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24 September 2021
The French designer explains her relationship with light and tells her story through one of her most important projects
Ionna Vautrin was born in 1979 in France. Since 2002 he has worked for Camper in Spain, for George J. Sowden in Italy and for Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec in France. His work is a meeting between industry and poetry. Designing everyday objects whose ambition is to be simple and familiar, yet surprising. His projects are a presence of geometric and organic shapes, a playful and colorful spirit, a warm and familiar presence.
1) Can you tell us about your career and your first job as a designer?
After graduating in industrial design in 2002 from the Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique, I wanted to gain solid experience working in a broad variety of fields. I therefore started at Camper in Spain for which I designed several collections of shoes. Then I joined George J. Sowden’s studio in Milan where I contributed to the development and design of household appliances for Moulinex and Tefal. Finally, I had the opportunity to assist Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec in Paris in all their projects. In 2011, I started my career as a freelance designer with the release of the Binic lamp for Foscarini! Its success has opened the doors to many projects and collaborations that have been going on for more than 10 years now.
2) If you had to define yourself as a designer, how would you describe yourself?
I think I’m an intuitive, spontaneous, enthusiastic designer who is close to the general public. I would say that my designs are often simple, functional, familiar, anthropomorphic, colorful and sensual.
3) What is your relationship with light?
I live in a house designed to live in the rhythm of sunlight. Light therefore plays a privileged role in my daily life. It is quite complex to design something so abstract as light. The creation of lighting requires a very particular approach: technical, symbolic and sculptural at the same time in my opinion. More than a chair or a sofa, light refers to a very subtle universe that touches the emotions with its softness, its warmth and intensity.
4) Tell us about the genesis of the Chouchin lamps for Foscarini.
The Chouchin lamp takes its name from the traditional Japanese paper and bamboo lanterns: they are used as luminous signs outside venues and as lucky charms at doorways. Reinterpreted from a contemporary perspective, these suspension lamps borrow all the magic and poetry of this ethereal and symbolic universe. Initially, the design of this collection featured a simple and very colorful blown glass bubble, encircled by a white and luminous ring in its lower part.
5) Can you tell us about the characteristics and peculiarities of the new edition of the Chouchin lamp?
The collection has evolved into a more immediate expression of light, closer to the initial reference: Japanese paper lanterns. The curved part of the pendant diffuser is now white and bright once lit, while the ring that underlines its design is more discreet and refined. This new version takes the collection towards a more classic and timeless aesthetic.
6) What inspires you the most or at what time of day do you focus on creativity?
I don’t have a specific creative ritual. I organize my time as needed or as required. I now live in the countryside, which is a great source of inspiration for me. Of course, the work of many artists, designers and architects also inspires me. But more often archetypes or forgotten objects are the starting point of my creative thinking.
7) After the SuperSalone in September, what does Salone del Mobile Milano mean to you?
Salone del Mobile Milano is a celebration of the art of living according to a multitude of cultures, a praise of design-related crafts, a celebration of our domestic environment. Sometimes it can also create a saturation effect, due to the abundance of proposals and exhibited creations. Personally, it makes me aware of my role as a designer and of the meaning and direction my work might take in the future.
8) What can you tell us about your plans for the upcoming months?
This year I obtained a diploma in ceramic processing techniques. I am therefore thinking of combining my activity as an industrial designer with that of a designer-artisan. I am also working on some projects, such as a mirror called “Lucarne” for the French company Moustache. Anyway, most of my current projects will not see the light before 2022!
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