Here is the second part of the interview with Hugo Delavelle. You will discover where his inspirations come from. He will also give his opinion on multifunction furniture and responsible furniture.
In your opinion, do decoration and therefore responsible furniture have an impact on our moods and our well-being?
It has an impact on our way of life. The question is complicated when you take into account the environmental impact. I don't create four collections a year like people who are into fashion. Personally, I want to make furniture that is as little influenced by trends and colors that go away very quickly.
I am more for the timeless, ensuring products with a long lifespan in addition to their repairability. We are very attentive to the products that make up the furniture. With natural oils, formaldehyde-free glues. All this aims to have the least polluted indoor air possible in terms of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
The fact of oiling the wood, of not wrapping it in a truly waterproof film such as varnish or mother-of-pearl also allows it to keep its ability to absorb humidity. This contributes to the homogenization of the hygrometry rate in the air. We create our products to be as pleasant as possible. As much on their functionality, ergonomics and comfort. It's tricky to say that I improve the daily life of users through design.
Do you have a project that you dream of realizing one day with your responsible furniture?
At the professional level, if we can make the world a better place on our scale, that's good enough. We want our employees to be as fulfilled as possible. If possible that it gives ideas to other entrepreneurs and that we manage to produce locally without killing the planet. Hence our production of responsible furniture.
What are your sources of inspiration for your responsible furniture?
Nature, agriculture, forest. When we talk about circular economy, in the forest there are no chemical inputs, weedkillers or pesticides. The flora will renew itself automatically. The leaves that fall each autumn and which will decompose in the ground will be able to nourish all the life in the ground. This will produce humus which will nourish the tree. We really have something circular without input and which is infinitely renewable. Nothing is lost. Each branch and leaf that falls will become the substrate on which the tree will grow.
I am a country man, my father was a forester and I live in the countryside. I do my vegetable garden, market garden, fruit tree. I really like this model, which is more virtuous than excessive consumption. When you're a designer it's a little contradictory because you're supposed to create the need as much as possible to push the consumer to buy. And then on the other hand I aim to consume as little as possible and to live a little in autarky.
Perhaps you will create a new form of design?
We call it eco-design or slow design. This is what I try to practice with my responsible furniture. As I said, at the base of our creative process is the environmental impact. The latter feeds our creative process. This makes it easier for me to design and produce consumer goods because they are produced to reduce the environmental impact as much as possible.
We select trees that have grown in this type of naturally renewing forest. These are not trees from monoculture plantations. We have oak, beech, or walnut that have grown naturally. We don't farm in the sense that we only plant trees to cut them down after twenty-five years and plant new ones. It is a natural selection.
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Do you have any recommendations for brands or individuals?
Among the creators whose approach is original and that I like, I am thinking of Sébastien Cordoléani. He created the Archipel leather goods brand. It sells seamless and handcrafted leather products. He's a more conventional designer, he doesn't come from leather goods know-how at all. It's interesting to have actors who manage everything internally, who design, who produce. It gives a lot of things when the designer is linked to the manufacturing process.
In terms of eco-design, there is Philippe Riesling who is in Strasbourg. He makes design a bit of scenography.
Finally, what do you think of the Pegboard and the modular design? Should we prefer a single function object? Or does the multifunction provide solutions in line with our lifestyles?
The Pegboard, I knew but without knowing the name. This is often what we have in trucks, craftsmen's vehicles or in workshops. These perforated wall panels are very functional for hanging tools. I didn't know the name Pegboard and I discovered it with Quark thanks to the circular booster. With the multifunction, I am always careful. I give design lessons to craftsmen and I often tell them that on a Swiss army knife, there is nothing that works well. With the saw you won't make planks, with the blade you won't do haute cuisine, with the toothpick you won't pick your teeth well, there's nothing that works well in a Swiss army knife. It has lots of functions, it's great, it fits well in the pocket but which function works well? None.
This is the risk when you put a lot of functions in an object. You have to succeed in responding to these functions correctly. Conversely, there are aspects that are interesting, for example the fact that it is scalable. We can configure ourselves according to the evolution of our needs, if we change place, or activity. But also if we change age. So there is an interest in that but which I sometimes find utopian.
Society and its development
The society in which we live means that people tend to change rather than develop their interior. The simple aspect of things means that we limit their duration and the desire for renewal. I'm working on this on my collections: I try to give objects a second life by offering to take back furniture that people want to part with. Since the furniture is of good quality, we can recondition it.
The real challenge now will be to succeed in keeping our products in good condition and still attractive to others, even after first use. Today we talk about the functional economy. I think there is a real challenge in no longer selling furniture but selling the function of sitting down or eating. A restorer will change his furniture every five or ten years, what will he do with it afterwards? Even if with the advent of digital we all think Leboncoin. There are possibilities that allow these objects to be repaired. There is, in my opinion, a lot of things to be done to change consumption habits and marketing habits.
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