This summer we met the creative minds behind the design consultancy Studio Dessuant Bone, whose multi-disciplinary work includes artistic direction, fashion and interior design, stretching all the way from conceptual development to pragmatic creation. The practice of this French-English creative duo, Marie Dessuant and Philip Bone, rests upon narration and story-telling, while always attempting to challenge the pre-determined boundaries between art and design. The couple unveiled the story behind their well-curated universe, an aesthetic signature made of clean, yet surprising visual elements.
What is the story behind the agency, how did it all start? What kind of backgrounds and experiences did you have prior to the inauguration of the agency?
We both come from quite similar educational backgrounds, having both studied design –Marie studying Product & Furniture Design and myself Graphic Design. However I think the fact that I’m English and Marie is French means there is a cultural difference in our personal backgrounds. Even though France and England aren’t geographically that far apart, culturally they can be quite different. We met whilst working at Fabrica, in Italy, which was the perfect place for us to experiment working together. When we left Fabrica we had a sense that one day we would work together, but it took another 3 to 4 years before we felt it was the right time. When we work together, we both approach the work from slightly different cultural places, which is definitely something we like, and we feel that it benefits the results.
For someone who’s not familiar with your work, how would you resume your philosophy and aesthetic approach in one phrase?
We design from a story and idea, always research–based and with a clear, clean and engaging visual solution.
You collaborate as a duo, how does it work out in practice? Do you share roles at certain point of the creative or practical phase of a project?
Normally we both follow projects from the beginning to end, it doesn’t work for us that we both have specific and different roles, for us that could create two separate results. There are elements of a project where one of us might take more responsibility, but we are always both informed and engaged in the process.
When working on a new commission, how do you start with your research and brainstorming?
We start in almost the same way every time, and that’s with an idea or a story, something that is research–based and engaging for the client or viewer. When we talk the project through with the client we want them to engage with a story or an idea, for us it’s the most interesting, creative and effective way to work.
Studio Dessuant Bone is a multidisciplinary agency by definition: your work covers several creative fields, such as fashion and lifestyle. Is there a practise that you cherish more than the others? Do you think that different creative fields should further approach one another?
We don’t really cherish one creative field from another, however we both really enjoy the difference in pace between working in the fast paced graphic or fashion world and the slow burning product and furniture world. Absolutely, different creative fields should work more closely together: the creative result when the disciplines mix is much more interesting for us, that’s what our aim and direction for the studio is.
What is your favorite moment when working on a new project?
100%, seeing the finished result.
Which has been your personal favorite of your past projects so far, and why?
Maybe our first commission as a studio, which was an installation at The Biennale Interieur in Kortrijk (Belgium). We had a complete creative freedom, so we wanted to make a statement of intent of our approach. The project represents our passion for an idea and a story, as well as an interesting visual execution. It was great fun to work on, and the Biennale Interieur is an amazing event crossing the boundaries between art and design.
Where do you find your everyday inspiration?
In art books, and of course the internet. Art is our main inspiration; a lot of our work is inspired by art in some way. Marie is more inclined to read and draw and then her inspiration will come, I need to look at images and photography. The fantastic thing about having our studio based in Paris is that there are plenty of great contemporary art galleries; we visit those as often as we can.
You work between London and Paris: how do you think these cities differ from each other regarding practical work and aesthetic stimuli?
It’s a privilege to be able to work in both places. We both lived and worked in London for many years, so we have many friends and old colleagues there. They are both incredibly stimulating cities to work in the creative field, but London definitely has the edge: it’s open, with a forward-thinking approach and a willingness to embrace change and trust new young designers. Something that definitely makes it one of the top places in the world to work as a designer.
In the near future you’ll be working on a project for La Redoute and Gallery S. Bensimon, could you reveal something about this? How do you see your agency in the future, let’s say ten years from now?
The project will be a collaboration between La Redoute and Gallery S. Bensimon. La Redoute asked the gallery to find designers to produce a series of furniture that tries to bring a slightly more ‘designed/artistic’ approach to their brand. We have two tables a rug and a cushion collection, which by the time this interview gets published will be on sale at La Redoute.
We would never think that far ahead, 10 years is a long time, if we are still around as a studio in 10 years with some nice projects and clients, that would be great!