Felice Varini shows his work in the open at Marseilles.


©André Morin

Ora Ito was born in Marseilles and is the creator of the MAMO art centre on the roof of the legendary Cité Radieuse apartment block designed by Le Corbusier, where he has invited the French/Swiss artist Felice Varini to exhibit his work.

From 2 July to 2 October his trompe l'oeil  visual illusion art will be starkly juxtaposed with Le Corbusier's architecture « It's the first time I'm showing my work on, in and with architecture designed by Le Corbusier. This place is a monument, the most influential Brutalist building of all time. It's a real microcosm, laid out like a small town with very different and complex volumes. A small town with a view over the great city of Marseilles. It's extremely exciting ! » With three red and yellow works he impresses visitors by the precision of his art in the perspective view of each piece.

The exhibition is supported by Longchamp, who is also a major sponsor of the site and the Maison Méditerranéenne des Métiers de la Mode (MMMM). We were able to ask a few questions to Sophie Delafontaine, the Creative Director of the French luxury leather goods company, who was also a member of the Jury for the  2016 Mediterranean Fashion Prize (MFP):

- What are the 3 principal values of the Maison Longchamp ?

Creativity - Skills and know-how – and being Demanding


- What is your philosophy relative to the enhancement and development of young labels through competitions like ANDAM [the French National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts], or the Mediterranean Fashion Prize (MFP)?

It is very important to me to be able to support young fashion designers. I am in admiration of all these talented people who are launching their careers. It seems to me that it is very important to maintain and develop the skills and know-how of French fashion and to encourage these designers and creators.


- Artists have been at the heart of the creativity of Longchamp since 2004, with Tracey Emin and Mary Katrantzou for example, what criteria do you use to choose such artists?

I work on instinct, but I have to like what I see. When I meet artists, I try and get inside their "world" and understand them. It's a sort of osmosis between two unconventional worlds, a way of matching an artist with the values of the Maison Longchamp. The artists push me towards creating something unique, developing new techniques, but always based on Longchamp's skills, know-how and expertise.


- Today the Maison Longchamp is a partner of the MAMO for the Felice Varini exhibition, what do you think about the MAMO and the new cultural sites here in Marseilles?

This place has an obvious aesthetic which has a link with the culture of the Maison: the continuity of a tradition of open-mindedness, excellence and innovation. The MAMO is a real laboratory of artistic discovery, open to the skies.

©André Morin