Ronan Bouroullec

JOB DESCRIPTION
This discipline is quite difficult to define under one name, since there are a lot of ways to practice. What we do is face the question of the object, in a very general sense. We just try to find the best ways—the most functional ways, the best aesthetic ways, the most economical ways, the best systemic ways—to work around objects. I am actually a bit disturbed when I see what people understand about design, and the closed parameters of certain types of objects, which I think is not at all what the nature of the question is. When you get out of your apartment, for instance, it is about the the quality of the door handles, the quality of the windows, the quality of the car, the quality of the street. It is all these things.

CURRENT PROJECTS
We are a very small studio, but we work on twenty projects at the same time, at different scales. We’ve been asked to do a chandelier at the entrance of Versailles. We are also working on a jewelry project. We have relationships with companies like Vitra, so there are always a lot of projects being prototyped and tested.

WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
I discovered that I wanted to be a designer when I was fifteen. I started to consider the question of the object, and I understood that it was my passion. It’s like getting on a train and finding out that it doesn’t stop.

FIRST STEP ON A PROJECT
Thinking. Thinking and talking.

LAST STEP ON A PROJECT
Very often at the end, the question of the name is always a nightmare. It’s very important to us, but we always leave it to the end. We also take a lot of care with the communication of our products.

HOW DO YOU BREAK A CREATIVE BLOCK?
The companies we work with are well aware of the fact that we are difficult with our process. We can come back after years of work and say that something is not good enough. We just start again. We are often blocked, but we start again and try to do it better. It’s a long process.

EDUCATION
I have never been a very good student. I was very bored at school. When I was fifteen, in the city nearby, they had just opened a school for applied art, photo, video, design, and graphics. It was like a rebirth for me.

LEARNED THE HARD WAY
Languages. I am able to speak English, but I suffer from not having a refined way of explaining things.

DREAM TEAM
I always work with the best designer in the world, which is my brother. We are very individualistic. I think it would be quicker to work alone, but we’re better together.

OFFICE CHAIR
I tend to test a lot of chairs when we are working on them, so I’ve got a chair that we’ve designed for Mattiazzi, a small Italian company. It’s a wooden chair called Osso.

OFFICE SOUND TRACK
No music in the office. We have a very, very calm studio, and I quite like it.

FAVORITE TCHOTCHKE
I’m not fetishistic about objects. I like them, but I like to keep a certain distance from them.

MOST USEFUL TOOLS
A pen. I think I could stop designing, but I think it would be impossible for me to stop drawing.

WORLD-SAVING MISSION
I will try to simplify it. We live in a sick world. I recently read something: A normal family in Europe, a hundred years ago, was surrounded by 200 objects, if you include everything from books to cutlery. A family today, if you exclude books, cutlery, and CDs, is surrounded by almost 2,500 objects.

SOMETHING OLD
I value a lot of old things. I appreciate old cars.

SOMETHING NEW
I am quite ashamed of this, but I quite like my iPhone. This object is marvelous; I am a bit obsessed by it.

GUILTY PLEASURE
I hate meetings, and when I have one it is for a good reason. Instead, in the morning, I like to go to the school with my daughter, and then stop for a coffee. The studio is just 15 minutes from my flat. I am claustrophobic, so I don’t take the subway, I walk.

UNDERRATED
Everything. I think simple things—like the quality of food, the quality of relationships—tend to be so bad.

OVERRATED
Branding.

DREAM JOB
I wish I could have been an architect. I understand objects very well, but not space, light, and all that. I miss that.

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