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Julien Renault and Timbergroup unveil the BOARD collection in Milan Design - 30 March 2016

©Timbergroup

In April, at the Fuorisalone in Milan, Belgium will be represented by its company-designer duos formed for the occasion. Julien Renault and Timbergroup, represented by Philippe Vissers, will be there to unveil BOARD, a furniture collection made from reclaimed solid oak. An interview with the two partners in the run-up to the Italian event.

Julien Renault, Philippe Vissers, before talking about your joint venture, could you briefly introduce yourself?

J.R. : I'm a designer. My studio is based in Brussels. My work is split up mainly between creating objects and photography. Within the framework of communication on design productions, I also work with Alain Berteau in his role as artistic director with ABV and I am the official photographer of the brand Objekten.

P.V. : Timbergroup is, you could say, the “little sister” of Atmosphère & bois, a company specialising in reclaimed wood. Atmosphère & Bois provides us with unique batches of wood with an inimitable patina. Using this exceptional raw material, we create customised furniture and interior fittings.

The fruit of your collaboration will soon be displayed in Milan at the initiative of Belgium is Design. Could you tell us a little more about it?

P.V. : Belgium is Design and the magazine DAMN° set up 13 partnerships between companies with a craft component and designers. The idea was to get each participant to change their way of thinking and/or of doing to create a new product or prototype. After 6 months of work, we have developed a furniture collection that we’ve called BOARD. It currently consists of a chair and a bench. They will soon be joined by a table.

J.R. : With the BOARD collection, we wanted to create a design with a strong identity, both modern and classic. Wood is at the very heart of the project. With this in mind, I worked on a simple constructive system that would not be too distracting and give the material itself all the attention it deserves. After this exercise, the focus on the wood finally went beyond the framework of the manufacture of the furniture itself.

What do you mean exactly?

P.V. : The BOARD project triggered a global overhaul of the brand image. The company operated under the auspices of Atmosphère & Bois. Although it depends on it completely, it had become necessary for its development to give it an identity of its own, to create a new entity to give it more creative freedom. 

J.R. : When the matter of how to present the objects came up, I naturally proposed my services as a photographer specialising in this field. The overhaul of the global visual identity then struck us as only natural. The way in which we represent the objects says a lot about the product and its philosophy.  It’s an aspect that I’ve learned not to overlook in the course of my various professional experiences. 

What do you expect to get out of Milan ?

J.R. : The Milan fair will be the official unveiling of the work carried out to date: the collection but also the photo campaign, the new logo and the new website. Naturally, it is quite a momentous occasion. The combination of our activities, of our reputation and our respective professional networks doubles the possibilities for recognition in such an internationally renowned fair.   

P.V. : We are currently present in France, Switzerland, Spain, Russia, etc. And we are nurturing our clientele in Canada, where a majority of our wood is sourced. For example, we’ve just opened a showroom there. In Milan, we hope to boost this trend and market ourselves as an innovative company that proposes exclusive products. Thanks to the work with Julien, we are significantly improving the quality of our work both in terms of the product and the related communication. This approach, presented in Milan, is part of the process of globalisation.

Has the partnership changed the vision you have of the work of the designer and the company?

J. R.: For me, it has served as confirmation that constraints are what feed and give depth to projects. For the BOARD collection, I had to adapt to the characteristics of the reclaimed wood. The production also had to take into account the technical limits imposed by the equipment available within the company. In the long term, this research is much richer than a search for a prototype. It is a win-win situation, as the customer has an optimal product in functional and economic terms, one that is innovative, that respects the DNA and the possibilities of the company.

P.V. : I see the designer as a partner who understands our approach and who comes up with solutions to materialise it and express it.  Their external perspective makes it possible to pinpoint the essential elements. Their contribution is a real development tool.

 

Sylvie Reversez

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup

©Timbergroup