We reached out to Parisian furniture and fabric designer Elodie Laléous of Lab Boutique for our very first Raneytown interview. She is truly a sweetheart and we hope you enjoy her responses as much as we have.
What is Lab? Lab. is the company I launched a year ago, the idea was to propose a whole collection for home with items entirely made in France. I also use fabric coming from fashion brands archives such as A.P.C.
This is experimental in that way, trying to make a product which has low environmental impact, preserving French know-how and good design at affordable price.
What / where did you study? At IFM Institut Français de la mode, Design and Fashion Management
Who do you look up to? I’m trying to propose a design adapted to people’s new ways of living and more generally a good design applied to all the items surrounding us (textile design and not only furniture design). For instance I notice my friends are always with a laptop or smartphone in their flat and move with it. Therefore I think it’s almost cruel to make a desk room with a “computer” now because these apparels are linked to every actions in our life know. So there should be an object to help reading it more comfortably and place to hide it when you don’t use it anymore.
What does your design process look / feel like? I start by thinking about my habits in my flat, how I move, where I like to stay, how I like to sleep and rest…the observation is really important because I think the function of an object is essential.
What programs do you use? I don’t use any program, I draw and build a model in light wooden material. It’s the best way to see the idea “for real” (second image down is a model)
What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far? I think I have not reached it yet. It sounds a bit sad, but it’s not. I’m still in the making, in the process of looking for something I have not found—a perfect design I have not reached yet. If one day I was entirely satisfied by a design, I’m not sure I could keep working!
Any secret / ridiculously ambitious goals in mind? Of course, I have plenty of dreams! I’d like to be edited by Vitra! Work on hotels! Have my own shop! Design furniture for French administration/universities (like Perriand and Prouvé)!
Dream client? Yes, strangely it would be other designers—like doing the textile for a Bouroullec, Urquiola or Jongerius furniture would be thrilling!! I’m working on a furniture with Gesa Hansen and that’s such a great honor already! I feel lucky.
Is the process for designing textile and furniture very different from one another? It shouldn’t be but most of the time the making process is different. With textile, I start with the fabric; the print, the color mix, the touch; it’s very sensorial and visual at first sight. The function is secondary as it’s hard to renew the shape of a cushion for instance!
What are your main sources for inspiration? Music, fashion, chocolate, history? I don’t know…I think it’s a sort of magical mix of everything I see around me. The furniture, the home interior but also a photograph, an advertisement, an art piece. For instance, when I look at a Rothko painting it’s a great source of inspiration on colors. When I see how beautiful it is, it stretches and pushes me to do better!
What do you struggle most with? The making in itself is less easy because the dream and the vision is behind. The making of it has to be very rational and calculated.
Do you have a way to stay grounded? Restart yourself. Yoga / screaming! I know from personal experiences the design process can have many different phases – good and bad. Of course, I need to do some breaks. I make very various things. After working on one thing for a period, I’ll stop and begin working on something else. Having a good week-end in Normandy with my family is a very good way to stop thinking of work! What I’m trying to do is to stay surprised, to keep questioning things just like a child! Why is this made like this? Why is this object always in this material? It’s a good way to keep a fresh view!
Tell us something random / unique about yourself? My ears are different, there’s one big and one small! This is unique for sure! Anyway, everything designed by nature is unique!
Thank YOU Elodie!