Erwan Bouroullec

Name: Erwan Bouroullec
Profession: Designer
Location: Paris
Age: 45

Questionnaire: Erwan Bouroullec

Describe yourself in a single sentence?
– A man dreaming of a jungle in a city (very actual).

What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?
– Fortunately and unfortunately, work. But I have to say I am a night guy, morning is always a time of guiltiness.

What are you working on right now?
– Many things, but one of my favourite at the moment is some textile development I am doing with the company Febrik. But also some seatings I do with Vitra, and making some stools by hand at my house in the countryside. Then coding on my computer, then making a sofa like a bag, then collecting sticks in the Forrest.

If you could give your younger self any advice what would it be?
– Don’t forget to learn music playing.

Is talent something you’re born with or something you can learn?
– Well, behind talent there is something else first: the desire to do something. Basically, talent is always to provide something else, which is not the same as digging into knowledge. From this point of view, yes I have always been making things.

What do you think about sports?
– I don’t practice, at all… But I love the drama inside sports. There is a part inside humans that is about winning and losing, and I love the sensations behind it. Not the big win, but the excitement behind a bet, or the energy of a football game. So, for example, I love listening to fans songs, which the best example is Liverpool’s «You’ll Never Walk Alone».

I also love to play Chess with some of my best friends, I like the excitement of the game. I also watched deeply the game between Lee Sedol and Alphago. But I am useless to my own body.
Which is a pity.

Why do you create?
– Because that is the best method I have to talk to people.

What’s your biggest load?
– I don’t understand the question, So let’s guess.
Right now my biggest load would be to understand better, the balance between normality and instagrammable fanciness.

What is your favourite book and why?
– I have many, but for architects and people loving the building of life: «A Pattern Language» by Christopher Alexander, you could consider it as a yoga methodology applied to all physical scale of the constructed world.

For strange people I have «Demain les Chiens» by Clifford d Simak (English title: City). It is about the evolution and disappearing of humankind, but not as a catastrophe.

For crying, «Chaos calmo» by Sandro Veronesi.

Then for chess people, Stefan Zweig's «Le Joueur d’échec» (English title: A chess story).

Then about making the worst world ever, «La 25e Heure» by Constantin Virgil Gheorghiu (English title: The 25th Hour). There the author assembles the nazi system to the raise of the machine, I read it again recently and could see much truth of our modern pragmatism. Quite scaring actually.

Do you listen to music when you work?
– Yes, but mainly at night, not in the studio. And I am stuck in the same area I was as a teenager. I believe music is a lot of link to memory in my case. It can be a very strong energy to me. Right now I am in between Ennio Morricone and the stone roses.

We have heard rumours that you’re a good DJ, is that true?
– In my dreams, I would perform for a friendly crowd. In reality, I did only once, and some parts were fun and emotional, but it did not last more than 30 minutes. But probably the best was to play Britney Spears «Baby One More Time» after «All Tomorrow’s Parties » by Nico and The Velvet Underground. It was not to mock people or create a scandal, but both songs have incredible power and would make people react.

How do you know when it’s good?
– Right now I feel more and more insecure, I am less sure of myself, and I suffer more from work than ever. I believe this answer the question.

What historical event fascinates you the most?
– Actually, it’s a long-term social issue, about being a gay in society, and also changing your gender. To my point of view, it’s amazing the progress that’s been done there. Still not the end of the game, and many fights to be fought, but still it’s encouraging that mankind can move on this. Then next, legitimately is the women expansion, which is more than needed.

Name your favourite restaurant?
It’s closed, it was called «Chez Hypolene» and was located at Rue Saint-Maur in Paris.

Photography by Erwan Bouroullec, February, 2021.