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Designer to know: Philippe Malouin

The Property Addict / Architecture & Design

Feb 12 2016

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By Fiona McCarthy Designer Philippe Malouin is a master at conjuring beautiful objects from unusual sources. Philippe Malouin's design philosophy goes something like this: "The role of the designer these days is stepping into a role within industry and within brands that aren't usually associated with design, and finding ways to show their products in a different light, so as to change perception and do something more dynamic." A rising star and unconventional thinker in the interiors world, the Canadian-born London designer dazzled Milan Design Week last year with an unexpected take on showcasing Caesarstone. He used it to create oversized plant pots and an interactive installation of swings, set in a line amid the gilded magnificence of the PALAZZO Serbelloni's main hall, each seat "¨cut from a different variation of the engineered quartz stone. Malouin is especially proud of the planters because they encapsulate all he stands for. "Through lots of hand-making and sculpting, experimenting and playing, but adapted to mass production, we're good at doing something that doesn't look like it could be industrialised," he says of his practice, established in 2009. The Caesarstone project was special, too, because the whole studio decamped to the south of France for a month and a half to be close to the source of the stone. "To come up with something new we needed to push our exploration of the material so we needed it "¨at our fingertips," he says. This dedication to thinking outside the box has stood the Tom Dixon protà ©gà © in good stead. His diverse portfolio includes the space-saving, flat-folding "Ë?Hanger' chair for Umbra Shift, originally designed while he was studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands; the "Ë?Hardie' stools, commissioned by Dutch textile company Kvadrat as part of its Hallingdal 65 exhibition curated by Ilse Crawford, in which the fabric (rather than steel or timber) forms the frame of the stool; and the LED-driven "Ë?Daylights' lamp sculptures, inspired by plantation shutters, which mimic sunlight streaming through the slats. Malouin's love of playing with manual, low-tech techniques is evident in his east London studio, a treasure trove of building and carpentry tools. His background in industrial design, which he studied in Montreal and Paris before graduating from Eindhoven, "¨is echoed in the "Ë?Dunes' slip-cast tableware he designed with the UK's 1882 Ltd "â? an offshoot of the 134-year-old Johnson Brothers potteries "â? and recently included in the What Is Luxury? exhibition at the V&A. Malouin created the plates using a DIY analogue 3-D printer, pouring sugar through a funnel positioned over a cylinder spinning on a slowly revolving turntable to form moulds. These were then cast in plaster, which 1882 Ltd produced in bone china. Retaining the sugar's grainy texture, each final piece is unique. It's the simple practicality of being able "¨to transform the way he works into producible pieces that makes Malouin one to watch. He has traversed the worlds of art installation "â? Loop, the undulating sculpture he made from recycled shipping pallets, hangs in Bloomberg's London HQ "â? and product design "â? other clients have included Swarovski, Artek and Established & Sons. He has also lectured with Sarah van Gameren at the Royal College of Arts for the past three years. "Is it art? Is it design? Does it need a label?" he muses. "There's room for everything. I just prefer mine to be usable, but how I get there doesn't have to start with an industrialised process." The endless hours he puts into exploring and challenging boundaries seems to know no limit. "First must always come design before process," he says. vogueliving P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P91 P92 P93

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