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The Epicurean

Ugo Gattoni

Ugo Gattoni

Clos19 talks to Ugo Gattoni, the acclaimed Parisian-born art director and fine-line illustrator. Ugo Gattoni is known for his exquisitely detailed dream-like portraits. He has recently teamed up with Ruinart to create a surreal wonderland animation that explores the vineyards and estate of the champagne Maison. We discussed the inspiration for his animation for Ruinart as well as what the art of hosting means to him.

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HOW DO YOU DEFINE GOOD TASTE? 

I don’t think there is a single definition of good taste. Good taste depends on your point of view, as my taste isn’t the same as someone else’s. To me, personal taste is being content and comfortable in your surroundings, such as the ambiance in a room, the furniture, or the food in front of you. But, of course, there are some classics you shouldn’t tamper with, such as classic food and wine pairings.   

UGO, YOU CREATED A QUIRKY WONDERLAND ANIMATION FOR RUINART’S ANAMORPHOSIS INSTALLATION AND WEBSITE, AS WELL AS AN IMPRESSIVE FRESCO AT THE ESTATE. THROUGH IT WE GET TO EXPLORE THE VINEYARD, HOUSE AND CRAYÈRES (CELLARS) OF RUINART.  

HOW DID THIS COLLABORATION COME ABOUT? 

This collaboration is based on time, trust, and knowledge of the house spirit. Ruinart contacted me about three years ago, and ever since then have opened their doors into their world. They invited me to the estate and introduced me to the whole Ruinart family, from the cellar master to the people working in the production chain. Thanks to this full immersion, I was able to work closely together with the Ruinart team in developing ideas and proposing projects.  

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HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR IDEAS AND SOURCE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR SURREAL DREAM-LIKE RUINART ARTWORK? 

It’s just my surreal and oneiric take on the history of Ruinart. There are a lot of anecdotes and milestones in the history of the house since 1729. So I tapped into their rich history and translated it into my universe and vision.  
My work is drawn by hand. I consider it a time-intensive craft similar to the Ruinart process of making champagne.  We share the same values, as they also respect the value of time. 

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WHICH CHAMPAGNE IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE OF THE RUINART RANGE?  

I would say the Blanc de Blancs. I always bring it with me when I visit my parents, and it’s my mom’s favorite!  

IF YOUR ART WAS A DRINK, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE? 

A Dom Ruinart Jeroboam: huge as my murals, and full of details as the millions of bubbles. A work of art based on time. 

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WHAT DOES THE ART OF HOSTING MEAN TO YOU? 

Hosting is very important to me. It is exactly like art: when we leave we are not the same as when we arrived. It’s all about sharing and reuniting people around something communal such as a table, a good dish, or a piece of art.  It’s about generosity, tapping into all the senses, and ultimately making people happy.  

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF A GREAT EVENING? IS THERE A MAGICAL INGREDIENT? 

For me, it’s all about love. The love for food, drink, exchanges…  

WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD AND DRINK? 

My guilty pleasure is definitely cheese and wine any time of the day… I’m currently living in Mexico and miss it deeply. 

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL WAY OF ENJOYING FINE DINING WITH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE? 

Organizing a dinner party with my closest friends.  We love going to the market in the morning all together, then cooking the whole afternoon and drinking and laughing late into the night. 

WHAT DOES THE (YOUR) FUTURE TASTE LIKE? 

I love being surprised and don’t want to know what the future holds or even want to have a guess, but it may involve revisited traditions.