Ciguë is the group of young architects behind the Isabel Marant stores, Alain Ducasse's Manufacture de Chocolat and Champeaux Brasserie in the Halles, in Paris. The group's vision is expressed through their use of raw and noble materials. Blending a background in carpentry and a love of everything 'homemade', its members' skills are close to those of chefs and cellar masters. Creating the most sincere atmosphere for foodies and aesthetes to enjoy appears to be their leitmotif. They seemed natural candidates, therefore, for our Hedonist Questionnaire. Hugo Haas, Ciguë spokesman, answered our questions with candour and simplicity.
How do you define good taste?
I would prefer not to! Everyone has their own taste. Diversity is the key. OK, you can feel aligned or opposed to someone's personal aesthetic considerations, if it matters. But we need to respect different views on things. I hope we all experience doubt sometimes, and changes of perspective. What counts probably is the coherence of the propositions. And to have an opinion. I'm interested in any taste as long as it has a strong harmonious vibe, a relevant position, something real to say. You know, when things just make sense. And I would definitely put aside "good" and "bad" as adjectives for all aesthetic matters (along with "god" and "evil").
What does the (your?) future taste like?
Trying to get rid of unnecessary things as much as possible. Minimal, functional, striped down. Yet warmer than ever. Hints of discreet technology. Lots of nature. Homespun home. Homemade objects. Well-thought consumption, self-sufficiency. Long-lasting "things" that you can invest yourself in, that you can keep for 20 years or a lifetime. And fresh water.
If your design or style was a drink, what would it be?
I can't choose one. Every project is a different recipe. Custom-made. And style is not something we really control. It just emerges along the road.
What does the art of hosting mean to you?
Bringing a group all together, making everyone feel welcome. Knowing how to open your personal universe and share the best of it. Offering moments together in common territories. When things are simple and obvious. When people get along. When you can't stop and even silence is appreciated.
What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to food and drinks?
Negroni, yakitori, Saint-Nectaire cheese. And to be clear, not at the same time.
What is your ideal situation for enjoying fine dining with the people you love?
I guess the dinners we have at home are the nicest ones. My wife being a Japanese chef, it makes those dinners my preferred food experiences with the people I care most about. You can't beat homemade. In our present situation, we gather all our favourites (people, food, atmosphere) in a place made for us, it can only be enjoyable.
When entertaining at home, what is your secret weapon?
Like everything in life: love. No, really, I don’t want to sound cheesy but I guess it’s just what you’re ready to give. And how you do it. An attention to every aspect, every detail and creating a global atmosphere that works. When everything is balanced the right way because you’re sharing all you have.