For Arthur Karakoumouchian, cars are a lot more than just a way to get from A to B. His company, L’art de l’automobile, simply is a lifestyle brand. Not only does he sell and collect some of the most beautiful machines in the world, he also celebrates the lifestyle that surrounds the world of the automobile. Last month he teamed up with Motul for an exclusive exhibition called ‘Out of Gasoline’.
What is the concept behind “Out of Gasoline”?
It’s an ode to the Parisian designer Jean Prouvé. Many people know and love Prouvé’s work, but they don’t know that in the 1950s he designed a lots of gas stations and car dealerships. So, we really wanted to bring back that ambience of that era. We hosted the event during Paris Fashion Week because we wanted people to understand that there’s so much more to cars than just four wheels and a steering wheel. Because it was a pop-up exhibition, we didn’t sell any gasoline there - hence the name “Out of Gasoline”. We did have a wide collection of other products on offer which you would usually find at fuel stations.
Your brand, L’art de l’automobile, is about much more than just selling cars? What is it about?
Yes, absolutely. I sell cars because that’s what I know and what I’ve always done, but more importantly it’s a lifestyle brand. We want to tell the world about the story of cars in our own unique way. We might sell T-shirts with prints and images that we find on the internet. That might work, because there’s a lot of interesting stuff on the internet, but it would have to be something that we stand for. I want everything we design to be authentic and fully aligned with our brand.
What is your background? How did you start finding and selling these exclusive cars?
I’ve come a long way. I started out as a mechanic for Porsche. I did that for five years, and after that I started selling cars in a dealership. In 2012 I decided to start my own business and now here we are.
You must have had some great experiences with so many cars. Do you have a favourite car?
Yes. I have a Volkswagen first generation Golf GTI. That’s my all-time favourite.
Where do you want to take L’art de l’automobile next?
We’re on the right track, that’s for sure. I want to design a bigger collection. Make new T-shirts. Do more exhibitions. Really get out there.