Swiss-French designer Julie Richoz studied at ECAL (where she now also teaches) and set up her design studio in Paris in 2015, following a time assisting designer Pierre Charpin. Whether furniture or design objects, her pieces are characterised by their brightness and lightness. ‘I have been following her works since her student days,’ says Nendo’s Oki Sato, who named Richoz as one of 25 creative leaders of the future in Wallpaper’s 25th anniversary ‘5x5’ project. ‘I can see the DNA of the Bouroullec brothers in her, but her unique sense for colour and outstanding details makes her completely original.’ 

Not content with collecting clients such as Louis Poulsen, Hay, Tectona, Galerie Kreo and Mattiazzi, Richoz won the 2019 Swiss Design Award for her commitment ‘to exploring ancient, including extra-European, crafts and integrating them into contemporary object design.’ Her objects, read the prize’s statement, ‘are created in close connection with specific sites of production to affirm the value of local and traditional crafts.’

Striped rugs by Julie Richoz for Hay in green, beige and blue
Tapis, for Hay

Her distinctive design language was defined through design residencies including CIRVA/ Research Center on Art and Glass in Marseille (2013), the Cité de la Céramique in Sèvres  (2013), and Casa Wabi, Bosco Sodi’s residency program at the Tadao Ando-designed art foundation in Mexico (2017). For the latter, Richoz collaborated with a palm weaver from Mechoacán, creating  a series of minimalist room dividers which explored different degrees of transparency, using weaving patterns from traditional to more innovative. 

Recent projects include Shed, part of the ‘Knit!’ exhibition – Kvadrat’s initiative involving 28 emerging global designers who were invited to create furniture and objects using the Kvadrat Febrik textile range. Following research into the history of textile architecture and nomadic structures, she created a work of mini-architecture with the ‘Plecto’ fabric collection, exploring the way textiles can create space and structure. ‘I like the fact that a space can be formed just with textile surfaces,’ she said. ‘Sometimes just a mono surface like a roof or a floor has the ability to create the abstraction of a home, a welcoming situation.’

Wooden bowls shot from above in natural and blue stained wood
‘Portobello’ bowls, for Mattiazzi. Photography: Gerhardt Kellerman

Throughout her work, her strong interest for craft techniques emerges with projects such as the ‘Giro’ tableware for Trame, made from hand-thrown terracotta and following a mathematical grid, or the ‘Noise’ and ‘Stereo’ rugs, both handmade in Morocco by local artisans. 

Commissioned by Italian brand Mattiazzi to create a series of accessories, she recently unveiled the ‘Portobello’ bowls, a duo of organically-shaped objects in solid ash, available in a natural, oiled finish or stained in a distinctive blue shade. When unveiling the pieces, she said: ‘what interests me is the savoir-faire, the precision in the way materials are employed, and that things are done with passion.’ §

bookshelf made of recycled material in seafoam green
Colourful glass vases by Julie Richoz
‘Vases Oreilles’, created during the CIRVA residence in Marseille 
Vases in stained glass featuring a circular form in the middle

‘Isla’ vases, 2019. Photography: courtesy Side Gallery