Quick, name your favorite Bouroullec brothers design. Is it Algues, the root-shaped modules that link together to form a transparent curtain? Or Aim, the ceiling pendant often hung in groups so its tangle of cables recalls climbing plants? Perhaps you’ll choose Cloud, the perforated partition that can be connected via a retracting joint into a beehive structure. Whatever it is, the common thread running through all of the French siblings’ work is adaptability: Every product is activated by the end user and the spaces it inhabits.
The theme reaches back to the siblings’ first big break, in 1997, when Ronan Bouroullec presented his Disintegrated Kitchen—a system that users could customize by adding drawers, worktops, shelves, and hooks onto a basic frame that could be disassembled when they move—at the Paris Furniture Fair. It was spotted by Giulio Cappellini, who gave Ronan and his younger brother, Erwan, who joined him in 1999, their first industrial design projects. To make their elegantly clever pieces, now produced by the most influential brands in the field, the pair uses high-tech manufacturing ideas to reimagine furniture archetypes, resulting in timeless, pared-down objects that transcend their function and enter into the realm of the extraordinary.
Case in point: the Lighthouse table lamp. Designed for Established and Sons with Venetian glass maker Vinini, the fixture consists of a stone base with a bent aluminum arm that balances a removable mouth-blown orb, informed by the shape of a lighthouse lens, on its tip. It debuted during Milan Design Week in 2010, and Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs later added it to its permanent collection.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the Bouroullec’s collaboration with Established and Sons, the British brand released two new variations of the lamp last November in a run of 50. The design remains the same, save for the stem, now formed by one of two hard-to-obtain types of marble—Rouge du Roi, quarried in France and used extensively in Versailles’s Royal Chateau, and Dark Emperador, a Spanish stone marked by its dark brown hue and green-and-cream veins. Surrounded by its transparent colored top, the lamp doubles as sculpture—a multipurpose piece that’s quintessentially Bouroullec.