed in Paris and manufactured at fair prices in artisanal workshops in Central America. Through our collaborations, we offer hand-made pieces that respect our values: the preservation of ancestral know-how and sustainable development.
Based in Paris, the Coutume studio designs interior decoration objects, between modernity and tradition. The in-house collections are hand-made and fairly priced, in collaboration with communities of craftsmen, respecting ancestral know-how. The inspirations come from old and rare textile archives, redesigned with taste.
Coutume works with traditional workshops and unique techniques to create exceptional and contemporary objects.
After studying Fashion Design in Paris, Céline Gaiardo worked as a textile designer in luxury ready-to-wear at the Louis Vuitton design studio and then in the textile craft industry. For two years, she designed the collections for an association of craftswomen in Guatemala and discovered the textile richness of these regions of the world. Together, they work to preserve the tradition of belt weaving, the economic source of many local women. Proud of the friendships created with these communities and the projects accomplished together, she decides to continue to promote the talent and stories of these artisans.
. What made you want to be a designer?
I grew up in a rather artistic family where people used to draw: my father, my grandfather, my great-grandmother...
Me too, always have. I think I especially like the daydreaming and escape linked to the world of drawing. Even as a child, I used to spend hours in my room, cut off from the world. It was a way to escape, to disconnect and travel for a few hours. I created my design notebooks, I pasted my illustrations and fabrics. In a way, I've always wanted to be a designer.
. What kind of product do you design?
I come from the fashion world but I specialized little by little in textile design (knitwear at school, textile creations in luxury Parisian houses...). After two years in Guatemala designing textiles for an NGO, I am now creating with Coutume craft objects for the home.
There is such a richness of textiles in Central America, the possibilities of creation are endless... Craft textiles, especially those made on belt looms, are often thick, highly textured and work perfectly on decorative pieces rather than ready-to-wear.
For Coutume, I take my inspiration from old textile archives from the 50s to 90s, found at flea markets or antique dealers. I redesign them from Paris and rework them in collaboration with local craft groups. I recompose the traditional patterns and colours and transmit my drawings to the craftsmen. These collaborations allow me to obtain unique textiles and to preserve rare and ancient techniques, often in danger of disappearing.
. What inspires me in everyday life?
The craftsmen I work with and their stories, but also the travel and the artist friends who surround me.
. The object you created that you are most proud of and why?
My favourite object is also one of my best-sellers: the Merida cushion.
These small triangular patterns may be hundreds of years old but are still used today for women's clothing in Nahuala, Guatemala. When I was working in Guatemala, I bought several of these textile samples as a small collection. I loved deconstructing and reconstructing this fabric, which is both ancestral and at the same time ultra graphic and modern.
. To produce oneself, a trend, a need, a necessity?
Of course entrepreneurship is in fashion, but it is sometimes a necessity. In France, most ethical or artisanal brands are still small structures or evolve on niche markets. After two years in Guatemala, I also wanted to continue working with my friends, my collaborators, on textile techniques that I knew and I didn't see myself going back to work in the fashion industry.
. If I hadn't been a designer I would have been...?
Photographer or journalist.
. Which person has had a significant influence on my work, my career?
Artists and craftsmen touch me a lot. They have a very simple relationship with art and nature. Weavers, sculptors...
Barbara Hepworth is one of my favourite artists but I was very inspired by Brancusi, Zadkine... I like their sober colour ranges, linked to raw materials such as wood or stones, just as I like the colours of the earth: terracotta, indigo blue or ochre. I also love painters, even the most classical ones, who are also in search of the material: Soulages, Matisse, Miro, Picasso...
For the photo, Saul Leiter & Ernst Haas for the colours, gold yellows, water greens and bricks. But I also love all those who made me travel before my time, Edward Weston, Manuel & Lola Alvarez Bravo, Bruno Barbey, Pablo Bartholomew, McCurry and so many others.
My heroes: Frida Kahlo, Patti Smith & Sebastiao Salgado.
. What wave are you surfing on right now?
Anti-conformism, the return to human productions, transparency and certainly female mutual aid.
. 4 hours without working, what are you doing?
I sing with my guitar.
. Your playlist of the moment?
Jorge Ben Jor in the morning, Joni Mitchell at lunch, James Blake at night.
Hesse, Camus, Kerouack & Cavanna.
. Something you can't live without?
My camera, my computer, my notebooks.
. A destination?
Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and Oaxaca in Mexico.
In Europe, the south and the sun of Lisbon, Rome and Puglia in Italy.
. Favorite places in Paris?
The chairs in the shade in the gardens of the Palais Royal, the sculpture workshops (Rodin, Bourdelle...), the small cafés of the rue Chapon, the buttes Chaumont in the morning, the Aligre market, the sun of the place Ste Marthe, the small craft shops of the square Gardette, the library Ste Geneviève, the terraces of Montorgueil, the bookshops of the 6th, the Café de la Poste to work, the petanque courts of the place Dauphine.
. What are you mad about?
The climate sceptics.
. A wish?