Two young designers are committed to creating timeless and elegant designs with a focus on using rejuvenating traditional crafts and methods.
Emerging designer-duo Amandine Chhor and Aïssa Logerot founded AC/AL in Paris in 2013. Both designers graduated from ENSCI Les Ateliers and worked with noted design companies before joining forces. Chhor spent four years at Hermès as a designer and product manager while Logerot worked as an independent designer for established studios like Mathieu Lehanneur, Bruno Moinard and architect Dominique Perrault.
AC/AL’s work focuses on product and furniture design with an interest in using sustainable craft techniques and handicrafts. This is reflected in their timeless designs with a mix of new techniques and materials. Take their furniture designs, for example. A wide range of patterns and shapes marks their chairs, tables and wall unit collections.
The Paula chair has a distinctive joining between the back and the rear feet. Made in solid oak, the seat is plywood and the shape allows it to be fully stackable. The backrest is removable and is available in different colours. The Trame chair has a sensual and delicate appearance that belies its strong frame. The curving frame gives the illusion of softness but with the (literal) backbone of steel.
The Eugénie and Anatole tables combine both a light and fine metal structure “with the warmness of two wooden trays”. On each table, the bottom tray allows you to layer books and accessories while the top can be used for anything from displaying a special object or used as a tea-table. They can be paired together or used individually.
The Hollo table, on the other hand, is a range of three tables – a coffee table, a table for two and a side table. The design of these tables was readapted in an industrial way and these are both simple and elegant. The coffee table reminds one of traditional drums, the shape of the table top and the open base were inspired by crafts (from the Artisanat du Sud project).
The Cadence low table also has an open wire-frame inspired base making it light, airy and ideal for indoor or outdoor use. Apart from tables and chairs, AC/AL Studio also has a range of products for the wall. The Loop shelf is a bohemian beauty of a shelf. Made of soldered steel wire, the curves fan out like an elongated peacock’s tail. Available in different colours including a sumptuous lemony yellow, the shelf comes in three different avatars.
Units is a multi-purpose cabinet with a fully adjustable shelving system inside. It can be assembled and disassembled easily without the use of tools. The Bookcase is a shelving system to allow for horizontal storage of books, where they can be arranged flat. A series of wooden planks are stacked together and the top is low enough to be used as a table. It is designed as an “island for readers” which can be placed anywhere in a room for people to sit and browse.
Apart from furniture, the studio has also designed carpets, lighting and kitchenware. The Garris carpet is inspired by the ‘line’ and its unending beauty. The simple abstract pattern of the design blends beautifully with the pleasing palette of blue and yellow. The Mikado carpet is a 100% wool handloom carpet that is cheerful and welcoming.
AC/AL’s award-winning LunR lamp, as the name suggests, is an ode to the moon. Shaped like “a small domestic satellite”, the lamp can be configured with or without feet. The light is emitted through a wide translucent lens.
Also noteworthy is the Alcove mirror, which is a triptych mirror with a bit of drama thrown in. Designed with a theatre-like ‘scene’ in mind, the three mirrors “reflect themselves and the environment creating an infinite point of view and play with the light and space around.”
For some drama in the kitchen, try the Spoonplus, an innovative take on the spoon/sauce holder combo with chopsticks thrown in for good measure. The chopsticks act as the spoon holder – remove them when you want to use the chopsticks and use the spoon to hold your sauce. Completely detachable the Spoonplus is travel-friendly and looks great in the kitchen too.
The duo’s collaboration and interest with local craftspeople has led to some interesting projects like Artisanat du sud with the artisans of Akka oasis in Morocco, as part of a program set up to struggle against the desertification of southern regions. A new range of products including stools and baskets emerged from this project allowing the use of locally available materials in a contemporary form.
The Sur les ravages project reevaluated the weaving craft of water hyacinth in Cambodia. This aquatic plant is considered harmful because left un-tended, it chokes a water body creating many problems for the aquatic and other life-forms that inhabit the area. Using this invasive plant to create a new form of weaving technique led to the design of elegant furniture including chairs.
Similarly, Afrikatelier is a project developed in collaboration with the Ecole du Patrimoine Africain (EPA) and craftsmen from the Menoua region in Cameroon. During the project, they found that “many objects from African crafts have lost their meaning because they are not used anymore in local life and are only created for the tourist trade”. The duo worked with local craftsmen to develop a sustainable process and design for local crafts. The end result was beautiful baskets, chairs and wooden trays designed with local colour and flair.
This element of flair reflects in AC/AL Studio’s designs. With their evident desire to take traditional materials and methods further, one can only look forward to more exciting work from Chhor and Logerot.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Designer