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Publication Date: 2015-01-20


Proust on Design: Mary Bergtold-Mulcahy

Founder of famed textile company Les Indiennes, Mary Bergtold-Mulcahy, answers the probing Proust on Design questionnaire.


What is your idea of perfect design happiness?

When I finally finish photographing my latest collection.

What is your greatest fear in design?

Actually, I am fearless.

Which historical design figure do you most identify with?

Elsie de Wolf. "I believe in plenty of optimism and white paint."

Which living designer do you most admire?

Ines Boesch of Zurich, Switzerland.

What profession, other than design, would you like to attempt?

I would love to work in film as a set designer.

What is your greatest design extravagance?


When and where were you happiest with your design?

Working in india designing with my partner, Pitchuka Srinivas and the blockmaker, Gangadhar.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in design?

The opportunity to provide jobs to over 50 artisans in in the small village of Pedana, India.

If you died and came back as another designer or design object, who or what do you think it would be?

A blank sheet of paper.

What specific design related talent are you lacking that you would you most like to have?

The ability to draw.

What is your most treasured design related possession?

A simple white wood piet hein eek chair.

What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery in design?

Mauve and teal.

What curse word do you most frequently use?

The f-word, unfortunately.

What is your favorite design related word?


What is your least favorite design related word?


What turns you on in design?

A challenge or an idea that pops in my head out of nowhere.

What turns you off in design?


What is your motto in design?

Imperfection is the essence of beauty.

Images provided by Mary Bergtold-Mulcahy of Les Indiennes.

ABOUT PROUST ON DESIGN // Answered by our design icons, these must-ask questions come from a 19th century parlor game made popular by Marcel Proust, the French novelist, essayist & critic. Proust believed the direct questions and honest responses that they elicited revealed the true nature of the individual. For this column, we have put a design related spin on the traditional questions. While this method has been used by many journalists throughout the years, we were primarily inspired by The Proust Questionnaire, which appears monthly on the back page of one of our all time favorite magazines, Vanity Fair (also Krista’s alma mater). Read all of the previous Proust on Design questionnaires here.


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