Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
RB: Very young, at 15 years old. It seems to me that I entered in a train and since then it keeps moving forward.
EB: When I was young I got fascinated by indie music coming from England and the US. Something that I recognize after time is that all those bands were doing things by their own. Also they would often design by themselves the sleeves, the graphics around their work, also they made their own videos. They were doing things when they needed them, no matter of their skills, just permanently doing and learning at the same time. Also one of their motto was independence and at the same time they were producing music for everyone, everywhere. I think at that time I desired to become an artist, a creative person, that would do things become they need to exist, but with a low key profile.
What is artificial light for you?
RB: It’s what creates the ambience after dark, it’s of major importance.
EB: The same as natural light, because you can say whatever about the difference between the two, but lights are moments, atmospheres. In general I am more interested in contrasted atmosphere, for natural source I prefer to be under the sunshade of a tree than direct sun, for artificial I prefer many soft sources than a single uniform. But light is when you need it, and with the manner you need it, so it is about looking for the right place, right time.
Why do you like working with Flos?
RB: Flos is the best company for lighting.
EB: Simple, but difficult to find the right words. I recognize in Piero a passion for something intangible that needs to settle into something real. He is often describing the quality of the light rays themselves, what happens on the world when it is lighten. On the other hand Flos is also a great industrial company. So there is a marvellous balance between a passion for a material which has a lot of influence on everyday sensations, and the sturdiness of the studies and the making of things.
What is the next object you’d like to design?
RB: I have no answer to this question.
EB: There are many, but for what concerns technology, I would be happy to work into robotics. I am fascinated by this really old story of making automats that is now turning into the world of Artificial Intelligence… I recently started to learn computer programming to experiment a little.
Is there a great designer, artist or musician you regard as a point of reference for your work?
RB: Jacques Tati, Alvar Aalto…
EB: Frank Stella has always been a reference to me, but I am also interested in conceptual and minimal art, or Arte Povera. Judd, Smithson, Lawrence Weiner, were artists that influenced me a lot when I was younger, but also Merz, Kounellis. Recently I got to look more closely to Sol Lewitt. I like art when there is a kind of strong decision, a statement that changes the paradigm of the world. Then for design, Jasper Morrison is the key figure of what happens nowadays : he’s the mastermind of the contemporary approach behind products. And as Flos is Italian, I remind of Caos Calmo (book by Veronesi, film with Moretti as actor, director Antonello Grimaldi). Book and movie were a shock to me.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
RB: Erik Satie sometimes, or no music at all.
EB: I do not listen to music when I work. Somehow, work is too much for me, I can’t really listen at something… But what I love the more is listening to scientific radio show. I love to hear about astronomy or history, computer science or biology. Music is less interesting for me now, I keep on listening old records, but now I love people’s voice and narration.
Do people ever mix you up (Ronan for Erwan, or vice versa)?
EB: Yes they do…