A TRENDLAND exclusive interview with designer and Ligne Roset collaborator, Philippe Nigro.
Born in Nice, France, Philippe Nigro studied Applied Arts at La Martinière, Lyon and received a DSAA of Design from L’Ecole Boulle.
At the same time, he designed the Ailleurs garden in Chaumont-sur-Loire and the Flac light (winner of a Habitat competition) in conjunction with C. Gardet.
Since 1999, Nigro has worked as a freelance designer, and also with studio De Lucchi in Milan, where he has participated in numerous projects developing products, furniture, lighting, interior architecture, events and scenography for Olivetti, Poltrona Frau, Artemide, Alias, Caimi, Interni, Feg, Listone Giordano and more. In 2009 the sofa line “Intersection” began a continuing collaboration with Ligne Roset, who edited and developed the designs, producing it under the name “Confluences.”
[HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGNS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT?]
I give importance to prospecting and experimenting. Design should create a real relationship and an affective rapport between user and object. The research is also a pleasure – linking concepts with forms and volumes that extend from materials to colors and technologies. Mine is not the research of “a style” but more the research of something I want to bring and to say, which could please the final user … and me. The prospecting allows fantastic openings of surprising and unexpected solutions. I also like to play with the systems (mechanics, chromatics, plastics). For me, they are the aesthetics that are fundamental for expressing an important idea, which is the possibility of change, evolution and transformation of objects. The idea of movement. It’s useful because it allows the idea of a possible alternative in a situation.
[SINCE YOU’VE BEEN DESIGNING, HAVE THERE BEEN ANY NOTABLE CHANGES IN THE INDUSTRY – EITHER COMMERCIALLY OR FROM A DESIGN PERSPECTIVE?]
Yes of course. Between my design studies and work (more or less 15 years) there was a real change concerning technologies; the way to work on a project and the way to develop it in the industry is always changing, and quickly.
There is the theme of new technologies and also the theme of being conscious of the environment. This is a real challenge for the designer and also for the producer because we have to try to learn how to make objects cleaner.
Commercially, I would say that both of the act of creating objects and trying to produce them more responsibly has lead us to objects that make sense and that can live for a long time.
I think that the end user is always more sensible to consider this but now it may also be becoming a commercial argument.
[AS WELL, HOW HAS YOUR AESTHETIC CHANGED IF AT ALL?]
I’m developing a concept of shapes and function that can make the users closer to the objects and closer to nature. The ideas of asymmetry and imperfections are important for me because they help give designs a soul. This may be because human beings are not perfect. The first and most important thing to respect though is, of course, the functionality.
[ON LIGNE ROSET]
I think we share the same desire to create and innovate and to not just produce for the sake of producing, but creating for the sake of creating something good that can sensitize the user. Ligne Roset has a love for the well-done work, especially of sofas, and I have the passion of trying to make objects alive and dynamic by their shapes and by their use. Sometimes we want to push the limits, and also in the way of production.
I did my first project for Ligne Roset two years ago when I had the “aide à projet VIA”. I had the opportunity to realize the prototype of the INTERSECTION sofa. Then it was exposed on the Paris Furniture fair and M. Roset saw it and decided to produce it. We developed it together and we called it CONFLUENCES, a version of intersection more adapted to the production and more a democratic piece for a larger public.
Ligne Roset represents quality and innovation in the French furniture world. It’s a factory with an open mind and a desire to experiment and surprise with products, but to also maintain a traditional line with targeted, classic clients. So, I think that the real value of Ligne Roset is in their support of both very innovative and also classical pieces; it’s a way to make design and furniture design in a democratically way.
LR can reach so many kinds of people because of the accessibility of its products and the different styles. This makes them popular but not at the cost of high quality materials and designs. They believe in the projects even if the products are unconventional. They have the courage to include them in their collections. It works, the public likes Ligne Roset. It’s also a big factory with production sites, which means that they are really involved with and attentive to the clients as well as the designers – from the prototyping and development to the production.
I’m inspired by contemporary art, music, cinema, architecture and travels – all of the things that help us to understand our time. Observing the existing to make not only one new object but an innovative and affective collection that represents, in shape and functionality, the period we are currently in. I spent a few days in New York and had the opportunity to visit many art galleries and art centers. It was a breath of fresh air that’s made me inspired for future projects.