Meeting with Mathisse Dalstein, designer & winner of the Emmaus Trophées du Réemploi Awards

Two years ago, the young designer Mathisse Dalstein launched the Emmaus UP workshop in Norges-la-Ville, near Dijon. An initiative rewarded on 14 November 2019 by the jury of the Emmaus Trophées du Réemploi Awards, with a prize for her coffee table. A look back at her career and her collaboration with the members of Emmaus.
Mathisse Dalstein et les compagnons Emmaüs

As a designer, do you now try to give special meaning to your profession?

Mathisse Dalstein : I always wanted tried to create unique pieces that had meaning. At the start of my career, I worked in Tahiti as an independent designer. I had to familiarise myself with a new culture and the local materials which were often recycled. On my return to mainland France, I wanted to continue working with this type of material and promote it by playing with matter, colour, history, etc. I like creating surprising pieces that make you forget the notion that the elements have been recycled.

Why did you decide to start a collaboration with Emmaus and put together the Emmaus UP project?

M. D. : I started working on recycled materials during my project for the end of my studies. I contacted the Emmaus community which opened its doors to me and allowed me to collect material directly on site. Seeing the members’ interest in my project very quickly made me want to develop a creation phase with them. Therefore, I launched Emmaus UP two years ago on my return from Tahiti, Today, the adventure continues!


Can you tell us the story of this coffee table?

M. D. : When I intervened the first time here, I had to lead 12 sessions over 3 months. The members enjoyed them so much they persuaded the administration to continue the Emmaus UP workshop. Therefore, we designed this coffee table, which is a version of a piece we had created at the very start. The member who created it studied the wood varieties, the materials, and decided whether or not to preserve the distinctive signs of the recycled elements. It is thanks to this work that we arrived at this result.

How was the creation process organised with the members?

M. D. : Since working with wood can take time, I try to avoid frustration by teaching the members new things every session: selecting recycled materials, detecting varieties, using machines, etc. The work is done together on the common phases then they work on their own to develop the project according to their own artistic desires.

What are your impressions of this experience?

M. D. : Great pride in the success of this project. Beyond the contest, it is stimulating to see on a daily basis the pleasure that this workshop brings. The members blossom and develop new skills. And I have some very positive feedback from our customers about the sale of our objects. Therefore, winning this award is a recognition and an encouragement to continue what we do.

Mathisse Dalstein lors de la remise de son trophée