Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec might design high-end, cutting-edge work yet with their new project - Ready Made Curtain, for Kvadrat - a self-assembly curtain-making kit, they're on a mission to demystify design. 'We wanted to create a very accessible piece, almost as easy and quick to install as putting a poster on a wall. We hate the technical aspect of curtain-dressing.'
The Bouroullecs have created other products for Kvadrat, including North Tiles (walls made of fabric-covered tiles) and Clouds (an offshoot of this whose tiles are more 3D) - both mainly for the contract market. Launching at upcoming fair IMM Cologne (from 14 to 20 January), Ready Made Curtain is Kvadrat's first product for domestic consumers.
Kvadrat initially worked with a consultancy that interviewed consumers about what they look for in a curtain, then commissioned the Bouroullecs to create this determinedly low-tech, user-friendly, elegantly pared-down design (soon available from homeware shops).
A standard kit contains a curtain - in an opaque or semi-translucent fabric - two wooden hanging fittings, pegs and a cord. Subconsciously or otherwise, the French brothers plumped for a tricolour palette of red, navy and white for all the components.
At their Paris studio, the Bouroullecs showed us how to rustle up their confection: the cord is threaded into the wooden blocks fixed to the wall either side of the curtain; these contain a winding mechanism that pulls the cord taut. The pegs clip on to the cord, then the curtain. Et voilà!
The Bouroullecs wanted to avoid a 'rustic, heavy' design, too - hence the slender cord rather than a fusty curtain pole. 'But we hit an impasse when looking for a strong alternative to a pole,' admits Ronan. Fortuitously, on perusing a 1950s, Japanese catalogue that had a picture of a guitar, the brothers had their Eureka moment. 'The string tension in guitars gave us our idea for the cord.'