Marianne Guély is a sculptor. But her material of choice is not marble, bronze, or steel—it’s paper. So how does she describe what she does? “I transfer ideas and dreams into reality using paper,” she says. “I make dreams every day.”
Guély has been passionate about paper since she was a child, when she would “fold paper into airplanes to see if they could fly.” Fascinated and inspired by the work of Matisse she found in books, she began to imagine different projects. As an art student in Paris she specialized in paper, and marrying two loves—paper and meeting people—determined her career. A studio grew organically as her projects became more ambitious and she launched her eponymous brand in 2005.
“Paper is beautiful, it’s natural, and you can do so much with it,” she says. “People don’t imagine it except in a book. It is so important for me to be with paper. I am an addict!”
Guély’s addiction has transformed her stellar clients’ wishes into haute couture fantasies—among them window displays for Cartier and Longchamp as well as Dior’s J’adore, with “a spray of golden petals, like golden rain.” Her recent CV also includes table decor for Clos19, the French hosting e-tailer and La Dame de Pic restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, where her delicately ornamental peony triptychs, diptychs, and chandelier hang.
Commissions begin at her showroom close to Place Vendôme in Paris. “I love meeting clients here,” she says. “It is a unique, artistic place where they can discover my universe. Here we interpret their wishes.”
Paper is beautiful, it’s natural, and you can do so much with it
Each commission, always with her book as a starting point, is “a passionate exchange,” she says. Guély and her “dynamic” team—from five to 10 depending on the project—then work together to turn initial sketches into 3D mock-ups and the final concept. “We cut the paper using various techniques, fold it, and finally assemble it,” she says.
With Guély’s global acclaim growing, what does the future hold? “My aim is constantly to innovate and surprise my clients,” she explains. “It is important to move forward, to explore new techniques to mix other materials with paper. I love to travel to discover, to find paper imbued with light to make a chandelier or other creations. We are always moving on…”
There are, it seems, no limits to Guély’s dreams. From the smallest intricate decoration to mass opulence, she is on a path to help others realize theirs.