Having recently won the W Hotels ‘Designer of the Future' Award and Wallpaper's ‘Best Use of Material' Award, he lives in London, where he operates his own design studio; serves as the director of POST-OFFICE - an architectural and interior design practice; and teaches at the Royal College of Arts.

Meet Canadian born Philippe Malouin, who has been working out of his own studio since 2009, after working for the British designer Tom Dixon. Malouin holds a Bachelor's degree in Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven, and since graduating he has built up a diverse portfolio which includes tables, rugs, chairs, lights, art objects and installations. His latest installation is “Movements”, a collaboration with Caesarstone that started in early 2015 for IDS Toronto.

Philippe Malouin, Palazzo Serbelloni

“Movements” is a two parts installation, on view at the Grand Palace Palazzo Serbelloni during the 2015 Milan design week. The installation examines unexpected use of Caesarstone surface material and process-based design. The first part of the installation - "Swings" - an interactive installation made from an 8-piece swing-set created from new 2015 surface designs will be displayed at The Palazzo’s Grand Hall. The adjacent room will host the second part - "20 planters" - a handmade group of planters that documents Philippe Malouin’s process of experimentation with Caesarstone’s surface material and technique.

Planters by Philippe Malouin

Planters by Philippe Malouin

In order to explore and create "20 planters", presented in smaller scale in Toronto early this year, Malouin moved for a whole month to Toulouse (France), and worked with his team in a factory. In that factory he found some vintage Caesarstone surfaces, not in use for some 20 years. “We went to an industrial factory, a fully equipped solid surface transformation facility, and pretty much handmade almost all of the planters”, says Malouin, “using all sorts of techniques - polishing, sculpting, inlaying and so on".

“Our way of working is very often making experiments with materials; designing by making. For me, the starting point was exploration of the material, which is how we tend to start most projects, even for furniture companies. For example, we made a sofa for "Established & Sons" and the actual shape of the sofa evolved as we experimented with foam, folding it, stitching it, and making experiments. The actual shape came as a result of our method of working, not because we used a computer or a pen".

 

How did you react when you got to Toulouse and found the vintage Caesarstone surfaces?

"We were really excited because suddenly we had retro-style colors like Dusty Pinks, Mint Greens and Cobalt Blues, that we mixed with Caesarstone’s current collection. It's a really interesting mix between the industrial and the handmade, between the old and the new. When you are able to make people forget it's a flat material, it transforms the vision of what people think Caesarstone is. I hope people will feel more creative with the material as a potential design element after they see the installation״.

In what way?

"We mixed all of the stones together, in a much unexpected manner. If you plan to buy a new countertop there is nothing stopping you from mixing colors, maybe making an island in one color and the sink in another. I guess it is just about having the possibility of being more creative with it. Changing the perception is extremely important and can allow other people to be more creative in their home environment.

“And this is only one part, or one direction, of the ‘movement’, which gave the installation its name: the very experimental process of design work that we do. The other part obviously comes from the movements of the swing".

Movements by Philippe Malouin

How did you come up with the idea of the swings?

"After Caesarstone approached us we did a little bit of research and came up with the idea of a sculptural playground. The actual idea of the swing came from the process of organizing and selecting Caesarstone samples on our work tables. We kind of organized them in different ways to visualize which ones we want to use, and one stack was organized in a circular fashion. We already knew we wanted to do the playground, so we played with the materials and thought the circular would be adequate for our idea. It was kind of an accident, if you like, it just happened this way.

"At the same time we wanted these samples to be used to invite people to sit on them and use them for something else, to look at them in a different manner than the ways in which these samples were previously shown. I think it was a big leap of faith on Caesarstone's part to trust us with this. They were a bit surprised at first, but after I showed them how we work and previous examples of our work, they believed in us. We were given a carte blanche to experiment, and this is not something that happens every day".

20 Planters by Philippe Malouin

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