Philippe Malouin’s nostalgic industrial office furniture for Salon 94 Design
An exclusive look at the London-based designer’s first office furniture range to debut at Design Miami/Basel
Steel wire rings, rubber and nylon are just some of the raw materials designer Philippe Malouin has been working with lately. He’s not uprooting his design career and turning to factory work, instead he has been rustling up his first collection of office furniture for Salon 94 Design, all made with industrial materials, that will launch at Design Miami/Basel next week (11-16 June).
This collaboration follows on from Design Miami 2017. Salon 94 Design co-founder Paul Johnson spotted the brutalist concrete Core bench by Malouin (Wallpaper* Designer of the Year in 2018, and a 2019 judge) that was created for the Kalejdohill project in Sweden. Johnson was swiftly keen to create a version for the gallery, which showcased at the Floridian fair. There is a similar type of robust energy in this vibrant collection, which uses an assortment of techniques: from welding to casting, to develop the modern workplace pieces.
‘We were interested in studying office archetypes and reinterpreting them using industrial materials and processes,’ says Malouin. Taking into consideration the pacy evolution of office environments, from executive spaces in skyscrapers to the hyper-networking co-working culture, the London-based designer has realised experimental forms including a translucent sculptural seat in rubber and a chair in steel that riffs off the classic executive office chair in its structure, with its nuts and bolts exposed. A monolithic cargo container-style sideboard packs a punch too, but the fact that it exists in a bright, sunny yellow tone, and is made out of nylon, adds a playful slant.
‘So many offices are grey and plain. Some vibrancy is very important,’ Malouin explains. But these colours were not artificially injected into the collection, they are indicative of the process. ‘The colours are a direct result from working with these specific industrial materials as they are standard colours. I thought it was important to use the standard colours materials come in in order to communicate process’.
The collection could deck out an entire office; smaller tools come in the form of sturdy pen pots and bookends in steel, wall hooks and even a 1970s-esque nylon telephone. Malouin’s vision for the office offers a fresh take on archetypes, edging these away from grayscale and corporate.
‘So many offices are grey and plain. Some vibrancy is very important’
As for his own office? ‘[It’s] a jumble of materials and samples, and experiments, and it is packed to the brim! It has lots of plants and nice daylight’. Hopefully more modern masterpieces we get to experience soon. §