Although they remain largely oblivious to the press about them – they’ve never had a press kit and don’t have business cards – the french brothers are said to be heirs to the design throne of Philippe Starck. They’ve already garnered many awards and design for lines like Cappellini, Magis and Vitra, as well as for brands like Issey Miyake. Born in Brittany, Ronan, the elder, left for Paris to study design, and once he set up a studio, Erwan came to work and help his brother with the technology aspect of designing. After a few years of signing designs independently, they realised it would be more productive to work together.
Cloud shelving system from Cappellini
Kvadrat showroom in Copenhagen, with Steelwood chairs and Kvadrat Clouds
Working together seems to work well for the two, who have a studio in St. Denis, a suburb north of Paris; at any one time they have about twenty projects on the go. Their designs tend to focus on the user, so that the products adapts to the customer, and not the other way around. This is true of the Cloud shelving system which can be stacked ad infinitum, and the Algues, pieces of plastic stems that can be linked together endlessly to create large screens, and still again with Joyn, their office system developped for Vitra. Joyn starts with a basic long white table with optional storage, lighting and screening elements.
Their newest piece from the Bouroullecs that we have in store is the Vegetal chair, a piece from Vitra. Based on a 19th century American practice of trimming shrubs into chairs, the brothers wanted to design a “grown-chair”. It took many permutations and four years of development to finally release the chair, which weighs in at on 5.5kg, and is UV resistant, so it’s perfect for indoor and outdoor. There is a lovely little video that Vitra made to show the mutations of the Vegetal chair. See it here.
Papyrus chair and Paniers coffee table, both from Kartell
We have many of the Bouroullec’s designs in store, so feel free to come in and see!
Top portrait of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec by Nicole Bachmann for Vitra.