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Creative Living, Portraits of Style Visionaries
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« The urge for good design is the same as the urge to carry on living” said Harry Bertoia, the Italian born world famous artist and designer. Bertoia was also the creator of the iconic wire furniture collection for Knoll, widely recognised as one of the greatest design achievements of 20th century furniture design. Bertoia's quote is still relevant today… Design is indeed all about life. Great design has become a fundamental feature of our everyday life. But what we found out from speaking with the greatest creative minds around, was that the real motivation to create great design pieces, is all about making an impact on our lives. Most designers agree, that design needs to have a purpose and that design wouldn't work if it didn't fulfill a functional need. Lasting design pieces are often a combined effort of functionality and a healthy dose of aesthetics. Whether a car, a graphic design, an urban environment, a piece of furniture or a great object, design is omnipresent.

At Esensual Living we are recognising how great design is impacting contemporary lifestyle. We asked this month's Style Visionaries to answer four key questions, providing access to understanding their approach to design creation. They also share with us, the decisions and challenges they face during this process. 

1. What inspired you to become a designer?

2. Which object do you dream to realise?

3. Do you consider that you have a single expression in your designs?

4. Which Esensual Living items are in line with your design ethos?

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Kang-Taeuk
 

Arik Levy

Originally from Tel-Aviv, the multi-award winner Arik Levy is a technician and an artist best known internationally for his signature Rock pieces. Arik, a highly talented individual who can boast equal skills in design, photography, film making, packaging, stage setting, brand identities and interior design, had an unconventional training where surfing, as well as his art and graphic studio, took up most of his time back home. He participated in his first group show of outdoor sculptures in Tel Aviv in 1986, before moving to Geneva where he studied industrial design at the Art Center Europe and gained his first international distinction by winning the Seiko Epson Inc. competition in 1991. After a detour in Japan, Arik definitely settled in Paris where he founded Arik Levy Art & Design Studio in 1992. His creations, which privilege form and function, often recreate organic shapes with a technological twist. He designs for international brands including Baccarat, Lasvit, Molteni, Gaia&Gino, Ligne Roset and his work is present in private and public collections such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Among Arik’s latest accomplishments are the Wallpaper*Design Award 2014 for his Wireflow lighting collection designed for VIBIA, the inauguration of the new retail and exhibition space Please Do Not Enter in Los Angeles where he is showing several pieces,and the creation, as part of Art Brussels in September, of a 9 meter high Rock Growth sculpture, a spectacular permanent installation near the famed Atomium, built for Expo 58’.  A true master in multiple fields, Arik states that “making things is ultimately about changing living conditions”. So very true.

1. What inspired you to become a designer?
Life in general as a start…I always had an urge to improve everyday life in all its facets, but more importantly the constant passion to create genuine objects.....

2. Which object do you dream to realise?
A great and useful one.

3. Do you consider that you have a single expression in your designs?
Absolutely not! This may be due to the fact, that I work both as an industrial designer and express myself differently as an artist. 

4. Which Esensual Living items are in line with your design ethos?
Different people have different lifestyles. This is why one item rather than another, becomes essential to them. As for me I like space and light. This is why I like to be surrounded by things that have a certain form of discretion in their aesthetics, such as the Hydra throw by Teixidors, the Venise bed linens by Alexandre Turpault and to complete a serene atmosphere I like the Plaisir diffuser by Laura Tonatto.

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Solid Liquid by Ian Scigliuli
Courtesy of Arik Levy Studio
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Virgili Jubero
 

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

Born in the South of France, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance was brought up in a creative environment where his father, a sculptor, comforted his son in his artistic interests. After earning a degree in metal sculpture from the Ecole Nationale des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Arts, Noé turned to design and studied furniture design at Les Arts Décoratifs. He quickly displayed an unusual aesthetic quality designing harmonious objects, furniture and spaces always aiming to establish an emotional bond with nature, his main source of inspiration. In 2002 , he was appointed artistic director for Sketch, a restaurant in London’s Soho district, a turning point in his career. His bold design of the interiors turned the restaurant into one of the “it” spots in London and launched his international career. He opened his own studio, Neonata, in 2003. Another claim to fame was his sensational makeover of the Sanderens high-end restaurant in Paris in 2005, where he brought to the Majorelle historic setting a poetic contemporary twist. A precocious talent, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance works on projects as far apart as the relooking of Sénéquier in Saint Tropez, the rejuvenation of the restaurant Ciel de Paris, located at the top of the Tour Montparnasse, where he created a soft intergalactic bubble, to the architectural identity of the Paris and Tokyo Air France Business Class Lounges. His objects for Baccarat or GAIA&GINO, his furniture for Zanotta, Ceccotti Collezione, Petite Friture, Cassina, Cinna all prove that Duchaufour-Lawrance is one of the rising stars of the new generation.

1. What inspired you to become a designer?
Nothing was written.  I was brought up in an artistic and anti-consumption environment, quite like hippies.
We didn't have contemporary objects at home. It was a quite harmonious mix of objects sort of thrown together. But I have always been attracted to the "beauty of things". When I come to think of it, it was an uncle of mine who opened my eyes to the world of objects for which they had a passion that became a way of life. With his wife, they had a collection of Arts Décoratifs and Art Nouveau furniture .
Then, I discovered Carlo Mollino's work which became a source of inspiration. His way of drawing, all in tension and curves is very much in connection with the body and opened my way towards organic language.

2. Which object do you dream to realise?
The next one of course!  I’d also love to created a hybrid object, born through industrial expertise and equipped with living intelligence…an object in constant transformation.
I imagine a shape which would evolve as we use it, which would adapt to the user life style, to its aging process. I would only design its algorithm, defining its line. The rest would be evolution.

3. Do you consider that you have a single expression in your designs?
I share values with other designers. I take a special care to do it with sincerity.
Beyond its function, its ergonomy, its technic, an object, a space must provoke an emotion. One should always listen to the user’s needs and understand the context he evolves in.
I love to remember my childhood far away from the cities, by the seaside. I always think about it when I start on a project, as one of my principal source of inspiration comes from nature. The supple lines of an armrest, the comfort of a chair, the structure of a piece of furniture, all these elements express the organic and sensitive link between the body and his environment.
This link between nature and men is inalienable. To be fully aware of this allows one to be humble and sensitive. This goes for all creation

4. Which Esensual Living items are in line with your design ethos?
I love things that are beautiful, simple and comfortable like the Hainsworth Vivid cushions in orange and apple green, the Teixidors Mala throw or the Libeco Monterey bedlinen.

www.noeduchaufourlawrance.com

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Stanislas Wolff, Vincent Leroux and Riccardo Bianchi
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Eric Charles-Donatien
 

Eric Charles-Donatien

« Too much is not enough » could be the motto of master feather crafter Eric Charles-Donatien whose extravagant, incredibly beautiful, flamboyant creations in all shapes and colours fill to the brim his studio in the Haut Marais - the hip Parisian neighbourhood. The fashion, jewelry and design worlds are keeping no secrets from this soft spoken and ultra-sophisticated designer and expert craftsman, who attended the prestigious school Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Charles-Donatien was plucked away from a promising career at Hermes to become artistic director for Maison Lemarié, the venerated studio, that specialises in feather creations. Here, he learned his craft before inaugurating his own brand  Moye&Da. Feathers are fetish tools of Charles-Donatien, who explains he has always felt like an angel without wings… “Through all my projects, whether for celebrated couture houses such as Dior, Yves Saint Laurent or Nina Ricci or whether in my own design work, I feel I am recreating those wings someone took away from me.” Feathers have been used over the centuries as fashion embellishments.  Charles-Donatien, who has greatly contributed to the perpetration of this craft, now wants to push feather creations into new directions.That of home décor - another feather in his cap! Small art pieces and sculpture-like  lamps in metal, are pierced with feathers that give them a ritualistic dimension. Always in pursuit of finding new ways to express his immense talent, Charles-Donatien's most recent work includes interior design collaborations on prestigious projects with renowned interior decorators.

1. What inspired you to become a designer?
As far as I remember, as a child I loved to create and give form to things. I wanted to bring more beauty into the world. Later, as my Mom was a striking lady, I started drawing clothes for her. I was attracted to anything artistic from music to painting. I decided to go into Applied Arts rather than Fine Arts because I wanted my creations to fit some kind of every day purpose. I studied at l’ Ecole Duperré which specializes in all types of design, then at La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to understand the techniques that will give life to a creation.

2. Which object do you dream to realise?
In fashion you work on exclusive dresses and accessories. I am now working on sculptures I’d love to set up in public gardens so they could be seen by many. I design lamps and screens mixing metal feathers with natural ones. I am more and more attracted to interior design. It has bigger exposure and I love to share what I do.

3. Do you consider that you have a single expression in your designs?
No. Anything can stimulate me and become a source of inspiration. Imagination is a key word when you are a designer.

4. Which Esensual Living items are in line with your design ethos?
I have a special thing about sensual home scents that dress up a room such as Cuir Eternel  by Kajaal. I could wrap up at any time in a Cecchi&Cecchi Mimetico throw and fill my bathroom with Alexandre Turpault’s Essential towels in all colours.

www.moye-da.com

 
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Eric Charles-Donatien
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Mercedes Jaen Ruiz
 

Philippe Nigro

Born and raised in France where he studied industrial design at l’Ecole la Martinière, before joining l’Ecole Boulle, Philippe Nigro had the great opportunity to spend 12 years working with this master of design, Michele de Lucchi, in Milan. “I wanted to immerse myself in Italian design to widen my experience. What started as an internship at the Michele de Lucchi Agency turned into a real collaboration.  A very rare thing indeed that explains my dual approach to design : I am quiet and determined, that’s my French side. My Italian one is to love the artistic and experimental aspect of my work,” explains Nigro. Philippe Nigro has gone a long way since he became an independent designer in 1999, as he developed partnerships with high-end brands such as Venini, Kvadrat, Ligne Roset which showcases his now famous sofa “Confluences” and more recently Hermès with 9 pieces called “Les Nécessaires”. His work has been described as dynamic and clever. It is characterized by interlocking forms, striking balance, attention to comfort. Several of his pieces are in the Centre Georges Pompidou permanent collections and his awards in 2014 include being elected Designer of the Year by Wallpaper and Creator of the Year at Maison&Objet.  “Good design, says Nigro, is an honest answer to real needs. It is perhaps a small way of making a relevant contribution to the improvement of daily living.” This statement will go to every one’s heart.

1. What inspired you to become a designer?
Very early on I was drawn to the plastic arts, especially those that called upon the use or transformation of industrial objects.  I then did a professional Baccalaureat in Applied Arts, which allowed me to move into industrial design.  One could say that I have always been interested in what constitutes the structure of objects, the inside of machines and systems.

2. Which object do you dream to realise?
There are so many things to design I would not know what to choose.  Each  project is a very exciting challenge.

3. Do you consider that you have a single expression in your designs?
I don’t know and maybe it is not for me to answer.  I can only say that I apply a certain method to the conception, which changes, evolves and adapts according to the different requisites and types of objects to be considered. In the end, my aim is to satisfy the needs of the user:  the real beneficiary of the concept.

4. Which Esensual Living items are in line with your design ethos?
I admire in particular pieces created by such masters of design as Eames, Castiglioni, Pesce, De Lucchi, Sottsass and many others. Esensual Living’s  France CC throw by Kajaal or Libeco's bed linen as well as the Caravane Nido towels would fit in beautifully with their creations.

www.philippenigro.com

creative-living-portraits-of-style-visionaries creative-living-portraits-of-style-visionaries
Altitude for Venini, Confluences for Ligne Roset.
All design photos courtesy of Philippe Nigro

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