Now! Designers of the Year


“This distinction is incongruous as we always believe that we could have done things better… prizes are quite a healthy form of pressure; they force us to do better each time and always”.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, 2011 now! design à vivre designers, show how this pressure can encourage even more precision. Designed to meet present-day needs but to resist the assault of time and fashion, their objects are sustainable by definition and consequently need to be precise. Their designs themselves are part of a long-term industrial process where design, in their opinion, owns the top spot. The importance of draftsmanship seems incongruous in these days of 3D technology. Yet it is natural for Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

Slow Chair for Vitra

Ronan born in 1971 and Erwan born in 1976, have worked together for over 10 years. Their partnership is a permanent dialogue, nourished by their differences and guided by their need for precision and delicacy.

At the Salon du Meuble in 1997, they were noticed by Giulio Cappellini who assigned them with their first industrial design projects. In 2000, Issey Miyake asked them to design a space presenting his new Apoc clothes collection in Paris. Then came the decisive meeting with Rolf Fehlbaum, president of Vitra, which led to the design of a new typology of office systems called Joyn in 2002. They have worked with Magis to design two complete furniture collections: Striped and Steelwood.

Steelwood Chair for Magis

Finally, the textile walls  North Times and  Clouds designed through a  partnership with Kvadrat.

 In 2010 they presented two separate collections for two new editors: a tableware collection, called Ovale, for Alessi and a bathroom collection for Axor.

Alessi Oval Collection 2010


UPDATE: Being introduced at M&O  next week in the  Nanimarquina booth is ‘losanges’ , a new rug collection designed by the  Bouroullec brothers.

Intrigued by traditional persian rugs and the ‘kilim savoir-fair’ which the designers consider to be a delicate mix of rusticity and fineness, the ‘losanges’ project is carried out by craftsmen in northern Pakistan who weave the rug’s thirteen colors into a geometrical rhombus shape. ‘losanges’ is crafted by hand, and the afghan wool used to craft it is hand spun, allowing for particular color tones to be highlighted,making each one a unique piece. Can’t wait to see it in person.

 For those of you interested in the process; see below.

Full scale sketch by Bouroullec brothers


Traditional weaving process by Pakistani craftsmen

Photos Courtesy of Maison et Objet.

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1 comment… add one
  • Vickie Ayres 30 January, 2011, 8:26 pm

    The last picture took me back to a job I had once as a weaver, yes a hand weaver on a manual loom. The company I worked for created woven wood blinds, with custom stained reeds and threads. I didn’t last long…..

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