To mark the launch of the Marien152 Collection for Coalesse, Global Design Director John Hamilton sat down (virtually) with the collection’s designer, Arik Levy, to talk about the latest introduction, the inspiration behind it, and collaborating with the Coalesse Design Group digitally.
An artist, designer, technician, and photographer, Levy works across multiple disciplines from his studio in Paris. Best known publicly for his sculptures – such as his signature Rock pieces – his works and products are designed with a focus on the importance of people.
Read more from their conversation below.
Arik Levy: The idea came from thinking about every time I bought a chair since I was born – there’s always something added to it – a little cushion on top that makes it a little bit more comfortable or something that adapts the person who bought it and so on. This makes sense in an environment where everybody does their own thing, but in the working environment it doesn’t. So I thought, “How can we design a single product that fits the needs of many different people?” When I got the chair a couple of days ago, and thinking about the time that passed throughout the process, what was encouraging was that the inspiration and concept of the chair stayed authentic to what it was originally.
AL: What I like about it is that there isn’t a specific curve in it. It’s completely different. It didn’t have the same [design] parameters of other products, and I like that because I think designing this kind of chair is not a product, it’s a challenge. And I think the challenge has been achieved because it’s there and because it’s convinced you, John.
AL: I think we managed to. It did take a couple of rounds, and not every choice went from point A to point B in a smooth way, but we did get there in the end. I think we got most of the really big parts of the chair to where I wanted them to be. What I liked was that there were no compromises – there were solutions, so in this case it’s all good for me.
AL: Yes, I think this environmental stewardship is super important and I think it’s something that we must not only consider in our design processes and development, but talk about in the discussions between us as well. We were very much aware of it as we worked through the design process, but we also want to project that stewardship with the chair.
AL: Working virtually during the pandemic has really influenced my behavior. Some interesting lessons came from the people I worked with – you, the designers, the engineers – as the process that we experienced was so different. We had to go through every little millimeter and zoom in and zoom out and zoom in and zoom out. Not always just because it was a design obsession, but because it’s an accumulation of many different ideas and opinions. It was an experience we had in Europe but then it changed again working with people from two different continents which made it still feel very new. You also said how do we work together to get to what I see as an important design element of the overarching solution yet achieve it in a way that’s manufacturable. It’s that flexibility that makes for the easiest types of people to work with I find.
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