Julien Lagueste : nature-like furniture.

Nature-like furniture.

Julien Lagueste is a young promising designer. Based in Nantes, he draws and makes nature-like tables. More than a mere evocation, his creations make us travel: a trip by the sea that soothes and relaxes. Each piece is thought as a new object of art: all are unique and stem from his personal reflection on the place of the object in our homes. Both artistic and functional, these tables can perfectly take place in seaside interiors as well as in ultra-design spaces.

Date: 10 February 2020
City: Nantes
Artisan: Julien Lagueste
Before you became an artist-designer, you studied architecture. Why did your plans diverge?

Julien

Pretty naturally. For my final project at school, I decided to work on designing an object : a table, or rather, a set of tables. After I drew them, I wanted to make them, and so I did, piece by piece, by hand.

I felt the idea was interesting and worth pursuing. It allowed me to work with my hands as well as with my head, which suited me perfectly. I rapidly decided to dedicate myself entirely to that project.

Did your studies in architecture help you in developing your project?

Julien

Yes, of course. For instance, studying Art history and design helped me conceptualize my ideas.

At school, we learn a lot of things but in the end, they are pretty abstract. I had to learn and make by my-self. What I really wanted was to be able to create everything my-self so I could leave my signature.

How did you train your skills in wood and epoxy?

Julien

I was an intern for a company making unique objects in various materials. I learned there to cut the wood, to sand it down, to nail it and to glue it. They are quite simple processes but important to know.

As for epoxy, I spent a lot of time learning about it with manufacturers and users. I tried different resins and after 2 years of experimenting, I finally had the result I was expecting.

Serendipity played an important role in my process : I had various accidents while flowing the resin or mixing the pigments. But when I looked closely at my “errors”, I realized they had potential. I started using the so-called “flaws” and made them into my own personal technique.

Today, there are so many interior design brands. How did you manage to emerge?

Julien

Throughout my creative process, I never wondered how, where or to whom I was going to sell. I simply sought out the joy of making beautiful things, inspired by my own history. And I believe that when you are sincere, you can always move people one way or another.

Thanks to specialized fairs, I was able to gain a nice visibility. My goal was to be present at Maison&Objet, which mainly interest interior design specialists. That’s what I did and I quickly sold pieces. I also participated to the Revelations fair at the Grand Palais in Paris, which gave me other opportunities – such as an exhibition at Private Choice, or a collaboration with The Invisible Collection. Overall, fairs are a really good way of meeting my clientele, particularly internationally.

For a young designer such as myself fairs bestow a certain validation from professionals.

“That multiple-sided definition was what really drove me through my research: I wanted to integrate into a space an object that was both artistic and functional.”

Can you tell us about your collection?

Julien

Souvenir des îles is the collection’s name. I mainly find my inspiration in nature, and for these pieces in particular I wanted to evoke rocks and the ocean. I try to produce shapes that are as minimalist as possible – without any screws or fixing system – so that they become sculptural objects.

Technically, how is that possible?

Julien

I draw the wooden rings that are then cut by a digital machine within a single wooden panel. Rings are very thin in order to optimize the material, lessen the wooden loss and get a light result. Finally they are glued and nailed together by hand in such a way that it is not visible when looking at the table.

Your work invites to peace and contemplation. Was it your intention?

Julien

Yes, I get that a lot. It is true there is a zen aspect to my designs which probably comes from their minimalist shape and their water-like surface. But it is also what inspires me and therefore it transpires through my work.

My true desire was to create a hybrid object: one can see a sculpture because of its shape, which varies for each table. One can also see a painting: each epoxy board is like a new canvas and is unique. Finally, it is a table, a functional and useful design object. That multiple-sided definition was what really drove me through my research: I wanted to integrate into a space an object that was both artistic and functional.

What about your futur projects?

Julien

I will broaden my collection creating desks, consoles, high tables… I would also like to use other shapes reminding nature – flowers for instance – not simply for esthetics but also to give meaning to what I make.

Lately, I have been pretty successful and you can find my tables in a dozen countries. But there is a real potential in making a bespoke collection – for a restaurant for example. I would enjoy a lot adapting myself to a project and to a client’s needs.

Did you enjoy discovering this craftsman?

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· Credits · Texte : Aurélia Monge – Photographies : Julien Lagueste.
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