Design and Furniture: The Bouroullec Brothers

Tim GemperlineRarely is it the rug on a page of a design magazine that catches my eye. A new furniture line debuted at a recent show in Barcelona? Yes.  A lamp formed from flexuous folds of bent wood? Yes.  But a rug? It has to really be something to bypass my bias.  The Losange rug by the Bouroullec brothers for Nanimarquina does this easily.  The contemporary version of a classic Persian rug plays with 13 colors and simple geometry in a fun way, even in the edges.  It is also well made; handcrafted in Northern Pakistan of hand-spun afghan wool.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec don’t just make rugs, though.  Their portfolio includes an array of designs; dinnerware, multiple museum exhibits, a floating house for artists, an ipad app.  Their aesthetic is smooth and minimal, but also fun and colorful.  The Osso chair is one of my favorites and is also representative of this aesthetic, not to mention design approach.  It combines ‘manual know-how’ with CNC routing to piece together smooth, wood parts with precision joinery.  It’s a celebration of so much: material, craftsmanship, technology, tradition, color (if you choose), minimalism; so much!

I also appreciate their acknowledgement of the art of sketching in the design process.  Under their most recent exhibit for the Vitra Design Museum, the caption includes:

‘…even in the age of computers, drawing remains an indispensable tool for many designers, as it makes it possible to capture spontaneous, sometimes unexpected design ideas on paper and to develop an individual formal language. (Mateo Kries)’

The balance and interplay of human touch and technological solutions in the Bouroullec brothers’ design process shows through their portfolio.Whether it’s a Persian rug or a wooden chair, their portfolio provides a lot to catch the eye.


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