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“It’s a bit like writing a little song or a Japanese haiku:” Patrick Jouin on design, collaboration, and a partnership for the ages

Pedrali and Patrick Jouin celebrate more than ten years of collaboration with new evolutions to their iconic designs

“It’s a bit like writing a little song or a Japanese haiku:” Patrick Jouin on design, collaboration, and a partnership for the ages

Italian contract and residential furniture brand Pedrali and world-renowned French designer Patrick Jouin boast a long-lasting collaboration. Together, their collective history is one of pure alchemy: a meeting of the minds that has produced iconic furniture pieces with enduring appeal. Like milk and honey, their partnership is a symbiosis, a balance of commercial expertise and design finesse that has driven the production of the Ester and Reva collections, as well as the Elliot tables, Ila armchair, Héra armchair, and Social modular sofas.

With over a decade of design magic behind them, there’s exciting things in store for Pedrali and Jouin. To find out more we caught up with the man himself, for an interview that covers the past, present, and future of Patrick Jouin and his and Pedrali’s world of design.

Patrick Jouin, Photo by Thomas Duval

IDL: Can you share a bit on your background and what brought you to furniture design?

PJ: Born in Nantes, France in 1967, I come from a family deeply rooted in craftsmanship and engineering. This environment fostered my early love for drawing, as it felt like a way to touch, feel, and shape objects through sensations. Early on, I learned that conversation, whether at home or beyond, was essential for the development of any project.

This technical and creative background led me to the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI) in Paris. A few years later, in 1998, I launched my own name at the Salone Satellite. Since then, my career has been a continuous exploration of the boundary between technological innovation and aesthetic sensitivity, a quest to unveil the unique character of materials through design, to unveil characters from everyday life.

IDL: And what led you to collaborate with Pedrali?

PJ: My partnership with Pedrali began when I met Monica and Giuseppe Pedrali at the 2011 ADI Compasso d’Oro awards in Rome. Shortly after, I began collaborating with Pedrali on a chair called Ester, designed for Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, where Ducasse holds three Michelin stars.

Ester Lounge – Photo by Ottavio Tomasini

I love designing furniture, especially seating. It’s a bit like writing a little song or a Japanese haiku. You need to concentrate in on three lines in a precise way; I love that exercise. This passion for drawing, design, and quality is something I share with Pedrali.

Beyond our common passion for design, Pedrali’s extensive expertise in handling a diverse array of materials, and their proficiency in cutting-edge manufacturing techniques (such as CNC and laser cutting), significantly enhances our design process. This technical prowess supports our shared ambition to create products that are not only well-designed but also durable and robust.

IDL: Can you walk me through the key new pieces for Pedrali.

PJ: The iconic Ester family welcomes the Ester Lounge, with its generous proportions that invite you to sit back and relax, while retaining its clean, graceful lines. She invites you to engage in a conversation, enjoy a drink, immerse yourself in a book, or simply watch the world go by.

We’ve also expanded the Héra family with Héra Soft. In this piece, we’ve emphasised supreme comfort, incorporating a plush, cushioned seat. Alternatively, Héra Straw – a second new addition – offers a tactile experience with its intricately woven straw seat, introducing a play of textures that brings a warm, organic element to any setting.

IDL: What is your design process, how do you approach a new furniture design project from concept to completion?

PJ: Our design process begins with the personality, character, and intended aura of the furniture piece, viewing it as a silent character that transforms a space’s atmosphere.

From here, there is a foundational sketch selected from many drawings. After that, I move straight to precise drawings in plan and elevation views, before creating it at full scale. Then we model it, making mock-ups, digital models, and prototypes. From here, we refine, finalise a model, and present it to our editor where it goes through testing and fine-tuning before entering the rest of the industrial design process.

IDL: How do you balance functionality and aesthetics in your designs?

PJ: I don’t balance them; I blend them. It’s like dough for me, like a baker’s dough. For me, the different ingredients of the project – the price, functionality, comfort, beauty, and innovation – are all elements that I mix together until I achieve a homogeneous dough, an object that is self-evident.

IDL: How do you ensure the quality and durability of your designs and how is this informed by sustainability?

PJ: To ensure the quality and durability of our designs, we adopt a holistic approach that emphasises sustainable and thoughtful design.

This goes beyond merely selecting durable materials; it involves creating pieces with timeless aesthetics that avoid fleeting trends which can undermine the longevity of the furniture. Our designs are crafted to be not only structurally sound and sourced from responsible materials but also to hold emotional value.

Ester

If we take our design “Ester” as an example: its timeless design has been a staple for over a decade in prestigious locations such as La Mamounia, within Chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurants, and in Van Cleef & Arpels boutiques.

Our pieces are made to evoke a deep attachment, they meet specific needs and remain relevant over time, and that is the mark of a symbiosis in design, process and collaboration.

Pedrali
pedrali.com

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