From kitchen utensils to nativity sets perfect for the minimalist home, London-based industrial designer Sebastian Bergne consistently comes up with witty and fun twists to everyday design.
Back then industrial designer Sebastian Bergne very nearly became a chef. For the world of consumer products, however, it was a lucky moment when Bergne took the design route and completed a Bachelors degree in Industrial Design at the Central School of Art and Design followed by a Masters from The Royal College of Art, London in 1990. After his Masters, Bergne set up his studio in London, followed by another one in Bologna, Italy a few years later.
Bergne has had a distinguished, award-winning career designing contemporary and useful products, lighting and furniture. His clients have been the likes of leading design houses including DeBeers, Moulinex, Muji, Vitra and Swarovski.
Some of Bergne’s most successful designs have been for lighting systems. One of his earliest designs was ‘Lampshade’ (1991), a reflector sheet that could be attached with a clip to any bulb. The aptly-named ‘Torso’ light (1997) could be used in two ways – upside-down or straight up. The ‘Dr. Spock’ ceramic light (1994) was a suspension light for direct lighting, made from an enamelled porcelain reflector.
Bergne’s innovative designs have matured in the last few years with his elegant ‘Rhomboid’ lamp (2012), made of a black metal structure with six bulbs and a textile cord. The ‘Array’ (2012) looks like an upturned bucket, but is classic enough to fit in with any traditional decor. My favourite lamp design, though, is the ‘Curl’ (2012) created for Luceplan. The curvy shape was created with the intention of joining the light source and the reflector in one sweep. There is no ‘base’ and the lamp can stand in different orientations.
Bergne has also designed several innovative furniture and seating arrangements notably the unequal Slim & Jim (2006), which are oak chairs of different widths, the Flapjack (1999, 2010) a colourful collection of furniture for children, the ‘Flap Desk’ with its split top to allow cables and other paraphernalia to be stored, the ‘Primo’ restaurant chair (2007) and the ‘Double Shelf’ (2012) which reminds me of music notes.
The designs from the Bergne stable are full of wit and surprise. Bergne’s creation of the ‘Ring Soap’ (1994), a hanging soap bar on a peg that does away with the slimy soap residue that collects on soap trays is one example. Also fun is Mr. Mause (1996), a clothes hanger that “uses bottle brush technology to effectively pad garments.”
The ‘Bandit’ ruler (2011) might get you into trouble if you use it the way it is intended to as it is a device for shooting rubber bands; this was aimed at the naughty school boy in all of us. His range of everyday objects extends to stationery and office products including the ‘Ring
Calendar’ (2011) a perpetual calendar with a laser cut melamine face and ‘Endless Notes’ (2011) a notepad conjured out of steel and paper.
His private commissions have resulted in some unusual and unique ideas. The beautiful ‘Juno’ dining table (2005) made from stone and plate glass, the ‘Looking Glass’ magnifying decanter (2009) for the ‘Through the Looking Glass’ exhibition in Paris, DIY Buttons (2009), the ‘Colour Nativity’ (2011), a nativity set made out of simple, coloured beech wood and the ‘Measuring Square’, an elegant silk scarf made for the Conran Shop Red Exhibition in 2012. Bergne diversified into food with the creation of the delectable-looking ‘Orange Pinch’ (2005), a biscuit created for an exhibition.
Also worth mentioning is the ‘Lego Greenhouse’ constructed in one night as a public art installation for the London Design Festival. This was a functioning greenhouse created entirely out of LEGO bricks – the walls, floors even the earth was made of LEGO bricks. The plants and vegetables growing inside though, were very real. The design threw open the possibilities of using products like LEGO bricks for non-conventional building ideas.
Whether it is food or humble designs for the kitchen, Sebastian Bergne brings a sense of wonder and fun to his products. While the restaurant business would surely welcome his expertise and interest in food, the design world continues to watch out for his next quirky design.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Designer