Shy and nervous as Ronan Bouroullec was, his deep-set passion and design integrity endeared him to every 2010 Design Indaba Conference delegate. Here the virtuoso product designer answers audience questions submitted via SMS.
You mentioned a disaster screen that was shelved after a year. Did you ever consider using mohair in the material? Have you ever used mohair? Very good for noise retardation and eco friendly.
We actually never thought about using mohair for its positive features on sound and environment but it is a smart thought!
It seems a lot of your work is informed by the idea of systems. Where does this fascination come from?
It is true that we have a special interest in the idea of systems (with the Algaes and the Twigs, for instance). For us there is a great logic involved in thinking about the production of a series since it can optimise the design of the object created. Creating systems that are easy to use in the end throughout the production series is fascinating to us.
How do you personally judge the success of a project?
There are different things. The first thing is that we have to be satisfied. Not proud of it, because it’s not a fact, but just to consider that it has been executed correctly. The second thing… Well, there are a lot of types of success. There are some interesting projects that I’ve shown here that are not successes in terms of sales. It’s sometimes terrible for us, but it’s like that. We would like to have some commercial success, but it’s not what drives our work. As I said before, we work for only a few companies. They’re not philanthropic companies but they have more than simply industrial projects. Especially in Vitra, there are cultural projects inside the business projects. So they try to do more than just selling chairs or tables; they try to make, for instance, office life a bit better.