Interview: Bouroullec

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec represent the new generation of designers; experimentation, research, the subtle beauty of intelligence and a good dose of talent characterize their work. had some questions for them and they kindly answered.
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

How's your creative process?

There is no set formula. Each project suggests a different approach. Yet, it is true that from the outside, it seems that the process is marked by some essential steps. First, there is thinking and dialog. Then or simultaneously comes the extensive step of drawing. After that or together with it come the steps of the modelling and 3D drawing... that dialog with manual drawing. Last, comes the prototype step ... and the process gets back to the beginning: thinking, drawing etc. Until we get satisfied by the project.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

sketches and early prototypes of the Slow chair manufactured by Vitra, 2007

What's the best tool you use?

A sketchbook. 
The central activity is in front of a sketchbook. It does not mean we do only this, but those moments are the key moments in our work.Creation can be considered as a mostly cerebral activity. The indispensable first tool is then the sketchbook, so that we do not forget. The sketchbook may be considered as a hard-drive in a sense. It is very important for us to manage to have serene and calm periods of time in front of a table. But this can take place anywhere. Then other activities tend to organize around this, but without any concrete, nor definitive rule.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Could you do what you do without a computer?

Yes, we think we could do the same, maybe simpler. But the computer is a very good tool, very useful and essential today.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Sketches and prototype for the Vegetal chair manufactured by Vitra, 2009

Which is the hardest part in the process of creating a new object?

In the whole design process, we prefer the research period and the very moment when we have the intuition we might have found something interesting.

What does it take to "convince" a company to produce your projects?

We usually take a long time to design projects. And at the end, it is true our clients are mostly happy with the results. It is not necessary to persuade them with force. It can happen that we need to adapt the project to the company we work with. But if the company asks us to modify the essence of the project too much or to change the generic direction, we prefer to leave the project.

The most important skills a designer should have?

A designer should be able to observe and to understand the context.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Prototype for the Vegetal chair manufactured by Vitra, 2009

Who gave you the best lessons?

Experience gave us the best lessons.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Manufacturing process of the Steelwood chair manufactured by Magis, 2008

If you were not a designer, what would you be?

We do not know.

What's next?

New secret projects...

May 2009

See also:
Papyrus chair for Kartell


I enjoyed the sketchbook/HD analogy.
Good work guys, thanks for sharing.

very nice interview, I really appreciate their mature and professional way of doing design
and the big pictures are great ;-)

I love spotd's interviews!!!! :-)

Thanks Ignacio, we are very happy to know you like them

What I actually miss with these hyped brother pairs in the contemporary design culture is a grain of innovational power.

thanks for the excellent article, suggested to my buddies as well as colleagues!

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