Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Age: 42 (Guillaume) and 37 (Florent).
Studio location: Paris.
Describe what you make: We design lighting, furniture, and objects born of experimentation with ancestral materials and know-how.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: Probably the Kitayama collection. It’s a furniture collection we started designing after a trip to Japan. We had the chance to visit a forest in the North of Kyoto, home to a tree species that exists nowhere else: Kitayama cedar. Sloping the mountains, Kitayamas shoot straight upwards. As they grow for 20 to 30 years, the workshop prunes all their branches to produce a knot-free trunk. The real treasure, however, lies hidden beneath its bark: its naturally bumpy texture, carved by nature. It’s even more important for us as the traditional use for this wood—pillars for tea houses—is decreasing, which threatens the forest’s survival.
Describe the problem your work solves: How to combine contemporary techniques such as precision machining and handmade components in the same objects.
Describe the project you are working on now: Many things at the same time with different time frames: sofas, a chair made of cast aluminum, and a collection of furniture and lighting made in Japan. This latter project, using a typical Japanese technique called urushi lacquer, is a real challenge but also seems to have almost unlimited possibilities. It’s very exciting for us.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: Renovating an 18th-century barn and horse stable near the Fontainebleau Forest to set up our new workshop. We’re working with local craftsmen using traditional techniques to preserve the place’s spirit. We’ll have our sculpture studio to create the models and prototypes, along with the finishing and assembling of all the pieces we have craftsmen such as foundries, cabinet makers or glass workshops make. We’ll also have our wood and photo studios. It’ll be ready next year around spring.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: In the workshop, it’s quiet most of the time so we can listen to music. This plus coffee and a team with a positive mindset is the perfect fuel to keep on going!
What you do when you’re not working: Making stuff in the workshop for my home like frames, benches, and small mock-ups. And of course spend time with family and friends (Guillaume). Gardening and hiking in the forest (Florent).
Sources of creative envy: We get inspiration from several sources, mostly from architects such as Louis Khan, Kengo Kuma, or Pierre Chareau, and artists such as Josephsohn or Roni Horn. Traveling is also a major source of inspiration, especially in Japan where you have amazing details on every corner.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Emails! It’s a necessary evil, of course.
Concrete or marble? Concrete.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.
Dark or light? Light.