If you want a well-established product sector to be given a thoughtful and effective reworking, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec are the go-to guys. They can bring a fresh way of looking at the most humdrum of objects. In the last year, they’ve done it with the humble college chair, the curtain, and now the lamp.
Italian lighting manufacturer Flos has brought out Aim, a suspension lamp so minimal that the wire has an aesthetic as well as a functional role. A number of the outsized spotlights can be attached from a ceiling fixture, with their flexes looping gracefully downwards. The height of the lamps themselves can be changed by fastening them to different points on their own cables. Flos has made them in macho materials including polycarbonate and die-cast aluminium, giving them a different feel from their original manifestation.
Because Aim started life as a leather-clad model light called Lianes, which the Bouroullec brothers presented in 2010. At this point, it was a self-initiated project, which was brought to life by the Parisian gallery Kreo. The Bouroullecs used the space to promote their own products, with Lianes sitting alongside some wall shelves and wall-mounted lights.
“This unique context allows necessary respiration in our work, helping us to breathe into between other projects,” the brothers say of their involvement with Kreo, “Here, we give ourselves the time to explore different media and extraordinary techniques that are rejected by industry, to approach unique skills.”
But while Aim looks basic, in one respect the design is over-indulgent. As Flos points out: “Anyone who designs lights has always been taught that the cable is a purely functional element, and as such it should be hidden and used sparingly. An abundance of cable, especially on the ceiling, was seen as a kind of ‘temporary solution’. Ronan and Erwan overturn this assumption,” and a number of these lights hung together creates a sort of rainforest creeper effect. And the part of the light that taxes most designers, the lamp itself, gets a supporting role as “simply a fruit hanging from any one of the cables”, Flos adds.
It’s just the sort of romantic functionalism that we’ve come to expect from the Bouroullecs. And if anyone needs a bigger fix of Bouroullec, they have until 1 September to visit Momentane, a show of the past 15 years of their work in the Arts Décoratifs nave in Paris.
You can see more Bouroullecs exquisite designs in their book Works and read our extensive Bouroullec Brothers online content. And be sure to check out the full range of benefits you'll enjoy by joining Phaidon Club. These include, among other delights, early opportunities to get your hands on limited signed editions, invites to meet authors and creatives - the Bouroullec Brothers, for instance - and free, downloadable chapters from forthcoming books. You'll find it all in the wonderful Phaidon Club.