Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec grew up in the French countryside and moved to Paris after completing their educations. As partners in design since the 1990s, the brothers value what their relationship brings to their work.
“The fact that we can discuss everything openly and honestly with each other is important because often creativity does not come from a rational point of view but an emotional one,” says Erwan. “It’s about finding a certain balance or character when you are looking for solutions to problems that are difficult to solve.”
They feel the design process itself is similar to any of the arts because it’s about using one’s talents to make something people enjoy and appreciate. “Like a guitarist who uses only six strings to create something marvelous, a stitch placed just so on a pillow brings real beauty to it,” says Erwan.
One of their goals when designing Steelwood furniture group for Magis, was to find an affordable alternative to plastic, which dominated European seating at the time. “We needed to reduce the complexity of wood assembling, so we kept our design simple,” says Ronan. “And we wanted something that would appeal to everyone— men, women, rich, poor—one that would say to people, ‘I am a well-constructed, beautiful object, one that will last a long time, and will grow old quite nicely with you.’ Not just something they use, but are happy to have around them.”
When designing the Osso chair for Mattiazzi, “Our intention was to let the sensuality of the wood express itself,” says Erwan. “The chair invites people to touch or even caress it, as it is extremely sculpted and polished."
The two credit designers from the past with giving them a solid foundation for their work. “To me, contemporary design stands atop two massive columns: one was created by the American designers like Eames who was so innovative in the 40s and 50s and whose use of technology made such an incredible impact,” says Erwan. “And the other column is made up of the Italian designers of the 70s and 80s who created a whole new typology for modern living.”
The Bouroullecs have collaborated with numerous furniture and consumer product manufacturers around the world, including Vitra, Kvadrat, Kartell, Alessi, and Cappellini.
Their designs are also part of many international museum collections such as the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Design Museum in London.
Photo credit: ©Studio Bouroullec
Ronan and Erwan Bourroullec Design