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A Tale of Two Brothers – Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
This week we take a closer look at the French design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
The brothers were born in the French town of Brittany in 1971 (Ronan) and 1976 (Erwan) and began designing together in the late 1990s. Since then, they have designed for an impressive list of manufacturers, including Kartell, Flos, Magis, Vitra and Nani Marquina among many others.
The brothers’ careers really began to take off in 1997 when they exhibited at Salon du Meuble in Paris with their Disintegrated Kitchen design – a flexible kitchen solution for modern homes. The brothers’ talent was spotted by Giulio Cappellini – owner of Italian design firm Cappellini – who swiftly gave the brothers their first industrial design projects.
After this initial breakthrough in product design, the brothers began experimenting with spatial design. Their first project came in the form of an exhibition space for Issey Miyake’s new collection of A-Poc clothes in Paris.
In 2002 the brothers met with the chairman of Vitra, Rolf Fehlbaum, and their careers really began to escalate. A flurry of designs for the iconic brand emerged in the ensuing years, including the Alcove Sofa, the Slow Chair, the Vegetal Chair and Corniches – all of which are now household names.
Their time working with Vitra really heightened the brothers’ profile and many collaborations came along after this. In 2004, the Bouroullec’s worked with Magis where they designed two complete furniture collections – the Striped and Steelwood collections – as well as a number of individual items.
In 2009 the brothers embarked on a creative project with Kvadrat called Clouds. Clouds was a modular system of small triangular textiles that lay somewhere between furniture, curtains and installation. Pushing the boundaries of modern design, this project again opened new doors for the brothers’ flourishing careers.
In 2011 the Bouroullec’s continued their experiments in textiles and designed the Losanges Rug for Nani Marquina – a hand crafted, hand spun and beautifully detailed woolen rug.
2011 also marked the brothers’ presentation of the Flos Piani Lamps at Euroluce in Milan. Again, these instantly became classic designs and have since been produced in a plethora of finishes and sizes.
Most recently, the brothers have been working with Danish manufacturers Hay on the Copenhague furniture collection. Designed for the University of Copenhagen, the Copenhague collection features a series of practical items that have been designed to have a domestic feel, whilst still being able to be produced for the contract market. The collection includes a chair, stool, table and desk which all come in a selection of colours and finishes.
The varied and creative work of the design duo has really struck a chord with the design community and we can’t wait to see what’s next!