Architecture of Dreams - Page 4

French illustrator Marie-Laure Cruschi draws her long-distance inspiration from mid-century design
Architecture of Dreams
A fantastic Cruschi scene depicting a futuristic world on the go.

“The cabin theme resonates deeply with the world of childhood. So I tried to create dreamlike images on the border between realism and fantasy, where time stands still, each cabin sublimated in its natural setting,” she says.

There is an optimism that makes Cruschi’s work appealing, even when dealing with subjects that are dark. For a magazine article about a man living in the contaminated zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, her illustrations are simultaneously bucolic and ominous.

A decade ago she traveled in Scandinavia and produced lovely, abstracted landscape paintings that illustrate the dialog between industry and rural life.

“Factories, refineries, power stations have always had a strong attraction-repulsion on me,” she says. “I like their complex aesthetics, which, when underlined by an evening light, reveals the tragic tension of their existence.”

There is a dialog too in Cruschi’s life.

Architecture of Dreams
Four characters from ‘Ré-Créatures,’ which Cruschi aimed at both toddlers and adults

“I share my life between the capital [Paris], from which it is difficult for me to separate myself—as its cultural bubbling is enriching and stimulating—and the mountains of the Cévennes. This allows me quiet periods during which I recharge and focus on my personal projects.

“In the south [of France], I have a very small, traditional house from the end of the 19th century, located at the edge of the forest, from where I can contemplate the valley.” In her free time she enjoys gardening.

Cruschi lives with her companion, Simon Montel, the artist known as Gazhole. They have a ten-year-old son. They collaborate as well in their art. Among the works they have produced together are window designs for the department store Printemps, posters for the Auditorium of Lyon, and an ad campaign for Longines.

For the anniversary of a music festival, they jointly produced scary yet hilarious caricatures of festivalgoers. These ‘Festivaliers’ include geezers in deaths-head vests, guys in spiked Mohawks with tattoos, and the Parisian variant of a Valley Girl with smart phone.

Architecture of Dreams
In celebration of a French music festival, three of Cruschi’s scary yet hilarious caricatures of ‘festivalgoers,’ a collaboration with husband Simon Montel.

Cruschi plans to continue as an illustrator and to produce more books. She also wants to stay involved with design in a wider frame. “I dream of one day finding more interaction with all the applied arts by expressing myself in volume, by experimenting with wood, textiles, or ceramics,” she says.

“One of my big projects would be to make a trip to the United States again,” she says, “through California—in order to visit the most beautiful houses of modern architecture, such as those developed by Joseph Eichler, Pierre Koening, John Lautner, Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright—and come back to France with a series of drawings that pay homage to them.”

“Although the modern house represents a symbol of success, comfort, and social status here in France, they remain an architectural exception in the urban landscape,” she adds.

But of course wherever you go people love cabins. “I dream,” she says, “of having a tiny house or a small cabin to take with me on my different trips.”

• For more on Marie-Laure Cruschi and her art, visit cruschiform.com.