Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec are two of the most admired designers of contemporary times. Their work, though recent, are already considered by many to be classics, placed together with the work of Charles and Ray Eames, Hans J. Wegner, George Nelson, Isamu Noguchi, and Jean Prouvé. Striking a balance with their distinct personalities, shared diligence, continuous dialogue and sense of clarity, they have been working together for almost twenty years. The brothers have produced pieces that are returned to the basics of flexibility and functionality, but are deeply ingrained with a subtle sensuality through the skillful and inventive use of materials. Throughout the years they have carefully observed the changing lifestyles influenced by new technology and the overload of commodities, and sought to return the interior space into one that is interactive, open, and sensible through furniture that is adaptable and facilitates organization.
Design should be seen as a way of producing a certain diversity in series, a way of trying to escape authoritarianism, of handing the job over to the user.
– Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
The brothers were born in Quimper, France: Ronan in 1971, and Erwan in 1976. After studying in the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Ronan began to work independently. His brother assisted him, until Erwan himself finished his studies from the École des Beaux-Arts in Cergy-Pontoise.
1997 saw the beginning of their rise to the international design scene, when they presented their Disintegrated Kitchen at the Salon de Meuble in Paris. There, they were discovered by Giulio Cappellini, who gave them their first industrial design projects, such as the Lit Clos and the Spring Chair. In 2000, they partnered with fashion designer Issey Miyake to create a space for his new A-poc line of clothing in Paris. Then, in 2002, Rolf Fehlbaum invited them to take on the monumental feat of redesigning an office space for Vitra. This was a step towards a special partnership between the distinguished company and the brilliant designers, from which renowned pieces like Algue, Joyn, Vegetal, Slow, and Alcove, among others. In this way they have revolutionized the idea of space: creating ‘spaces within spaces’ while also championing the return of openness and so, comfort, in both home and office interiors.
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec have also collaborated with other remarkable companies, producing innovative work that remains consistent with their sensibilities and existing portfolio, like the Facett collection for Ligne Roset, the Clouds for Kvardat, and Losanges for nanimarquina, to name a few. In addition to this, they pursue experimental activities at Galerie Kreo, in Paris, an endeavor that is ultimately essential to the development of their process.
The brothers and designers have no shortage of affirmation for the various works they have been doing. Their awards include, but are not limited to, the Grand Prix du Design in Paris, 1998, the New Designer Award at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) New York in 1999, Designers of the Year at the Salon du Meuble in 2002, the Danish Design Award in 2010, the Designer of the Year award for Now! Maison & Objet in 2011, the A&W Designer of the Year award in 2013 and the London Design Medal in 2014. Particular pieces they have made have also garnered awards, such as the “Best of the Best” Red Dot Design Award for the Facett collection in 2005 and the ICFF award for outdoor furniture for the Vegetal chair in 2009.
Their work have also found their way to a number of the world’s best museums in temporary and permanent exhibitions, such as the Design Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the La Piscine, Roubaix in France, the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.
As of 2013, they have several books celebrating their work. Phaidon Press published Works, a comprehensive monograph spanning their works until 2012, and JRP Ringier published Drawings, an 850–page collection of drawings from their sketchbooks made between 2005 to 2012. Two other monographs were published before these: the Ronan et Erwan Bouroullec – Catalogue de Raison and Ronan et Erwan Bouroullec, by Images Modernes and Phaidon Press, respectively.
For me furniture means to create a shelter, to settle. Make the first fire, start to live in a place.
– Erwan Bouroullec
Re-imagine your space with the Bouroullecs’ simple, flexible yet sensible pieces. Visit the Vitra, Ligne Roset, and nanimarquina displays at MOs Design today.