About Philippe Malouin
Canadian Philippe Malouin holds a bachelor’s degree in Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven. He has also studied at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris and University of Montreal. He set up his studio in 2009 after working for English designer Tom Dixon. He is also the director of POST-OFFICE, the architectural and interiors design practice. Phillippe’s diverse portfolio includes tables, rugs, chairs, lights, art objects and installations. Winner of the W Hotels ‘Designer of the Future’ Award and the Wallpaper* ‘Best Use of Material’ Award, Philippe lives and works in London.
How do you measure the success of a product design?
I think a product is successful when it has the capacity to fulfill its function with great ease whilst remaining neutral, so a user doesn’t feel the need to replace it for aesthetic reasons. That is a big problem with “trends”— perfectly well working objects are discarded for new, trendy ones. The wood clothes peg has remained the same for so long, it seems ridiculous to consider another design. I think this is a good example of a successful object.
Why did you design this piece in particular? Does it fill a lack?
As the objects were actually a need that Ace Hotel had, it filled the desired brief: we were asked to design a stool and a door handle to be used at Ace Hotel. Both objects are well made and fulfil an immediate need. So it is a good reason why these two objects were designed. It is much nicer to design an object for an immediate need/function/location than to design an object for the sake of creating a new one. There are many stools out there at the moment, but I think what makes the “Ace stool” interesting is not only the way it looks when it is alone, but the way it is when it is stacked. The combined “gear” outlines of the stool seats appear to form a part of a column when they are stacked. The stools therefore take on a different aesthetic altogether when they are stacked and not being used.
What do you think makes a good design? What is the best designed product you've seen?
I think that most objects designed by the Eames, Jasper Morrison and Dieter Rams are perfectly designed as they tend fulfil all the characteristics I find in a successful product (see question 1). A lot of the objects the aforementioned designers have designed have become icons for these reasons. Eames, Morrison, and Rams were able to create a body of work that appears to be trend-less and are still as relevant today as when they were designed. I personally own quite a few objects from them all.