“To what extent … is it possible for design to reproduce nature?” Anniina Koivu poses this intriguing question in her newly published book, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec: Works (Phaidon). The furniture and industrial design work of the French brothers Bouroullec certainly reveals an interest in the organic, but it’s an aesthetic that incorporates modern concepts, materials, and construction methods. Koivu’s monograph shows an array of pieces (including a novel vase/plant stand, pictured above) the duo created since founding their Paris firm in 1999, proving that some of their most iconic collections — the Cloud and plantlike Algues modular systems and the Vegetal outdoor chair — bear titular and aesthetic connections to nature. The Algues system, for instance, is sold as individual tiles — pieces of sculptural art in their own right — that when joined together form functional room dividers. The natural element of the work lies in the unique unfolding of the creations engendered both by the consumers who build the Algues partitions and the brothers, who undertook a four-year process of “growing” the branchlike Vegetal chair. Ronan says simply, “We are interested in objects that are or can be part of everyday life.” What could be more natural than that?
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