Montreal-born designer Philippe Malouin has been racking up accolades in his burgeoning career.
While studying industrial design at the University of Montreal, Malouin got a scholarship to study at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris. After earning a bachelor’s degree in design from the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, he landed a coveted job with renowned British designer Tom Dixon. “The learning curve was extremely high,” he says.
A little more than a year later, Malouin set up his own studio in London, in 2009. And in 2012 alone, he was named W Hotels Designer of the Future and Wallpaper magazine honoured him with a design award for best use of material for a rug made of chain mail.
He credits the influence of brutalism in his work, which can be seen in his frequent use of basic geometric figures, to growing up surrounded by that type of architecture in Montreal, from Habitat 67 to Place Bonaventure.
Whatever the style that influences a piece, he says, good design should stand the test of time. “If it lasts longer than a season, that’s a good start,” he says.
Rightly billed as a rising star in the design world, Malouin will be speaking about his process at the Interior Design Show in Toronto this weekend. We asked him to discuss his last three projects.
As a winner of the designer of the future award, Malouin was commissioned to create a work riffing on the idea of spark and light. Inspired by his life in London – a city not known for its overabundance of sunlight – he created “artificial windows.” Each slat is lined with LEDs that replicate the colour temperature of daylight at sunrise, or 5,000 kelvins. The light bounces of the wall to make it feel even more like a window. “We were quite happy that it turned out to be, well, functional,” he says.
A little brutalism with your bread? Commissioned to create something inspired by food and moulds in the food industry, Malouin came up with this beechwood mitre box that allows you to make perfect 90 and 45 degree cuts in a loaf of bread. “The cool thing about the mitre box is that it contains all of the bread crumbs, so you can cut your bread and then you just tip the box over in the bin,” Malouin says.
Another commission (this one by Swarovski to be shown at the Design Museum in London), Blur features crystal beads strung on a metal thread that is motorized in the centre. When it begins turning, the beads whip around in a, well, blur, creating the illusion of concentric rings to create “a non-static light painting,” Malouin says. He liked this use of the material because, in motion with light shot at the beads, “they would come alive.”