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25 October 2023
The two French designers talk about the waltz of working together
Eliminating the superfluous and focusing on function does not mean giving up beauty and comfort: this is demonstrated by the approach of Grégory Blain and Hervé Dixneuf, founders of the Atelier BL19 design studio which collaborates with companies like Ligne Roset, Muuto, Bernard Chauveau and Manganèse Editions. Without compromise, Blain and Dixneuf say that pragmatism is a central value in their projects which also do not lack formal personality and creative innovation. This is also thanks to the work done together which consists of a continuous and fruitful exchange of ideas in which mutual criticism can also find space: when something doesn’t work it is called into question. This is the meaning of collaboration, what makes it a fruitful path, which gives added value compared to individual work. Among the most iconic projects of Atelier BL119 there is undoubtedly the Tub jug, designed in 2019 for the Danish brand Muuto: provocatively inspired by the shapes of a petrol can, Tub undermines the stereotype of the table jug by marrying the industrial style but lending itself to furnishing any type of table and context. Also perfect as a flower vase or as a watering can, it has entered the collective imagination as one of Muuto’s identifying projects. The same mood is found in the Biplan shelf designed for Ligne Roset: the structure has a dynamic architectural rhythm and despite having small dimensions, Biplan manages to effectively accommodate books and accessories and furnish the wall with style.
Why did you choose to do this job and do it together?é avete scelto di fare questo lavoro e di farlo insieme?
HD: For its creative aspect, the diversity of fields approached, and the know-how used.
GB: the will to become a designer comes from an interest for the materials and their implementation.
For us it has seemed interesting to work together to question the projects at best, but in order to work on a form and simplify it too. The idea is to enrich the project sharing perspectives and to work on a common form.
How do you manage projects as a duo?
The origin of the projects comes from the drawing. One of us propose a drawing, an idea and then we work on it with each other. We try to be complementary, and we create a project in that way. As a duo we work on the projects by validating or not the proposals of the other one.
In your opinion, what are the priorities when designing a piece of furniture or an object?
When we design an object or furniture, we work on its shape kipping in mind its function. We conceive objects which have a certain pragmatism, drawn in a simple and pure way. We give a particular attention to the details.
How do you balance the personal research and the collaboration with industrial brands?
Most of the time we work on proposals we send to publishers and brands. Therefore, we develop a lot of projects on our part that, if they find a publisher, manage to be real. We would like to answer more often to briefs or specific needs on projects, but it stays occasional.
How would you describe your own home?
HD: It’s a living space which change and can be adapted in function of the time of the day and the activity of each other it’s a bright place, calm and convivial.
GB: It’s a refined space but pleasant to live with sober furniture. A place where we want to keep a connection with the past. A space with natural light but also intimate.
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