Philippe Malouin challenges office furniture archetypes with Industrial Office collection
Designer Philippe Malouin has used industrial materials including dyed nylon and polyurethane-coated steel to create an experimental collection of office furniture and accessories.
Based on an in-depth study of how workplace furniture has evolved over the years, the Industrial Office collection comprises a complete executive office suite, containing everything from a desk and sideboard to a pen pot and book ends.
Malouin, who is based in London, is presenting the designs at the 2019 edition of Design Miami/Basel, with New York gallery Salon 94 Design.
The designer chose to fabricate the furniture, lighting and accessories using a palette of industrial materials, which lends the collection its bold spectrum of colours.
"We have been working on office projects for a while and this show embodies some of the research we have done," the designer told Dezeen.
"I was interested in studying archetypes and challenging them with different materials with specific functions attributed to them."
Several of the pieces, including the Executive Desk, Sideboard and the Swivel Armchair, are made from nylon, which is dyed in standard colours to emphasise its industrial provenance.
Malouin has previously experimented with the material's self-lubricating properties as a way to create surfaces that glide smoothly against each other. The leather-upholstered Swivel armchair rests on spherical nylon bearings that allow it to rotate fluidly, while the drawers of the desk and sideboard slide without the need for complex mechanisms.
Steel is used prominently throughout the collection for items including the Executive Chair, Side Table, Bench, Shelf, Book Ends and Pen Pot.
These pieces are finished in a textured polyurethane coating that provides a wide range of colour options. Visible weld marks celebrate the simple processes used in their manufacture.
The Executive Chair features leather-upholstered cushions supported by a frame made from hollow-section steel tubing. The chair's various springs and levers are left exposed to accentuate its industrial character.
"All of the steel pieces are the result of hands-on experimentation and making in a steel workshop," Malouin explained. "Both the engineering end of the spectrum, and the ad-hoc designing by making routes were studied."
A monolithic chair made entirely from rubber was cast in a single mould using a process more typically applied to cast concrete.
The narrower section of the chair's back allows more light to filter through and express the material's inherent translucency.
Malouin also designed a rug made from galvanised steel-wire rings that are fixed together using an intricate Japanese chainmail pattern.
The design challenges the perception of metal as a strong and rigid material by transforming it into a delicate and flexible surface.
The designer explained that the context of creating the collection for a gallery offered an opportunity to explore more unusual materials and processes than would be used if designing products for the mass market.
"These pieces are experimental and live in a very small-edition sphere so I believe that collectors will acquire them," he added. "They are not mass produced items, but rather they are physical embodiments of research on the office environment."
British-Canadian Philippe Malouin is known for his diverse output, ranging from furniture and products, to art objects and installations.
His previous projects including a seating collection featuring a combination of circular forms and a freestanding mirror made by flattening and polishing a section of a metal cylinder.
A retrospective exhibition celebrating 10 years since he launched his studio was held last year at Villa Noailles in Hyères, France. It included an armchair made from two rounded foam forms, and a chair that can be folded and hung up like a jacket.