RONAN & ERWAN BOUROULLEC
“(b. 1971 and 1976) are a design team formed by brothers from Brittany. In 2007 the firm’s “North Tiles” design for Kvadrat in Denmark won the D – Design Forum AID Award and has been included in Cappellini’s design collection. Their work has included a tree-house bedroom and a “table sprouting a bowl molded from a single piece of heat-welded Corian”. The designs have been described as representing poetic practicality.”We don’t want to make only functional pieces,” Erwan Bouroullec noted.
The Bouroullecs work in Paris for clients including Cappellini, Ligne Roset, Habitat, Domeau & Peres, Authentics, EandW, Magis, Vitra and Gallery Kreo. They received the grand prix du jury international at the Paris Furniture Fair in 1998 e de la ville de paris, the best new designer award in New York in 1999, a Compasso D’oro nomination in 2001 in Milan, and designed the interior for Issey Miyake’s APOC shop in Paris.”
THE VEGETABLE CHAIR
” The initial intuition was that of a chair which would sprout up like a plant. A vegetal chair, its branches gently curving to form the seat and back. It comes from this fascination we have for various types of old furniture, which is plant-inspired. Garden chairs of English origin, structured in boughs of cast iron, for example; various items formed using real branches; or even those armchairs designed in the United States during the first half of the last
century, using bushes whose growth had been restricted until they took on the form of a chair. Objects which, in short, take us back to a time when forms were perhaps a little bulkier, less sleek or smooth than nowadays. There was therefore, from the outset, a desire to create an original structure, based on a complex and narrative form of construction. Coupled with an inclination for highly advanced techniques, such as plastic injection moulding, which opens the way to mass distribution.
The great ambiguity of this project was to make the very sophisticated technique demanded by plastic injection moulding cohabit with a necessary poetry that can only be obtained through the sensitivity of drawing by hand. As well as the two- and three-dimensional design drawings, throughout the duration of the work process, models have enabled the changes made to be visualized spatially. This part of the work was, on the one hand, carried out on very precise models, manufactured by Vitra, and, on the other, on items modelled by us, more sensitively. During the past year, when the process was speeding up, we were designing directly on to the models provided by Vitra, in order to perfect the position of each branch and the accuracy of its curve.
Vegetal could not have existed without the technical sophistication of modern software, in the same way that it could not have moved on from the finesse intrinsic to the stages of design drawing by hand. It is the close association of these two processes that has been so special. The complexity of its form, which must be uniform as a tree or a flower would be, has continuously forced us to rethink the whole thing in respect of each detail: one might say, this chair has been redesigned a thousand times.”
Interview with Constance Rubini, January 2009.