The Breton-born Bouroullec brothers share much more than family bonds: they have been partners since Erwan (b.1976) has joined his oldest brother Ronan (b.1971) in his firm while he was still finishing his studies at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where both studied.
Back in 1997, they caught Giulio Cappellini’s attention at the Salon du Meuble in Paris with their Disintegrated Kitchen. Two projects – The Lit clos (“Closed Bed”) and the Spring Chair for Cappellini – marked the beginning of their commissioned work for many design-led European companies such as Vitra, Kvadrat, Magis, Kartell, Established and Sons, Ligne Roset, Axor, Alessi, Issey Miyake, Cappellini, Flos and Mutina.
Among the wide range of domestic and office furniture, vases, porcelain dishware, jewellery and diverse home accessories designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, we can elect two of the most iconic projects – Algues (2004) and Clouds (2009). Starting from a single nature-inspired-and-stylized module, the repetition makes them both interior design components and decorative elements at the same time.
Edited by Vitra, Algues are plastic elements reminiscent of plants that can be linked together to form a panel, like a web, more or less opaque depending on the quantity of modules used.
With Clouds, the Bouroullec went further and developed what can be considered a new typology of object: the textile pieces are held together with elastic bands and make free-standing or hanging structures. These structures can be used to divide space and absorb sound, and the modules are available in two Kvadrat fabrics and seven colour combinations.
The second part of the creative process of Algues and Clouds is then left to the user, who decides among the infinite possibilities of shape, colour, pattern and dimension, revealing the iterant Bouroullec’s focus on the organization of interior space, with a poetic yet simple statement based on the everyday life and the relationship with the user.
These projects gave rise to many installations, some of them at Galerie Kreo in Paris – one of the places where the Bouroullec are able to maintain a more experimental activity, which they consider essential to the development of their work.
15 years of work are now compiled in a monograph called Works, written by design specialist Anniina Koivu, Director of Research and Head of PR & Partnerships at Vitra and former editor of Abitare magazine. The book explores the designers’ work by theme and includes hand-selected photographs by the Bouroullecs and unpublished images and drawings from the designers’ archives.