MOHD interviews: Patrick Jouin reveals the beauty of intelligent design

11 January 2022

Patrick Jouin

The architectural method, the search for the right material and the right production process are the concrete foundations of an approach with which Jouin has conquered the world

In 2009 the Center Pompidou in Paris dedicated a monographic exhibition to his work, in 2011 he was awarded the Compasso d’Oro and over the years he has collaborated with companies such as Cassina, Zanotta, Porada, Pedrali, Fiam. Yet Patrick Jouin, born in 1967 in Nantes, has remained with his feet on the ground. Anti-star rather than archistar, he has a very solid approach to design. He tells his method with extreme naturalness, guided by logic, by the search for the right solution and appears very far from the coup-de- théâtre that others are looking for. Together with Sanjit Manku he has designed prestigious architectural projects such as the renovations of the La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech and the Montparnasse station in Paris and the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in New York. From large buildings to furnishings and accessories, his work is characterized by design and aesthetic consistency but also by the ability to imagine surprisingly beautiful solutions. Smart solutions that grant the user not only functionality but also a moment of amazement and enchantment.

Magma table by Fiam

What is the common thread between your large-scale architectural projects and your work as an industrial designer?

The common point is the beginning. Simply the blank page on which, everything can come as much as draw a point, a line, an ellipse. In fact, you can draw anything you want. Whether it is a very small chair or a huge train station. For me, there is no difference between these different scales. We always start from a general intention, from an intuition to enter little by little in a feasibility, in a poetry, in this sensitive relationship that it could exist between the object or the space and the human beings.

Is there a material you feel particularly inspired by?

There are no materials that particularly inspire me. We must find the right material for a project. Before designing an object, an architecture or any form, I decide beforehand what will be the material and the techniques used to realize it. 

Bluemoon armchair by Coedition

How was the collaboration with Porada born and in particular the Mary Bar ?

The collaboration with Porada started a long time ago. Porada has such a very particular savoir-faire, very sharp with the wood. The sensuality of their approach to wood is very close to my way of designing, so it’s kind of obviousness to work with them. Specially for the Mary bar. This poetic, elegant and delicate piece is a lovely additional and autonomous unit, designed to exist in harmony in interiors. I also designed Ella and Louis when I was in the US. It is inspired by the history of American furniture, and more particularly by the furniture of the Shakers Design that I like for much, you can see that in the line of the armrest. The chairs I designed for Porada, I wanted each with of these to be a tribute to wood, which is the material of the future. 

Mary Bar by Porada

How the project of Elipse chair for Zanotta was born?

Zanotta is one of the most beautiful companies in the history of Italian design. Achille Castiglioni, who is a designer we all love, was able to put seriousness and humor into his projects. This impertinence that we will find in his work and in Zanotta’s work was a source of inspiration for the Elipse chair project. I wanted to make a lightweight aluminum chair that was extremely sturdy and at the same time had a little functional wink in it with a little hole in so that you could move it around as you want.

Elipse chair by Zanotta

For me, a chair is used to sit but also to gather and create a moment of friendship, of sharing. So in these moments, the furniture need to be easily mobile. It is a practical object that serves these moments.

Porada Mary Bar
Zanotta Elipse Chair
Coedition Bluemoon Armchair
Coedition Bluemoon Armchair
Fiam Magma Table
Fiam Magma Table

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