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Erwan Bouroullec on Vitra

Rachel Lee-Leong catches a few minutes with Erwan Bouroullec to chat about the Bouroullec brothers’ ‘Corniches’ for Vitra.

Erwan Bouroullec on Vitra


April 26th, 2012

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have a longstanding relationship with Vitra that spans 12 fruitful years. This year, they have designed ‘Corniches’, curious little shelving pedestals that fit onto walls according to one’s whim and fancy. Erwan Bouroullec tells us more about the project, working with Vitra and the cover of their latest monograph ‘Works’.

Bouroullec brothers

‘Corniches’ shelving 

Tell us about ‘Corniches’.

It’s really simple. It’s a simple shelving. We worked a lot on the shape of it, so that it’s quite undefined – so that people would not recognise it as shelving for books or for this or that. It has this kind of irregular geometry that it became a little bit of a sculpture on the wall.

What material is it made of?

It’s made out of plastic. Plastic is a wonderful material, but most of the time people associate plastic with cheap objects or things that won’t last long, that you will throw away. And we definitely tried to find a language… shapes and finishing that don’t remind us at all of plastic. It looks more like lacquered objects.

The modular nature of ‘Corniches’ reminds me of the Axor Bouroullec design. Is modularity an idea that you are particularly interested in as a design studio?

I think it’s an approach that you find in many of our projects. For me, what I hate most are decoration magazines that appear like there’s a recipe for living. But people are different and much more independent. There are so many different situations and you can’t say people have to be like this or like that. And definitely, what we try to do is to bring an open function, an open programme. To me, it’s just an answer to the diversity of the world.


’Joyn’ conference table for Vitra

You’ve worked with Vitra for a long time now. What do you appreciate most about working with them?

There are many things that I appreciate, but the thing that I appreciate most is that we have a common goal. We share a lot, we speak a lot. What is incredibly nice about Vitra is that they really respect our point of view as a designer, but on the other end they have a very strong point of view about industry and production.


Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s latest monograph, titled ’Works’

Why did you decide to put your design of ‘Algue’ for Vitra on the cover of your latest monograph ‘Works’?

I think ‘Algue’ is something that is based on the idea of industry of production. At the same time, it’s an idea about poetry more than typical function. It is incredibly emotional – people see it, they react, they feel something. You have to [put it together] yourself. And I think what is interesting is on one hand there is industry and technique and, on the other hand, poetry. In the same way, we are industrial designers, but in our work, we look for something new, something subtle.


’Algue’ for Vitra

Vitra is available in Singapore through Space Furniture.

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec


Space Furniture

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