The Boutique who Makes Adults Dream

Marin Montagut: the Boutique who Makes Adults Dream

"We need poetry and things that make us happy." Milano Home meets Marin Montagut, a Parisian "Pop Star" of the retail world who, among the particular and wonderful things he invents, there is also this: in the store, twice a month, he organizes a session with the fortune teller for his customers. And the tarot cards are designed and made by him, ça va sans dire



Have you ever wanted to travel in a time machine? French illustrator and designer Marin Montagut makes this possible with his enchanting creations. Montagut is a versatile artist, excelling in various fields including assistant decorating, city guide illustrating, TV programming, and videography. His remarkable success in retail and his captivating branding story are truly admirable. Marin Montagut's boutique transports visitors to Paris in the 1900s with its heartwarming designs and vibrant atmosphere, creating a fairy tale land.


We had the pleasure of interviewing Marin Montagut about his success story and his unique perspective on the retail industry and concept stores.



The boutique 


You are a very successful illustrator, designer, retailer, and TV presenter. You have also published books about travel and decoration. What is your formula of success?


In a single word: PASSION! It's what drives me to always want to create, discover, learn and share through my work. I've never wanted to lock myself into a single profession, because I love being able to express myself through different media - it's a way of constantly reinventing myself and telling stories through the creation of my objects, the writing of my books, my videos and more…


You say “I simply create the objects that are missing from my daily life." Could you explain this philosophy, providing examples of how it influences your creativity?


It's true that I don't design to satisfy desires and follow the fashion or collections. I don't want to impose constraints that would spoil my creations. I like to create the objects that are missing from my daily life, inspired by the objects of yesteryear that I find at the flea markets I visit. For example, I couldn't find palettes to my taste for mixing my watercolors, so I created a porcelain mold to bring my dream palette to life. It's the same for my Tarot deck, I'd been dreaming for years of creating the deck of my dreams inspired by the 18th century - after two years of patience and creation, I've brought mine to life :-) The same goes for my collection of silk scarves or my collection of hand-painted glassware! I find it's the best motor for creating.

How did you become a brand in retail and also a “a pop” star? I mean you are a very famous person in the retail world thanks to your ideas and creativity.


I never thought about it that way - that is, I never really wanted to become a brand. It happened little by little, after collaborating with other brands and creating collections for them. And then one day, 8 years ago, the Bon Marché Rive Gauche offered me a beautiful space to move my workshop and propose my first collections of objects. So, I recreated the atmosphere of my workshop, mixing my collection of antique objects with my very first collection. It was a great success, as I had to stay for 3 months and never left, even 8 years later :-)


Paris Je T'Aime 


When selecting products for your brand, what criteria do you follow, and how do you infuse them with your personal touch?


Most of the objects at 48 rue Madame and on our e-shop are designed by me and created in our Paris workshop. I also like to mix in a few vintage finds that I hunt for on weekends, to evoke the atmosphere of my home and workshop. And when I travel, I also like to bring back a few objects in my luggage in collaboration with local artisans. All this mix creates a wonderful world that I love to share.

Maintaining strong relationships with suppliers is crucial in retail. How do you approach and nurture these partnerships to ensure the quality and uniqueness of your products?


As I said, most of our objects are created in our Paris workshop. My dream was to be able to follow the creation process from A to Z, to understand and follow it step by step. Today, our workshop resembles a small Parisian factory, with my wonderful team with whom I share my passion for craftsmanship. As for the other craftsmen I work with, I like to maintain a direct link with them. Fortunately, today's technology means that I can work with them hand in hand, following their work very closely.


Pic Nic 


Your boutique has a captivating visual aesthetic. Could you tell us through the creative process behind curating such an exceptional space and its visual merchandising?


My dream was to open a Parisian shop like no other in Paris. The kind of store you'd find in 1900 Paris. I wanted visitors to be able to push open the door at 48 rue Madame and travel to a forgotten Paris. As soon as they enter, a little bell rings and the journey begins into my Merveilleux world. A sort of toy store for adults in a 1900s grocery store setting! I wanted people to come in wanting to buy a glass and leave with a scarf or an object of curiosity. And I also wanted the place to resemble my workshop, my home and the curiosity cabinets of the time. Today's world is hard enough, and we need poetry and happy things to remedy that.


On opening day, the best compliment I received was from a child who shouted “Mommy, look at this new candy store, it's so beautiful!”

Concept stores are increasingly popular. What is your approach to retail and the curation of concept spaces to engage customers and reflect your brand ethos?


My biggest challenge was to create a setting that gave the impression of having been there since the 1900s. I was lucky enough to find this extraordinary piece of furniture that I bought in the South of France - it belonged to a 1900 grocery store that was about to be demolished. Thanks to this piece of furniture, the atmosphere of these racks makes it possible to display like in the grocery stores of the time. And as I explained in my latest book, “Extraordinary Collections”, accumulation is the key to creating enchanting settings that will delight young and old alike. This accumulation of all my objects gives the impression of entering a wonderful world.


Your latest collection, 'Tarot,' has garnered significant attention. Could you share the inspiration and narrative behind this collection?


My grandmother, an artist, has been drawing cards for me since I was 5 years old. So, it was a dream to create my own Tarot deck. I've been working for the last two years to create this deck, creating card after card and bringing it to life. I think it's the longest and richest project in terms of illustrations brought together in a single object. I'm extremely proud of this project and its reception. Today, we organize cartomancy sessions at 48 rue Madame with a fortune-teller who comes to draw cards for customers twice a month.



Tarot cards