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A Man of Imaginative and prescient: Valmont’s Didier Guillon on Artwork

A Man of Imaginative and prescient: Valmont’s Didier Guillon on Artwork

No matter whether it’s opening a new Valmont Spa or setting up the next Fondation Valmont exhibition, for the Swiss beauty brand’s president Didier Guillon, art is always in the equation.

Art is in the heart of Maison Valmont for the very simple reason that its owners are great art lovers. Didier Guillon, who bought the beauty brand in 1991, grew up surrounded by it. His father was a great art lover just like his great-great-grandfather, Charles Sedelmeyer, who was a respected Paris art dealer in the late 19th century, while his paternal great-grandfather, Stanislas Lami, was an artist and sculptor. Guillon humbly tells me he’s neither moved to open a gallery or become an artist – “because I don’t have any artistic education” – but there’s no doubt art is in his blood. And, for the record, he does make art: Ivo the Gorilla, inspired by a trip to the Berlin Zoo with his youngest daughter, and blue open cube-shaped cages are just two of the most recognisable motifs in his work.

Valmont President Didier Guillon

Instead, he was moved to buy Maison Valmont in 1991. “It was a question of opportunity,” he says. It was also a way for him to express his love for Switzerland and the potent ingredients harvested from its mountains, its plants and the beehives that power Valmont’s products and give them their unrivalled efficacy. But soon afterwards, Guillon saw in Valmont an opportunity for him to extend his love for art and to facilitate art in a new way. “I realised that art was the best tool to communicate about Valmont. No one did it at the time. Art is universal and it can catch the attention of anyone, no matter if they’re young or old.”

By 2015, art was so integral to the brand that Guillon took it a step further by becoming patrons of art through the creation of the Fondation Valmont in 2015, where Guillon now houses his art collection and through which he supports young artists. 

“Art offers emotions, it gives you harmony, it allows you to feel more than just being in a store,” says Guillon. “Valmont products are fantastic, but we want to offer that to you, coupled with the environment and the art, to give you an experience.”

The Mosaic Room at the Spa by Valmont

And the new Valmont Spa in Hong Kong is definitely an experience. Its gleaming interiors are decorated with an eclectic collection of art and sculptures, including a beautiful chandelier by the entrance, designed by master artisan Aristide Naean. Guillon happily ticks off the artists he loves – he feels strongly about the Bauhaus and counts Josef Albers and Joannes Eaton as his greatest sources of inspiration. Today, his son Maxence works alongside him at the foundation, where he searches for new artists to exhibit. 

What about artistic collaborations? That’s a definite no, as Guillon shakes his head at the wholly commercial aspect of limited-edition products that puts an artist’s work on the packaging and bottles. Instead, Guillon prefers to design beautiful collectibles for his clients. Spotting a pair
of skis painted with his gorilla motif in the corner of the room, he smiles.

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“Art is more than a vision for the company,” says Guillon. “It’s my legacy.” 

(Header image: The Spa by Valmont at Lee Gardens)

Source: Prestige Online

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