Orgatec 2010 Interview: Erwan Bouroullec
The Vitra stand at Orgatec 2010 was dominated by the work of two design studios: Antonio Citterio and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.
In addition to presenting new variations of their Alcove Sofa and Playns workstation, Vitra also unveiled the Bouroullec’s new Communal Cells modular partition/interior architecture system and their High Meeting Table
Apart from discussing the brothers forthcoming yacht project, we also talked about, the new Vitra products, what the Bouroullec’s own office looks like and what is truly important in office design.
(smow)blog: Can you briefly tell us about the new products you are exhibiting here at Orgatec?
Erwan Bouroullec: Ronan and me have been working quite a lot with Vitra and are showing here some adjustments to products we have already designed and also the result of some research we have been doing for quite some time on creating rooms within rooms in offices, from which we have created a cell system called Communal Cells.
(smow)blog: And can one see Communal Cells as an extension of the Alcove System?
Erwan Bouroullec: Yes and no. It’s the same sort of principle but more adapted to the question of this kind of small architecture that you need in an open plan office. For example, a kitchen, a printer stand or a small meeting room – so spaces that are designed to serve everyone for both work and non-work.
(smow)blog: And, what does the Bouroullec’s own office look like?
Erwan Bouroullec: What is nice in our office is that we are really lucky to be able to use lots of different working methods, and so sometimes I am drawing, sometimes working on a computer, sometimes making mock-ups so the office looks a little bit messy, but that’s because we are doing quite a lot of different things at the same time. Which is quite refreshing.
What I think people need at work is to change what they do during the day and to change the position of the body. I think that is very important…
(smow)blog: … so that one feels comfortable in the office…
Erwan Bouroullec: … Yes, I think the best way to feel comfortable in an office to be confronted during the day by dfferent kinds of comfort: sometimes sitting in a sofa as we are now, sometime sitting in an office chair, sometimes in a dining chair, but changing is important. Because sitting the whole day in a sofa like this is not so good, to spend one day in an office chair is maybe better, but also not perfect. But also sometimes being in open, public space and sometimes being hidden from the others.
(smow)blog: And any projects that you are working on at the moment?
Erwan Bouroullec: We are just starting a sail boat project which is quite exciting.
(smow)blog: Certainly, and a bit of a change from your normal work?
Erwan Bouroullec: Yes, but in a way we always have had such kinds of projects that are a little bit outside the tracks that we usually follow. And it is an interesting dynamic because it brings us some fresh points of view and also we experience things that can help our industrial work.
(smow)blog: So thinking in different ways and then transferring that to your other work…
Erwan Bouroullec: Yeah, I think being confronted to a different context is really interesting. The real question of design from my point of view is to achieve an interesting balance between a lot of different factors and so the more contexts you are confronted by the more you learn about the way you can balance things.