What is the history behind your trio ?
Julien and Claude met in primary school. I met them in middle-school. We have been friends ever since. Julien and Claude trained in applied Arts pretty early. Back then, they wanted to be instrument makers. They studied cabinet making at École Boulle, a renowned school for applied arts. I studied engineering at the École des Arts et Métiers. We got together at the end of our studies and created IOTA Element. I manage projects and take care of the communication. They do the research study, conception and fabrication. Our dynamic is gratifyingly complimentary, and our specializations workout just perfectly for us!
What is the concept of IOTA Element ?
At first, the concept was to integrate digital technologies into our designs. For instance, we imagined how we could integrate audio elements into a piece of furniture. Over time, we realized it was a niche market and we could not yet dedicate ourselves entirely to those kinds of projects, due to required financial investments. As a result, we diversified and developed bespoke items that did not necessarily incorporate digital applications. Today, our strength resides in our versatility: we conceive, design and fabricate all of the pieces that come out of our workshop.
You have launched your brand at an early age, at 22 to be precise. How was it possible ?
We first used our personal savings. Then, we obtained loans from different financial organisms. The help we got was essential because it allowed us to buy the expensive and necessary equipment.
We also won a contest for young creative entrepreneurs, which allowed us fantastic visibility. We scored it thanks to our Echo desk, which had speakers integrated into it. I am very proud of this piece. It took three long years to achieve and every detail has been thought through, the integrated acoustic is a success, the simple lines are beautiful and elegant…
What do you enjoy the most about your job ?
Wood is a great material offering a lot of possibilities. Nonetheless, our projects often integrate other aspects of craftsmanship, such as glass-working or metal-working. It gives us the opportunity to learn other skills and make meaningful collaborations. I also enjoy the versatility of our work because it requires various different skills such as project management, 3D software knowledge…
The technicality is what I enjoy the most. Each project surfaces new challenges that get to be addressed in the most efficient way. It requires a lot of thinking which I appreciate a lot. Nowadays, the new digital tools allow us to create incredibly complex wooden pieces.
“Our strength resides in our versatility: we conceive, design and fabricate all of the pieces that come out of our workshop. “
It must not be easy to be a cabinet-maker, especially economically speaking. What motivates you every morning ?
The feeling of doing something sane. As Claude said, it requires a multitude of skills – that aspect motivates me. And of course, I would love to live exclusively off of our creations.
I feel most motivated by the creative dimension of our work, even though we often have to take into account some constraints. In a way, we get the opportunity to better our clients’ lives by producing functional furniture. It is very gratifying.
The fact that we work on very interesting projects. Moreover, the richness of the human relationships we build is fantastic and inspiring !