Introducing the Visionaries Behind FORMÆ: The Magazine Redefining Material Culture

In this article, we uncover the story behind the new French magazine FORMÆ, which has rapidly found its place in the cultural landscape. Founded by Sébastien Maschino and Eva Magnier, FORMÆ seeks to navigate and redefine the boundaries of creativity, focusing on the exploration of materials. The 200 pages in each edition present a forward-thinking and stimulating perspective on the possibilities within design and interior architecture, blending visual artistry with intellectual depth and technical precision. Engaging in conversation with the magazine’s co-editors-in-chief, we explore their innovative approach to publishing in the digital age and anticipate the future trajectory of FORMÆ.

Where do you live, and what are your backgrounds?

Sébastien: Co-founder of The Steidz, associate director of Archistorm, and editor-in-chief of FORMÆ, I specialize in decoding contemporary creation by taking a close interest in the emergence of new forms of creation and visual expression in the fields of architecture, design, craft, and contemporary art. I live in the Jourdain district of Paris and we have our space in the bustling Belleville district.

Eva:  I also live in Paris, near the Canal Saint-Martin. I originally studied economic intelligence and cultural project management. From an early age, I was immersed in culture and how it was a powerful means of expression. I think it’s particularly interesting to see how design and contemporary creation can bear witness to changes in society, culture, and the lifestyles of each generation. I’m now a partner in our company and deputy editor-in-chief of FORMÆ magazine.

How did you end up starting this magazine?

We set up the materials trade show “Les Rendez-vous de la matière + fair(e)” ten years ago. We’ve noticed that the uses and expectations of materials by creative architects and designers are changing. So we decided to create a magazine aimed at both professionals and those with an interest in the field.

Why do we need another magazine?

In the press landscape, no magazine looked at contemporary design through the prism of materials. So we came up with a highly aesthetic concept based on the codes of great decoration and design magazines but incorporating forward-looking and sometimes slightly technical content. Since its launch, the magazine has been a great success. Furthermore, we opted for a meticulous production process in keeping with the publishing codes, with a material effect on the cover.

Who is currently involved in running the magazine, and why are their roles important?

Nothing would be possible without our team, with whom we work very closely together, from editorial content to graphic design.

How do you navigate the curation and creative processes between you as editors? 

We discover many projects, materials, studios, designers, and architects during events in France and abroad, as well as keeping a close watch on certain websites and social networks.

We’ve been working together for several years, long before FORMÆ was founded. In fact, we know each other very well and have a very complementary approach.

How does a typical day at the office look for you?

Our days are often very different, but generally speaking, we concentrate our visits, meetings, and press events in the morning so that we can focus more on producing content in the afternoon.

Could you elaborate on the curatorial approach of your magazine? What do you find important to cover and what do you want to change?

It’s an approach to design through the prism of materials, from the scale of objects to the scale of architecture. We take a very contemporary view of our field and try to promote initiatives in this direction. For example, it’s interesting to look at craft skills that have been practiced for a very long time, but which have a very contemporary aesthetic. In the same way, we appreciate initiatives that deconstruct customs, habits, and practices and reveal the sometimes forgotten properties of certain materials.

What is your view on print issues vs. online?

We find that the two media are very complementary in their uses: a beautifully produced paper magazine becomes an object in its own right, which can be kept for longer and allows you to explore subjects in greater depth with more generous formats.

Of course, the digital side is just as important, with a community that’s more about immediacy and inspiration.

Eva Mangier, 
Deputy editor-in-chief of FORMÆ magazine

“I think it’s fascinating to see […] indicators of changes in our societies. Looking back, the pieces tell us a lot about the questions, aspirations, and lifestyles of a particular period. We are at the heart of the creation and gestures that mark our era.”

Eva Magnier,
Deputy editor-in-chief of FORMÆ magazine

What excites you most about visual arts and design? 

Sébastien: For me, the human encounters around creation are the most satisfying thing, to be an observer of a creation that is more and more committed, integrating liberating aesthetic codes that break free of codes from time to time. 

Eva: For my part, I think it’s fascinating to see on a larger scale how these are indicators of changes in our societies. Looking back, the pieces tell us a lot about the questions, aspirations, and lifestyles of a particular period. We are at the heart of the creation and gestures that mark our era.

Looking ahead, where do you see the magazine in 5 years?

In a publishing landscape that remains fragile, we are working to create a favorable environment for the development of FORMÆ, in particular with trade shows, special issues, and a gallery. We hope it will find a permanent place in the libraries of creative people!

From March 7 to 10, the FORMÆ team will present the “FORMÆ Capsule” at the Collectible Fair in Brussels – an installation questioning the links between innovation and sustainability. Imagined in collaboration with architect and designer Pauline Leprince the 200m2 exhibition will showcase around twenty designers with a material library at the heart of the space organized by material.curator, alongside two works by Studio GdB and Uchronia commissioned by Material Bank Europe.

The exhibitors for FORMÆ’s Collectible showcase include: @adlt_atelierdelatorre @atelier_fig_ @ateliermargotpoulin @atelierbarnaberichard @kiwitikfrance @polygoodfrance @bluecycle.official @cedric___etienne @cmi_design @procedes_chenel @_muaje_ @pauline_roy_gravures @rousseceramics @verrelinterieur @dorastanczel

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