Brothers Ronan Bouroullec (born 1971) and Erwan Bouroullec (born 1976) from Brittany have been working together for some ten years. Their collaboration is a permanent dialogue nourished by their differing personalities and shared perfectionism.
In 1997 they presented their “Disintegrated Kitchen” at the Salon du Meuble in Paris and were spotted by Giulio Cappellini, who gave them their first industrial design projects, notably the Lit clos (Closed Bed) and Spring Chair. In 2000, Issey Miyake asked them to design a space for his new collection of A-Poc clothes in Paris. Then came the decisive meeting with Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of Vitra, which resulted in their conception of a new kind of office system, Joyn, in 2002. This was the beginning of a special partnership which has borne fruit in numerous projects, including Algue in 2004, the Alcove Sofa in 2006, the Worknest also in 2006, the Slow Chair in 2007 and the Vegetal Chair in 2008. Since 2004, the Bouroullecs have also been working with Magis, for whom they have designed two complete furniture collections, Striped and Steelwood. Finally, they have worked on several types of textile wall systems, such as the North Tiles, in close collaboration with the Kvadrat brand, for whom they designed a new Stockholm showroom in 2006.
Today, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec design for numerous manufacturers, notably Vitra, Kvadrat, Magis, Kartell, Ligne Roset, Issey Miyake and Cappellini. At the same time, they maintain an experimental activity which is essential to the development of their work at Galerie Kreo, Paris, where four exhibitions of their designs have been held between 2001 and 2008. They also undertake the occasional architectural project, such as the Maison flottante (Floating House) in 2006.
Voted Designers of the Year at the Salon du Meuble in 2002, their other awards include the Grand Prix du Design de la Ville de Paris (1998), the New Designer Award at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (New York, 1999) and the Finn-Juhl Prize (Copenhagen, 2008). Their Facett collection (manufacturer: Ligne Roset) and their Worknest office both won the “Best of the Best” Red Dot Design Award, respectively in 2005 and 2008.
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec explain:
“Algues is a project where the idea is to approach architecture from the millimetre, or what the repetition of the same motive brings to a larger scale. A click, a peg, all done by hand. We used the most advanced technology. Like a weave, a plant, a cloud, the surfaces created by the Algues forms an ensemble which can be taken in one look but which intrigues by its complexity. The main issues with the Algues is firstly the way in which the pieces are put together and then their relationship to the space they are to occupy. Finally there is an underlying organic logic to the design of the Algues.
In terms of space, the aim is repetition, adding a leaf to a leaf, a branch to a branch with no rules of juxtaposition. Then like a plant, mixing colors, moving in different directions, bending if the wall prevents growth, thickening if the light is too strong.”