Above image: The LX Platine turntable by La Boite featuring Lelievre’s Riga courderoy velvet fabric. Photos of LX Platine by Mario Simon Lafleur. Courtesy of Lelièvre.
Emmanuel Lelièvre wants to weave new stories. The fourth-generation Managing Director of his family’s textile company, he has spearheaded such creative collaborations as a limited-edition, velvet sneaker with shoemaker Caulaincourt, and a bold, playful furniture collection with fashion designer José Lévy. So when Lelièvre met Timothée Cagniard, the torchbearer of his family’s 80-year legacy of pioneering sound technology, and founder of audio company La Boîte Concept, it was a true meeting of the minds. “We shared the same passion for preserving know-how handed down from generation to generation,” says Cagniard, “as well as a sensitivity to beauty, decoration, and design excellence.” The result of the mix? The Lelièvre LX Platine: A special edition high-fidelity speaker and turntable sheathed in Lelièvre fabric. A hit when launched at Maison et Object this year, it may have also launched a new category of decorative arts. Might one call it Hi-Fibre?
How did this collaboration come about?
It comes from the desire to do something a bit different. Timothée is someone who comes from a fun environment working in sound, in the music industry. I was also amazed when I discovered the products—the quality of the product itself impressed me, and the fact that it was made in the southwest of France.
It’s lovely too that you both have a family lineage in your work.
Yes, it’s important. It’s a family business. And it’s a business where the manufacturing is very important. Manufacturing and design, not just one or the other. We understand each other, and we understand that the most difficult part is to transform the design into the product itself.
The Hera fabric in Bois du Rose wrapping a sofa and the LX Platine turntable. Photos courtesy of Lelievre.
When you started to collaborate, were there certain acoustical properties that had to be in the fabric, or were you free to choose whichever textiles you liked?
The project overall was to dress the turntable without impacting the acoustics. So, I proposed fabrics, and Timothée said which would be better for the acoustics.
How did you decide on Hera and Riga?
Because it’s a collaboration between two people, and he believed strongly into Riga, and I believe strongly in Hera. And we said, okay, we cannot make a choice! It was also good to have both options, because they’re different looks. In the end, I think they sold about the same quantities of Hera and Riga—the product was shown at Maison et Objet, and it was a big success.
Riga is a corduroy velvet, and has a very vintage, kind of 70s turntable vibe.
Yes, right. And then the other one the Hera was more geometrical designs is more unexpected, I would say. I like playing with geometrical shapes–using the triangles for a round shape is a lot of fun.
Often sound isn’t the primary thing we’re thinking about when designing a space, but in terms of atmosphere it’s so important. Did sound come to the foreground of your consciousness more as you were thinking about the design of other spaces or interiors?
We do we do take into consideration the acoustic on some of our projects, and we do have acoustic fabrics in our collections. We also work with acoustical engineers on some projects, in restaurants and hotel lobbies for example. But for me, it was more about fun, and the only constraint was to make sure that with the fabric the quality of the sound was as good and pure as it should be.
Is there a musician you’d love to have this turntable?
Well, obviously, it could be a famous DJ… There’s a French group I’ve loved for many years now, Daft Punk. Do you know them?
Yes, of course!
It could be a good mix, and a good match! Maybe I’ll try to invite them for the next party!
Lelièvre fabrics are available through Shears & Window.
The LX Platine speaker is available through La Boite.