As the industry's best converged at Milan Design Week in April, Swiss-based Atelier Oï met them with a new creation: Stairs, a glass-blown lamp made for Lasvit. The complex structure saw the design trio venturing into the aesthetics of Czech Art Deco. Delving into such varied disciplines is what makes Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Raymond a popular choice for luxury brands — Bulgari has had them tap into their olfactory senses for a special flask, while Hermès has utilised the trio's flair for creating emotive works for their past installations.
Louis Vuitton is another name worth mentioning. One of the their best-loved collaborations, the 25-year-old design studio created a hammock and stool for Objets Nomades, a collection of foldable furniture and travel accessories first introduced in 2012. Inspired by Louis Vuitton's knitwear, the hammock consists of woven leather strips reinforced by gilded rivets, with a removable leather headrest for extra comfort. Accompanying this travel essential is a stool, which folds away to a compact form that's easily carried around with a handle. Made of a sturdy outer membrane wrapped in soft Nomade leather over an aluminum structure, it brings to mind traditional Japanese origami sensibilities.
Now featuring 17 items, the Objets Nomades range is presented for the first time in Asia. In town for its presentation last week, Patrick Raymond of Atelier Oï shares the emotions involved in creating such products that both inspire and gratify the senses.
Three of you make up Atelier Oï — Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and yourself. How do three creative minds work together cohesively and efficiently?
It is a chemical function between us, a chain reaction of creativity dedicated to the project. For us, the project is the hero and not the ego.
You've said before that the visit to Louis Vuitton's Asnières workshop provided much inspiration for this collaboration. How so?
The chance to understand and feel the essence of a House that's dedicated to protect a fantastic know-how, and the chance to be invited into the family house — the place of the very beginning of the story of Louis Vuitton. We also met the artisans, the people who know how to transform a material into a beautiful object with their hands.
Obviously quality are one of the factors that make up good furniture design. What follows after that?
Form following function is not sufficient. For us, form must also follow emotion. Objets Nomades is the perfect example of storytelling objects derived and developed with passion and emotion. For us, it is important for the final user to be touched by emotion. It will be an object with a story and a soul.
Why a hammock?
Our first idea was to develop a kind of beautiful object in reference to the English explorer of the last century. So we decided to create a place to sit and sleep in. The most important thing for a hammock is for it to be extremely comfortable. I think if you have a chance to test it, you will buy it.
Meanwhile, the foldable stool had origami-like references. What led you in that direction?
Our idea was to develop a folding chair that is easy to carry. We were inspired by a paper skirt of Hussein Chalayan — it reminded us of the beginnings of Louis Vuitton, who took much care when packing clothes. The principle of origami was evident when we began to play with the paper material.
Speaking about travel and design, is there a place in the world whose design culture you admire greatly?
Probably Japan. We are really fascinated by the skills and the culture dedicated to protect the know-how of the manufacturer. I think we can see this love in our project for Louis Vuitton, and it is also a part of Louis Vuitton to do the same, like in the Japanese culture, to transmit and to take care of a precious know-how.
Louis Vuitton's Objets Nomades collection with Atelier Oï is on display and available for purchase from now till 30 June at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison.