at the root of maxime dautresme’s story is passion—a family’s passion for creativity and travel. growing up, he was surrounded by asian antiquities and works of 20th-century masters. on his father’s side, a great-uncle, a tireless captain of overseas courier crossings, fascinated by the forgotten treasures of the middle kingdom. his uncle francis, a talented photographer, a renowned aesthete and precursor, was equally inspired by china, and in 1965 decided to revive the millennia-long asian savoir-faire by opening a concept store in paris displaying his 60 years of profound love for the poetry of asian daily life. his mother, the daughter of brazilian painter cicero dias and goddaughter of pablo picasso, lingered in his grandfather’s atelier, submerged by his prolific work and colourful character. this was a place that saw leger, matisse, picasso, miro, and calder come together in sleeplessness. maxime himself had an itinerant childhood in brazil, korea, japan, france, and the usa, which helped him develop a keen eye for beauty and culture. maxime creates contexts for imaginative ideas. the integrity and detail of his work reflect his professional journey: a technical grounding in architecture and a creative pedigree with agencies working on a diverse collection of accounts.
he has a deep understanding of the design process at every stage. his ability to communicate using visual language is uniquely engaging. he started his career joining the prestigious christian de portzamparc atelier of architecture in paris, and later spent several years in new york, miami, shanghai and hong kong with tbwa, ogilvy & mather and ddb. in 2011 he established the branding and design consultancy agency substance in hong kong, now with a presence in paris and stockholm. the stories he produces have a vibrancy and exoticism and encourage the consumer to participate. as part of the experience, he likes to leave appealing decorative clues and mementos, which hint at an intriguing tale. these visual triggers stimulate the imaginations of the people who see them, helping them engage in their own creative way, by filling in the gaps in the story. a love of research and historical style has given him a deep respect for the past. having lived in hong kong for almost a decade, he has contributed to the revival of its distinct culture by creating nostalgic and authentic pieces with contemporary flair.