Founded in December 2015 by designer Mathias, the Matières Libres Association aims to help graduates of the applied arts and crafts, as well as those who are self-taught, to overcome the challenges of transitioning to a professional life.

During this time, young individuals encounter numerous financial, legal, and administrative challenges, often delaying the blossoming of their talent and creativity by several years.

Each April, an annual competition is launched by the MATIERES LIBRES Association through various media channels, social networks, and prominently displayed in schools. It welcomes all young creatives under thirty years old, whether they are graduates of applied arts schools, currently undergoing training, or self-taught.

The members of the Association conduct a pre-selection from all the submitted projects. A jury, composed of personalities from the applied arts, design, interior decoration industry, as well as journalists and business leaders, then convenes to select the three most accomplished projects showcasing the bold use of materials.

The Mathias Prize is awarded to three young individuals in recognition of their originality, craftsmanship, and creative freedom. 

“The creativity of the young will be the driving force of tomorrow.”

The first prize is endowed with a sum of 5,000 euros. It is awarded annually during a ceremony in Paris in November. The second and third prizes are awarded according to the financial endowment of the Association and the generosity of sponsors; they are generally awarded 1,500 euros.

Since 2023, Maison Baccarat has been awarding the “Alchemy of Joy” prize, consisting of a one-month artist residency at the brand’s Manufacture facility in the Lorraine region of France.

Beyond the award ceremony, the MATIERES LIBRES Association promotes the work of the winners through exhibitions at professional trade shows, articles in the press, and communication on social networks, etc.

The MATIERES LIBRES Association also invests in recognizing the talents of the winners by connecting them with individuals who can offer them assistance: business leaders, journalists, specialists in artisanal crafts, legal experts, etc. Additionally, the Association assists them in their initial commissions and provides guidance in their professional development.

“The transmission of expertise lies at the heart of Mathias’s priorities and the members of the Matières Libres Association; it will become a collective endeavor with your support.”

Association members

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Chairman, Association Matières Libres
Françoise Ayxendri
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Artistic Director, Art de vivre
Laurent Bailly
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Director, Lycée des Métiers de la Mode
Alexandra Bennaim
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Founder & President, APR Agency
Sophie Chenel
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President and CEO Procédés Chenel International
Sophie Cotelle-Vigroux
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Director, Baccarat Collections
Luc Deflandre
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Decorator Landscape Designer
Boris Gentine
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Creative Director, Agence Saguez Partners
Catherine de Gourcuff
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Virginie Parisot
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Deputy Managing Director Strategy, Agence Saguez Partners
Denis Pettiaux
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Chief Financial Officer, SPDG
Laure Verchère
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Author and Associate Director, APR Agency