At home with Céramique
Photography by Angèle Châtenet
Flos’ debut in ceramics, Ronan Bouroullec’s Ceramique is a trio of sculptural lights that merge the French designer’s sensible approach to volumes and silhouettes with the company’s push towards innovation.
We visit him at home, in Paris, to see Céramique in this intimate space and delve into his passion for this material and its evocative potential.
Testifying the novelty of its material from its name, Ceramique is an entirely handcrafted collection made of a leadfree crystalline lacquered finish. The collection’s colours, Moss Green, Navy Blue and Rust Red, enhance the smooth surfaces, reflecting the material’s richness. The design’s starting point is the essential composition of a lamp: base, stem and a cap, declined in three table lamps, bearing the same design with subtly different orientations, and each featuring a configuration gently suggesting a specific illumination. While a down version is an ideal reading and table lamp, the lamp featuring a side orientation is imagined to illuminate a corner, and the uplighter creates an ideal ambient lighting.
“Ceramics are about desire, sensuality. I think that my work is increasingly moving in this direction; producing objects that are functional, certainly, but looking for a kind of elegance, of pleasure”
The design of Céramique is reminiscent of what we would consider a traditional table lamp, but then it also has an entirely different character, which is partly a result of it being made in this material. Can you tell me how you arrived at this at this shape?
RB: It was a very long process, I think I designed 50 lamps before I arrived at this one (laughs). The starting point is both technical and poetic. I wanted the final design to express a poetic language, but what I wanted to achieve simplicity, a lamp made of just one piece of ceramic. I went through several solutions, some that were intelligent technically or intelligent in terms of geometry but maybe not intelligent in terms of light. The starting point for the final design was the first shape I felt happy with: a vertical piece of ceramic that looked like a beautiful vase. And just looking at it, using it in my apartment, understanding what light it would produce, I thought it could be interesting for the light to have different directions. So as the design progressed, I realised that it would probably be more powerful as a collection. To find shapes and dimensions that could work in three different orientations was a long process, it was extremely complex, and Flos solved several technical aspects of the design. In a design culture of cutting metal and extruding plastic, ceramic is not something you can capture, it’s like a wild animal, it needs a lot of calm and a lot of time. Céramique is big and heavy, not easy to put in the kiln - the first try was a disaster. I thought, why did I design something so complex? But we solved it, and to me this is Italy, this marvellous quality of research and development of companies like Flos.
Interview by Rosa Bertoli
Limited Edition Céramique Signature
With Céramique Signature, the quintessential simplicity of the range comes alive in the form of 200 limited edition models, each with a numbered plaque on the base alongside an original Ronan Bouroullec signature. The models will be available in Rust Red and Moss Green.
Bassano del Grappa, 2023
Photography by Anastasia Pavlova
The best way to be sustainable is by creating a product that will last forever, something you will want to share over the generations. Every element can be easily dismantled for any repairs or replacements. The lamp’s iconic ceramic body features a leadfree lacquered crystalline finish that complements its handcrafted surface.