Puffer & Lift

By Philippe Malouin

We take a look at Philippe Malouin's latest designs for SCP, conceived during lockdown and developed for launch at the London Design Festival.

We talked to Philippe Malouin on the eve of the London Design Festival 2020 to find out the story behind his two new products for SCP, Puffer and Lift.

We found him as passionate as ever, both cautious about what the global pandemic might mean for designers and reflective about how important human interactions are in his own work.

The first point the Philippe is keen to make is that both the new designs are made from 100% natural materials. He explains that this was something important to try to achieve, with SCP’s push to try to make their products from fully sustainable materials. This is spearheaded at SCP’s specialist upholstery factory in Norfolk, England, where Philippe has been regularly visiting since he began working with SCP in 2017.

“As I get older, I kind of get the business and how it works, and how your idea should work with what the factory can produce, but it doesn’t mean you have to do something boring, you should really pay attention to what they do. This product is a good example.”

"That is one thing when you work with a factory, you should never work against what they do, you should work with what they do."

Philippe Malouin

Puffer

The initial idea came from a sketch Philippe did during lockdown, when he was thinking about wanting a kind of enveloping, supportive comfort, structurally strong but very forgiving. He explains how the design developed, “The frame is the only part that it was possible to design. The frame has a geometry that is very easy to understand, it opens up at the front, it goes up at the back, it contains geometrics that I thought were important for people to sit in and relax. The design came from using those pockets of feathers, that is what made the design. I drew it as a sketch, and I knew there would be no way to design in on the computer, on top of this simple geometric shape. I knew it would be going to SCP’s factory and stuffing the pockets and then playing with a 2D pattern. It was through this process that the design sort of came together, like a lot of our work.”

“Working with the team at Coakley & Cox (SCP’s specialist upholstery factory), Tim, Donna and Martin is just amazing. Working with them they totally understand what I am trying to do, and we managed to make something happen that didn’t exist before. All of them hadn’t done a piece like this before, but all were interested in trying and came up with good ideas to progress it.”

"When you look at Puffer, it's so soft and round, you can't tell it's not injected polyurethane foam, but it's even better because it doesn't have any harmful chemicals and it's all done naturally."

Philippe Malouin

Lift

The second new design to see the light of day for the first time is Lift, a new “volume for the home”, which can be used as a stool, side table, or just as a beautiful object to have around.

Hand-mande in terracotta, Philippe tells the story of how it came to be. “The idea really came from lockdown, as I live on Stoke Newington High Street, it’s a third floor flat and most of the buildings are two floors. So you can see all the terracotta chimneys, and that is all I saw for months. It comes from there. I thought the shapes were still quite modern, and they were so interesting, you could see them as far as the eye could see from my flat. The typology has a certain irregularity to it as they are all made by hand, yet it has a simple aesthetic to it. It was something I was interested in appropriating and modifying a little bit.”

SCP have been working with a terracotta maker in Suffolk for a number of years in the production of Reiko Kaneko’s tableware range. So, after a few conversations and initial drawings were shared, Philippe went to visit the workshop to oversee the first production pieces. “It was important with something in that material, with that weight, that it had the capacity to move around, and I wanted to play on a typology people might recognise, like the postbox. I thought it would be a nice side table or stool, it’s definitely both, there is no specific function to it, you could use it as a stool, or a table, it’s a volume for the home, which I find important to have. It’s made by one person by hand in the UK, they are all slightly different, it’s like batch production, but also like you are buying a little work of art at the same time.”

"I thought Lift would be a nice side table or stool, it's definitely both, there is no specific function to it, you could use it as a stool, or a table, it's a volume for the home, which I find important to have."

Philippe Malouin for SCP

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