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Pool  //  Simplicity first and foremost

8 questions for Pool


POOL is a design studio run by Léa Padovani and Sébastien Kieffer. Léa Padovani studied Applied Arts with a focus on interior design and object design, while Sébastien Kieffer studied industrial design at the Ecole Pivaut de Nantes. They met while working in the studio of the talented Noé Duchaufour Lawrence. Already working as team, they decided to join forces. Simplicity suits them well but don't let their deceptively simple designs fool you. These stars of the new generation of dynamic French designers are also members of Habitat's "pool team". Their designs: the Pool funnel vase and the Parasol lamp! Interview!

What feeds your inspiration?

We're influenced by the city and how it changes, whether that's 'romantic' Paris or the more everyday aspects of the city such as its signs, architecture and shop fronts. We like to observe what happens around us and try to design, just as the Decorative Arts movement did, objects inspired by nature, the animal kingdom and plants.


How would you describe your approach?

We are involved in the design of objects and furniture as well as interior design. What we like about this is being able to work in a cross-cutting manner in the fashion of the Memphis and Bauhaus movements. Their strength was their ability to bring together strong personalities in order to create intricate yet unified designs. The concept of working as a collective and variable geometry is really important to us. That's why we decided to call ourselves Pool!


What is the basis or DNA of your designs?

We like making objects that appear to be simple but aren't! An object that seems to be without embellishment is actually the most difficult thing to do. We want to put across direct frank messages. The only thing that matters, once you've gone beyond the constraints of functionality and aesthetics, is to give a creation a story, to give it a soul if you like.


Do you prefer working with certain materials?

Not at all! Sometimes a project will inform our choice of materials as was the case with the funnel vase; the brief read "revolutionise white pottery". The materials are never our staring point, we choose the materials in relation to the object's purpose.


How did the idea of the parasol lamp come about?

There was no special brief, we were simply asked to create a lamp and we started out with the idea of geometry i.e. finding objects that could stand or balance alone. We submitted our proposals; we were guided by the light. The Parasol lamp creates a certain form of intimacy; it's an object that illuminates and creates a concentrated beam of light on the floor.


If you were asked to design another piece for Habitat, what would you choose?

Another lamp following on from the Parasol lamp but also larger pieces such as modular furniture used for storage. We love the concept of stacking, movement and modularity. If we take the example of our white funnel vase, what really excites us is the fact that you can stack it and give it another function.


How would you define affordable design?

There are two subtle meanings; owning and buying. In other words, designing an object which has personality and character while respecting the constraints of industrial production.


What are you up to now?

As designers, we have a duty to constantly question ourselves in order to push our creative boundaries. We have to fully explore this freedom while at the same time coming up with designs for any type of market, whether that's mass retail outlets or art galleries such as the limited edition pieces that we created for the Thomas Erber "The Cabinet of Curiosities" exhibition in New York. All these exercises require the same creative approach: they enrich each other. So, we are continually re-inventing our creative universe!


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