Breaking the Mold

“If I hadn’t been a designer, I would’ve been a scientist,” says Arik Levy, a Paris-based industrial designer who in recent years has captured the attention of companies like Vitra, Ligne Roset, L’Oréal, and Renault. “I work like a researcher in a lab, searching for the genetic codes of materials or companies. Once I’ve decoded them, I inject my own gene in different places.” He believes that changing this “genetic code” essentially creates a new material. “I try to use materials in places they’re not normally used to give them another kind of life.”

Even though he has amassed a huge materials library over the past 15 years, Levy isn’t necessarily interested in the latest. “It’s not really about the material you use, but the way you use it,” he says, citing materials that have been around for decades, such as honeycomb and electroluminescent film, with which he has developed innovative products. “If you use a material in new ways, you’re creating a new molecule for the industry, the public, and yourself.” Metropolis asked Levy to describe the process behind his latest products.

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