Luo Jingmei catches up with the founder and director of Sé while in Milan.
April 25th, 2012
Despite being a young company, Sé has already carved out a niche of its own with a brand of whimsy and elegance woven together by designers Damien Langlois-Meurinne, who designed Collection I in 2008, and Jaime Hayon of the second 2010 collection. We speak to the brand’s founder and director Pavlo Schatakleff at Rossana Orlandi, where old and new pieces were exhibited together.
The ‘Arpa’ lounger by Hayon now has a footstool
On the name ‘Sé’
When I had the concept of starting the brand, I wanted it to be international, hence the name – it resonates different things. It could mean ‘if’ (in Italian), or ‘cathedral’ in Portuguese…all sorts of things. Now hopefully it starts to mean beautiful furniture. I also wanted something that was visually beautiful as well because it had to represent the products.
New version of the ‘Beetly Small Bridge’ chair by Hayon with French walnut legs
How the brand came about
The concept of the brand came about in 2007. I’ve worked [on] selling furniture before in London [and] New York. When I got back to London after New York, I thought I’d like to do something myself. I’d like to start a new, luxury brand. I met a guy – Mark Scharifi – and gave him the idea and we started the company from there. The concept was really simple. I wanted to have very good, unknown designers at the beginning, giving them the opportunity to design a whole collection – not just one or two pieces. That way, they have a bigger platform to express themselves… to design pieces that relate to each other so that they can create a small universe.
Previously only in a bronze limited edition, ‘The New One’ side table by Langlois-Meurinne is now realised in exotic African Franke wood
On being an English brand with an international look
It’s an English brand because it’s based in England but that’s as far as it goes. It’s an international brand with an international appeal. That’s the background I wanted the brand to have. The world is small; you can’t be quintessentially something. To me, it doesn’t make sense. Beautiful design can be appreciated by everyone – why limit yourself to one identity? It shouldn’t really have a national identity in a way.
The new ‘Cristal Bala’ side table, by Hayon, has a glass top and glass inlay within
On expanding to Asia
I really want to go into Asia – the Far East, the Middle East. We’re pushing for next year. We are establishing ourselves as a brand. If you take something that far, people need to know about it. The heritage has to be developed and that can only happen over time, and I think now, people are starting to realise what we are, what we do. In Asia, a couple of products are sold in Lane Crawford (in Hong Kong).
On youth and experience
I’m 35 this year; Hayon is 38, Damien is 40. It’s a young company, and I think you need that now. Every generation has waves and I think there’s a new movement now… people doing things that are different. I think age doesn’t really matter if you’ve got the right product. A lot of people that I’ve worked with are much older than me, and you need that experience. You need people to tell you, ‘look, it’s going to be difficult’. When I started, I knew nothing about manufacturing. That’s why the new catalogue is really personal because it’s a real trip of what I’ve been through and learnt from scratch.
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