SUPERLIFE — Interview
SUPERLIFE, Swiss design studio founded by Edrris Gaaloul and Cyrille Verdon.
Can you introduce yourselves ?
Edrris — My name is Edrris. I was born and grew up in Yverdon-Les-Bains where I still live today. My father was a blacksmith so I was immersed in the world of metal and manual work from an early age. At first I joined a Film School before entering ECAL (Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne) where I completed my studies in Industrial Design with a distinction last year.
Cyrille — I’m Cyrille and I live in Lausanne. After completed my studies in IT I felt I would like to go down a more artistic route. With that in mind, I attended courses in Applied Arts in Vevey (CEPV) for a year before I enrolled in an undergraduate course in Industrial Design at the ECAL : where I met my current associate, Edrris.
Where does your interest in design come from?
Edrris — Ever since as young as I can remember, I would watch my father designing and building all sorts of things. This inspired me and I wanted to build similar things. Little by little I started building rafts, shacks, skateboards, slingshots and other objects. I then undertook a multitude of manual jobs without being entirely satisfied, until I discovered design. In design I had finally discovered the creative and innovative aspects that were missing in my previous attempts.
Cyrille — When I was young I wanted to be an inventor like my grandfather. My interest for design developed later on, when I discovered the work of the designer Philippe Starck and his distinctive vision of changing the world through the creation of objects. Ultimately, the job of an inventor and a designer is very similar, as they both require constant cross-examination of what has already been created and what needs improving.
How did you come to start up the studio?
While we were studying at ECAL, we soon found out that we not only have the same approach to design but that we also got on very well. So naturally we decided to start the studio together. Eddris’ dad had a workshop in Yverdon so we were able to set up our office there. Working in a smithy surrounded by machinery, tools and building material enabled us to try out our ideas successfully. The fact that we were in a workshop instead of a conventional office significantly changed our way of thinking and creating objects. We were able to develop simple ideas into mock-ups much faster, and were therefore advanced to more practical aspects much sooner, too.
What are the key features of your design?
Our aim is to improve everyday life with objects that are more functional and aesthetically pleasing. We believe that design can genuinely contribute to improving people’s daily routines. The Superlife studio aspires to create objects of which their appeal is not only their decorative aspect, but equally their enhanced functionality. As we see it, the design has to serve its purpose.
Can you tell us more about the BE READY products you showed in Milan Salone Satellite?
The BE READY exhibition originated from a mutual idea to design objects that offer a double function in case of a natural disaster. For instance, our Méduse rug inflates in the event of flooding and doubles up as a life buoy. In the present context, where the climate is becoming more and more unstable, it seemed pertinent to us to create objects that offer an extra purpose beyond their primary use (rug, pencil holder, etc.) in case of natural disasters. It is also another way to showcase our distinctive designs in which functionality is key.
Are you planning to focus on utilitarian objects ?
Yes. Usefulness is the starting point for most of our objects. We are constantly attempting to improve what already exists and answer to the day-to-day needs in a useful way. For us, the object has to be above all useful.
A designer that you admire?
Cyrille — Joe Colombo, for his very innovative and functional approach to objects in modularity which I personally believe to be even more pertinent today than it was in his time.
Edrris — Chris Kabel for his creativity, his little madness and his love for design.
Which books are on your bedside table?
Cyrille — The Language of Things by Deyan Sudjic
Edrris — The Design Book published by Phaidon. It is a collection of all the objects that have shaped our society.
The last word…
Thanks Ligature! SUPERLOVE
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