Vincent Buret’s designs emanate from a love of minimalist aesthetics, new technologies and a respect for the properties of his materials. We caught up with Vincent to talk about his design practice, including his ever popular copper lamp series.
Could you tell us a little about your background? How did you first get involved in designing?
As a child I would always be sketching, building things of wood or rejuvenating items. Later I started modifying second hand or revamp pieces of furniture. In Paris, my first apartment was full of revamp second hand furniture. Still today, I must say that my actual house is packed to the roof with prototypes, original pieces and rebirth furniture.
I started a degree in graphic design but couldn’t financially pursue my Design studies and opted to broaden my expertise by completing my Masters in a Parisian Business School.
The copper series consists of a collection of 10 table lamps, each with the set guideline of using only one metre of copper. Why did you decide to set this limitation?
Really it came about as the possibilities to create this series were so endless, I had to set some kind of restriction for myself. Otherwise I really would have too many options! I knew at the beginning I wanted 10 lights. I actually made 14 lamps, 4 didn’t make it: too complex to build or too inspired of something-somewhere!
How did the idea for the series come about?
I had a lot of spare parts from tables I made for an architect and had this idea of a short film featuring several desk lamps. I took 4 months to make these 10(14) lamps and their success sort of delayed my initial idea of shooting a film.
Did you design the lamps with the various Edison bulbs in mind? They have such a beautiful filament!
I really like minimal objects with a functional side. That’s what I like about these globes, you don’t need a shade. I could simply design the part that was going to support the globes, can’t get any simpler than that! Filament bulbs offer a warm light are a good match with copper.
Several months ago I was contacted by an architect looking for a giant chandelier – it was something specific for their office. He told me the environment was quite dark and they wanted something with a warm glow in a similar vein to this series. I ended up using 40m of copper tube, with 10 bulbs. It was good to apply a similar aesthetic to a larger piece.
How do you work with the copper?
Copper is a great metal to work with: easy to polish, bend and cut. All materials, techniques and tools actually often come from trade plumbers. This could be considered as a sustainable product made with pieces than are manufactured in large quantities.
Do you have an idea of the types of space you’d like your lamps to go in?
Absolutely not! I like the idea that the user can decide where their lamp goes! I personally use one as a bedside table as I love its warmth for reading. These lamps have been bought for offices, bedrooms, living-rooms, workshops, retails shops. I also randomly saw my lamp used in a shot for a fashion designer. I am happy to hear that they are versatile!
What other materials have you been working with in your designs lately?
I am spending a lot of time playing with the rawness of concrete. Moulding concrete gives unlimited possibilities with a simple material. One of my tables is made of concrete, copper and triangles (3 of my obsessions). I am quite obsessed with geometric shapes and modularity. This triangle table (concrete top, copper legs) offers a great modularity. I recently made 6 giant triangle tables that are used in a meeting room: joined together they offer versatile solutions.
You’ve also recently produced the piece “Variable Bols” – a shifting 3D printed lamp that was a finalist in the e MAGINE design competition. Could you share a bit about the process you undertook?
Variable bols is a response to a competition brief: producing a piece that can only be 3D printed. So, the lamp’s structure – 4 balls inside one another, is not something you cannot manufacture or produce manually at all – the only way is to print it. I love it! I think it’s one of my preferred pieces in my collection. The user has the final decision on the design of this lampshade because it can be manipulated by interacting with it.
Sounds like you’d go the 3D printer route again?
I use 3D printers a lot for prototyping pieces or for a cost efficient way to produce pieces. 3D software is very common in product designing – 3D printing is only 2,3 clicks away from design sketching tools.
I am actually designing a floor lamp made of concrete, wood and a 3d printed parts.
You also work at Workshopped? Could you tell us a bit about your role there?
I now only freelance for Workshopped, a company that I admire. Workshopped aims to drive Australian furniture design. For Workshopped, I am a designer, photographer, webmaster and producer… It is quite unique to have this second vision of the design scene!
Do you do much collaborative work?
I did and certainly will do again. Some ideas are to gigantesque for a one man (designer) show. I have a few projects that will need help from other talents. Hopefully I will one day have access to them. I do a lot of commission pieces: clients come with a need. I offer them my ideas and from there we decide on the final pieces. It is sort of collaboration. I do like that the user is part of the design (and do like to repeat myself!).
If you had a day with no commitments, what would you do?
I work nearly every day and every day I try to do something different. I have the chance of living in a growing and stunning city. Distractions are certainly not something that we are missing here! My no-commitment time is going on adventures: biking/hiking in the Blue Mountains, sailing/snorkelling in the ocean. Photography and videography has become a big part of my life. I am in a constant fight against time, not finding enough time to do all my projects.
What’s next on the cards? Do you have any upcoming works for Art Pharmacy or any personal projects to share?
I have 4 new products coming in the next couple of months. These are all still at the prototype/secret/testing stage. I also have a lot of commission work, one-off pieces. I really enjoy the environment of Art Pharmacy, It’s great to have my “products” referenced with art pieces from impressive local artists. I would love to be part/help of the next pop-up exhibition.
Words: Lauren Castino
You can see all of Vincent's work for sale here