Patrick Norguet

A leading name on the international design scene, Patrick Norguet is one of the most respected French designers of contemporary times. The designer has a rational approach to his projects, believing that each object of his should respond to real needs. Norguet has made a name for himself working with various brands like Cappellini, Kristalia, Glas Italia, Poltrona Frau, Alias, Pedrali and many more.
On the eve of the MAISON&OBJET PARIS show, we got an opportunity to speak to the renowned designer. Excerpts are below:

FAE: What attracted you to the world of designing?

Patrick Norguet : This is more than an attraction, it is a need! The need to create, think, listen to innovate, design and propose items that make our quality environment.

FAE: Studying at the ESDI in Paris, what was the one design principle you learnt there which you still follow today?

Patrick Norguet : My design studies have allowed me to take the time to study art, architecture, graphic design, painting, culture and design; In short, a set of disciplines that allowed me to acquire a culture necessary to understand our environment and thus determine my place and my role as a designer.

FAE: The Rainbow Chair for Cappellini was a turning point in your career. What was your thought behind creating it?

Patrick Norguet : At that time, I began my freelance designer activity after leaving Louis Vuitton. The Rainbow chair is part of a research work on the subject, without coercion, without control or brief … The Rainbow is born during this period of freedom, from that work on transparency and color. It’s a chair without design, without quest of any shape, an archetype of the chair! If you ask a child to draw you a chair he will design the Rainbow shape…

FAE: What inspired you to start your own design firm?

Patrick Norguet : Things have befallen without efforts or without real strategy. It is the desire to innovate, create and draw but mostly encounters that naturally push me to create my own studio in 2000.

FAE: Between furniture designing and renovating interior spaces, which process do you enjoy more?

Patrick Norguet : What interests me most are the projects that make sense, that have a real justification in responding to real needs! I enjoy designing objects and singular universes. I see many projects around me who are sometimes “noisy”, resulting from the need to be in “the times” … It does not interest me; what drives me is to work with people and, businesses with which I share a certain vision, free people, free to innovate and take risks! This is the only way for a designer to work in the right direction. I think more and more that the opposite is unnecessary and it creates confusion and boredom. I have the great opportunity to work on these two disciplines, but I must admit emphasize the industrial world, because the process is more organized and mestizo.

FAE: What makes the Fly armchair for Offect such a popular design?

Patrick Norguet : It is indeed for me a simple product that could become a popular product with great distribution. The shape and design of the seat is the result of a long work focus on ergonomics. It seems to be very designed but its silhouette is really the result of an essential function: extreme comfort, thanks to the tension of a technical textile fixed on a structure, nothing more! Unfortunately, this product was created for a company not really suitable for this market.

FAE: Can you share some details about Alias’ Kayak collection of chairs and tables?

Patrick Norguet : My collaboration with Alias now goes back many years; This is an Italian company with a great demand and a beautiful design culture. The Kayak chair was a request from Alias. It was about to draw a wooden chair: challenging as there is a lot of wooden chairs on the market! So I tried to use wood through various techniques specific to the wood processing: a plywood shell and a solid wood frame. The project comes down to the assembly of its two parts. It is through this simplicity that Kayak differs from many other wooden chairs.

FAE: Pedrali’s Fox armchair has recently won a Muuuz International Award. Tell us about its design.

Patrick Norguet : Fox is a very interesting project that I like. Working with Pedrali was for me the way out of the sometimes elitist approach of overpriced products. Fox is a product “generous”, accessible to all… The ratio between design and price is fair. How to bring to market a comfortable chair, elegant, and I think, timeless : for that, I work on the combination of two materials, plastic injection and solid wood ; two separate materials joined together. Throughout the process of developing Fox, I have kept in mind it needs “to speak several languages”, lives in several environmental, restaurants and public or private places.

FAE: Having enjoyed such tremendous success in your work, what do awards and accolades mean to you?

Patrick Norguet : It’s always nice to hear or receive positive reactions for my creations, but I keep in mind that this is just part of my job and my obligations. My clients expect me successful products; so I have a request for a sometimes very extreme demand so I always look ahead, not “rest on my laurels”!

FAE: What are the new projects we can expect from you at MAISON&OBJET PARIS?

Patrick Norguet : Maison & Objet Paris is not actually the fair of new products but rather a gathering of buyers. The brands for which I work, are more represented in the Milan Furniture Fair : the main stage of the design! However, I will be present with Ethimo for which I had the pleasure of drawing the stand. They we will also present the products I designed for the brand, as Nicolette chair and other products. Moreover, I will present with EMU, the Nef collection we presented this year in Milan.

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