I have played on the same piano bench with the same pillow (which I actually glued on so it wouldn’t slip off) for over 20 years. It may sound silly, but I have shared many memories alongside this musical chair – my first piano lesson, conquering the most challenging Schubert Impromptu ever imaginable, and most of all, having the honourable privilege to teach a group of children that, to this day, have taught me so much about myself.
Let’s just say it’s definitely looking a little worn out and I came to a very difficult decision to look for a replacement. Again, many would find me ridiculous, but it definitely hasn’t been the easiest of tasks.
Low and behold, I came across something that I did not expect to see – a fashionable stool that caught my eye as a great addition to my living and the replacement I was looking for. What was so special you ask?
Montreal designer Corinne Campenio has created a line of furniture featuring original photographs that have been modified into themes and printed on fabric. A native of Southern France, Campenio gets her inspiration from her travels and creates themes that are classic and contemporary. I fell in love with pieces such as “Opera” and her “High Heels” chair.
The hunt for the perfect piano stool finally came to an end and as much as it was a personal experience for me, I also wanted to personally get to know the lady behind it all.
MC: How did it all begin?
CC: I had this idea in mind for a few years before we started developing the brand. I am a furniture lover and have always wanted to create unique and inspiring pieces. My daughter Jessica and I did a lot of research and preparation before officially launching the brand.
MC: Is there a specific reason for the focus on chairs/stools and pillows?
CC: I have always loved designing homes and interior design is a real passion for me. All the accessories and pieces I own in my house are all so precious to me. It made perfect sense to start with chairs – there are so many different types and styles. Cushions are also great accessories that bring colour to a décor. For me, it’s all in the details.
MC: There is definitely a French theme to your work – how personal are these photographs and how do you work through the selection process?
CC: Indeed, the brand started with only French inspired themes. We then developed more themes with different angles and ideas. I live in the South of France most of the time and it was easy for me to get inspired everyday with everything that is surrounding me. It’s such a beautiful place. I usually always carry my camera around. Sometimes, I will have specific themes in mind and will look for the right items, whether it’s a flower, the ocean or a street sign. I take a lot of pictures and 100% of the images used for each theme are my own original photographs. I do take a lot of pictures; therefore, the selection process may take a while. It’s about finding the right images and then creating a story around it. Many of our themes have different images in them.
MC: You launched your line in Montreal last year and opened your first showroom in Toronto at the beginning of 2014. Every city has its own personality and the buying audience is different. Have you seen a difference between Montreal and Toronto?
MC: Developing both markets is a very interesting thing. Because we have a variety of themes and chairs, it gives a lot of choices to our audience. We also have a wide collection of “Lingerie and Paris” themes and I would say that as of now, they have been a great success in the Toronto market. As for Montreal, we noticed that our cottage and flower themes were more popular. We also created two different themes for both cities – “The Street Art” theme for Toronto and “The Montreal” theme for Montreal. We’re very proud of those two collections. We love working in both cities and meeting new people that have interest in the brand. It’s great to see which pieces are more likely to sell and why. The production is 100% made in Montreal and the showroom and events are taking place in Toronto. It’s a good compromise.
MC: Let’s talk fashion for a minute – there are a lot of pieces with heels galore all over them. Are you a shoe fanatic and do you have a favourite designer?
CC: In this case, the shoe fanatic would definitely be Jessica! She inspired me to create more fashion pieces. They are trendy, modern and attract a younger audience. We want to be able to create various pieces and themes that will attract men and women at the same time. It’s hard to resist shoe shopping when shopping in Paris and I am a fan myself. My favourite shoe brand is definitely Repetto. I am in love with their ballerina collection and they’re all very comfortable.
MC: What can we expect from your pop up coming up next month in Toronto?
We’ve partnered with carpet square design brand, FLOR, to create a limited edition pop-up that will be the ultimate interior design destination in the Yorkville area. We want to have a stronger presence in downtown Toronto and be able to showcase our pieces to the public. Our new products that will also be on display next month. Just in time for the holidays!
MC: Are you able to share something with us about the new collection pieces that are in the works?
CC: We’re currently preparing a “flashy” collection for the Maison & Objet Miami Trade show in May 2015. New chairs and cushions will be unveiled. Let’s just say the wood colours won’t be the traditional colours that our customers have been used to. As for the summer collection, lots of palm trees and bright colours are in store.
All pieces and cushions will be available for purchase during the 4 day pop up