Each of his works stems from a unique approach – balanced between nature and norms; restoration and innovation. The vanguard of French lighting company Mathieu Lustrerie since 1992, Regis Mathieu believes his roots have driven him to amalgamate the three traditions of research, technology and art in the conceptual designs of his chandeliers.
He has been instrumental in realising several iconic chandeliers, reviving antique lighting the world over including in the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara and has also invented a revolutionary LED bulb that reproduces a halo-like effect and colours of a real candle. You would expect Regis, being a goldsmith of decorative illuminating suspenders, to aggressively market his skills. On the contrary, he continues to sell himself as a wide-eyed visionary and a charmer with his inviting guffaws and wisecracks.
We caught up with him as he gave us a periscopic view of his wonderful life. Here’s a peek into this virtuoso’s life as a designer, entrepreneur, collector and philanthropist:
1. He likes to envelope himself in nature at daybreak. “I am the happiest when I wake up. Living in the verdant countryside of Luberon, Provence,” Regis reveals. He relishes coffee, bread and cheese for breakfast, near his kitchen window to be able to enjoy enjoying the sunrise.
2. He is an automobile enthusiast with collection of 25 antique cars. “It is ceremonial for my son and me to head to our garage every morning to decide which car to ride in, depending on the temperature or the “girlfriend” he wants to impress,” he jokes. Regis’ “me time” is also dedicated to the maintenance of his cars.
3. Regis’ office, factory, workshop and museum are all in one location. Meetings are not usually lined up at his Provence office since it is away from the city. “Business concerns are addressed by my wife Helene, assistant Vanessa and me as soon as I reach. With another cup of coffee I retreat to my workshop, greet the whole team and check on the chandeliers we are working on or restoring,” he reveals. The museum, housed with his personal collection of over 500 decorative lights from across the globe, is open to public.
4. For every new or restored chandelier, he likes to add his personal touch. Since every illuminator from Mathieu Lustrerie is a statement piece, he prefers to be a part of the making of every prototype. “This is also my chance to connect with the artisan who is developing it,” he adds.
5. His iPhone is something he cannot live without. Although Regis invariably uses a laptop, he is very dependent to his phone. It helps him stay connected with his teams in Russia, India, Hong Kong and the US.
6. Lunchtime is like a quasi-holiday for him. “I like to step out of my office to have lunch either with my wife or a customer or a friend.” When Regis is pressed for time, he eats in his factory. Customers, who visit him in his factory, prefer having lunch with him with the chandeliers as a backdrop.
7. Pep talks with his family happen over dinnertime. “Other than discussing the day’s happenings, I try to motivate my family to pursue their passions during mealtimes,” he avers.