[pictured from left: Marc Brulhart, Chantal Rechaussat and Marc Cansier]
Marc Brulhart, Marc Cansier and Chantal Rechaussat founded Marc & Chantal Design in Hong Kong in 1993. Guided by design educations in Paris and Milan, their vision was to develop an open working environment in which lateral thinking and creative interaction are encouraged. They nurtured a studio that crosses design disciplines and answers emerging needs holistically. Today the company is fueled by the talent and creativity of 35 individuals with the know-how and creativity to build stories and craft unique multi-dimensional brand experiences.
With eighteen years' experience connecting international corporations to the Asia Pacific market, the studio is dedicated to acting as a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures and has begun bringing its expertise and sensibility to major Chinese companies such as China Mobile, Yintai Property and Shopin.
Shifting Perspectives, Igniting Dreams and Raising Eyebrows
If you have a degree in what field is it?
Chantal and Marc C: Master in fine arts and graphic design from the Ecole Superieure d’Art Graphique (Atelier Penninghen) in Paris.
Marc B: Studied product and interior design at the European Institute of Design in Milan.
Which designer (or design studio), other than yours, do you most admire?
Chantal: I don’t have a hero and there are too many great works out there to single out even a few.
Marc C: We tend to look outside the design world for inspiration; with its lightness and depth and inner rhythm, I find the work of New York choreographer Shen Wei very inspiring.
Marc B: Mother Nature can’t be beaten with the amount of wonder she produces.
What’s the strangest request you’ve received from a client? “Can you please fetch your passport(s) and fly with me to Las Vegas after this meeting.” —from a client in Beijing
If you weren’t working as a designer what would you be doing?
Chantal: I would be an alchemist.
Marc C: Something that involves words rather than images.
Marc B: I’d be back to my early work as an apprentice furniture maker.
What well-known identity is most desperately in need of a redesign?
Chantal and Marc B: Sinopec Corp., one of the largest petroleum and chemical corporations in China.
Marc C: Google. And yet changing it would be pure madness. Go figure...
From where do your best ideas originate?
Chantal: Out of the blue, although I sometimes also check the back of my mind.
Marc C: Dreams... they just appear to me and it's totally obvious; that only happens once every five years though.
Marc B: Other collaborators; bouncing ideas always leads to new ones.
How do you overcome a creative block?
Chantal: Lift it and look underneath; the hidden side never fails to inspire.
Marc C: A smooth burgundy keeps me going.
Marc B: Getting out earlier for happy hour.
What’s your dream project (not client, but project)?
Chantal: Invent a color no one has ever seen before.
Marc C: A visual identity for a burlesque troupe.
Marc B: Something with measurable impact on facilitating the spread of knowledge and education, museums in particular.
Do you have creative outlets other than graphic design?
Chantal: Cooking and devising schemes to help my 11-year-old son improve his disastrous spelling.
Marc C: I like writing. It’s very satisfying. I wish I could become good at it.
Marc B: Expanding my collection of vintage erotic figurines and enjoying food.
What’s your approach to balancing work and life?
Chantal: The two are fused like a ball so it’s more like a game of a pétanque rather than a balancing act.
Marc C: Our minds always work; with experience we learn how to sometimes let our thoughts run in the background.
Marc B: Enjoy every moment. As we deal with perceptions and emotions, the boundaries between work and personal life are blurred; observations and experience have no definite time in life.
What product/gadget can you not live without?
Chantal: A pencil, I can’t find my words without one in hand.
Marc C: I spend a fair amount of time in airplanes, so my Bose noise-reducer headphones are golden.
Marc B: A blank page and a pen, it gives me reassurance that we can reinvent the world every day.
What’s your favorite quote?
Chantal: “Hakuna Matata.” —Timon and Pumbaa, The Lion King
Marc C: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, and that is why it’s called the present.” —Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda
Marc B: “Nothing is definite.” —Scot Kelly, a friend from Canada
Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession?
Chantal: Embrace it as a way of life, not a career.
Marc C: Run and don’t look back.
Marc B: Travel, observe and be honest with your feelings.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career?
Chantal: How to spot the time wasters.
Marc C: At the beginning of your career you can be very centered on yourself. It took me awhile but I learned to open up and now I really appreciate teamwork and how rewarding it can be.
Marc B: How to deal with egos, ours as well as those of the people we interact with.