Mourad Mazouz is a genuine and fascinating self-taught entrepreneur who cuts an emblematic figure on the Paris and London gastronomic scenes. He left his native Algeria at 15 to go to Europe, America then Asia to earn his stripes in the restaurant industry. He was only 26 when he opened his first bistro in Paris, ‘le Bascou’, which he then sold on in order to open ‘404’, offering traditional north African cuisine in the heart of the Marais; but it is undoubtedly in London that he has truly made his mark. ‘Momo’, the couscous restaurant he launched in 1997, went on to become an institution. He then caused great excitement when, in association with Pierre Gagnaire, he set up ‘Sketch’, a 2500 square metre space comprising a restaurant, a brasserie, a patisserie and an art gallery. In November 2008, he launched a new establishment in Paris called ‘Derrière’, designed to look like an apartment. Constantly sought after and never short of projects, he thankfully hasn’t lost his artisan spirit along the way and has created almond paste bracelets inspired by Berber adornment for ICONOfly.
I grew up with Berber bracelets, the real ones that were handed down from generation to generation. It’s also the first present I ever gave to a girl. It was important for me, but I expect, horrible for her. Then, during a journey to Istanbul, I gave my wife Caroline an Arab and Jewish traditional bracelet made of seven rings of gold.
If I had to wear only one kind it would be a wrestler’s bracelet, I’ve always found them very beautiful. I wore one when I was 20. The bracelets have a very particular meaning; some of my friends proudly wear up to fifty of them on one arm. They are travelling bracelets; each one corresponds to a destination.
An accessory is an accessory. I don’t see how the bracelet can ever disappear. It’s an accessory that is part of life and culture.