In the frame: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

The Brittany-born brothers have worked together for about twenty years. Their studio is in Paris, from where they create innovative designs for everything from furniture to tiles

The brothers in their Paris studio
The brothers in their Paris studio

How has your style evolved over the years?
It is difficult for us to define our style or concept. We do not have a precise philosophy. However, we make a great point of designing pieces that can be integrated into people’s interiors regardless of what the cultural background may be. It results in projects that we would describe as “not too noisy”. But in a sense, it is the industrial design logic itself, whose aim is the huge market. As we do not know exactly the context in which each of our objects will end up, we try to take out everything that does not seem necessary.

Who or what are your biggest influences?
Observation is probably our main external influence – we try to observe accurately people’s behaviour in everyday life and to understand their usual practices and needs. In fact, we have a passion for the small details of life, the way people consider objects, the way they use them, and so on.

Who is your design hero?
We love the work of Ettore Sottsass and the American design of the 1950s, but we couldn’t say they have influenced our work directly, so our answer would be the Thonet 14 chair (now called the Thonet 214), because it embodies a kind of design perfection.

What is your favourite building in the world?
Ronan: Marfa Foundation in Texas.

Describe your dream home
Ronan: I love the Schindler House in Los Angeles.

The Schindler House in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, was designed in 1921 by Rudolf M. Schindler
The Schindler House in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, was designed in 1921 by Rudolf M. Schindler

Describe the interior style of your homes
In our domestic landscape, there are few objects. Maybe the fact that design is our job helps us keep a distance… We own very few projects of designers, even projects that we did ourselves. I guess musicians don’t listen to their own CDs, writers don’t read their own books… It’s always very complicated to face an old project. You always see a problem, something you’d like to change. It’s a way of teasing ourselves, a reminder that we have to do better, but it’s painful sometimes to see something we did years ago.

What makes a home?
People feel better and happier when their home is adapted to their needs. Comfort is also very important, even if it is only part of a whole design.

How do you relax?
Erwan: With my daughters.
Ronan: In my house in Brittany, beside the sea.

What are you sitting on right now?
Erwan: In a Worknest office chair, made by us for Vitra.
Ronan: In my Uncino chair, which we designed for Mattiazzi.

What’s the best thing about Scotland?
The beautiful landscapes.