Patrick Norguet has a very clear vision of the designer's profession: for him the designer must think about making objects of great quality to then educate the consumer to understand their value. The purpose? Creating a real, almost emotional bond between people and objects to avoid the unsustainable throw-away culture.
We met him first in Paris, in his studio in rue de la Bastille, and then also in Milan, since in Italy, given his affinity with our brands, he often visits.
With the clear gaze and determined demeanor of someone who knows how things should go, he explains to us how the world of design has changed compared to when he started two decades ago.
Patrick Norguet also talks about his approach to the world of design and becomes even radical when he argues that "design today is like a facelift, which is used to appear younger. It is become a question of status: people want to have a recognizable interior to assert their social position, but that's not design and you shouldn't buy design as a lifestyle."
"Design is quality, innovation, materials, processes and resources. In my opinion," says Norguet, "the time has come to re-educate consumers about this."
French, born in 1969, Patrick Norguet is called by the LVMH group to set up its windows when he has just finished the Ecole National Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI).
This early encounter with the world of fashion – he will later collaborate with various brands in the sector – will characterize his formation in the direction of a lucid creative nonconformity.
For him, "the designer's job is the act of materializing a vision thanks to existing tools: overcoming them and disregarding the best available options, from craftsmanship to technology."
In 2000, he founded his own design studio and signed his first chair, Rainbow, for Cappellini. From this first meteor, born at the dawn of the French touch, to the last seat, Sova, presented this year for the Bosnian brand Zanat, more than two decades of career have passed.
An honest design
"My job is to find the equation that gives an object an anchor in a culture, an anchor in time," she says.
"I think that good design is honest, discreet and above all durable".
Hence the notion of timelessness which should be present in all design objects, also for ethical reasons. "Ours is not a game", recalls the French designer. "As designers we have a responsibility to design new products in a way that will last over time, not as if they are fashion items destined to disappear after a few years."
Durability is undoubtedly one of the essential characteristics that a design object must have in order to certify its value. From this approach derives an iron discipline on materials: designers today are aware of having to use ethical materials and in an ethical way.
Whether plastic or wood is used, for Patrick Norguet, the designer's challenge is to find the ideal solution for developing the right product, perhaps even expensive, but in which the consumer can read the innovative characteristics and the careful details that allow him to grasp the production quality which, evidently, determines its value and, consequently, the price.
sensuality is for Norguet another characteristic that distinguishes a good object.
"The sensuality of the product, its details and its quality are elements that are less and less in the contemporary world, because we are used to looking too quickly, not giving ourselves time. When you look at an object on a screen, you see an image", explains Norguet, "but people need to touch. In this digital age, there is an increasing need to use the senses to get to know objects and understand their value."
From a simple play of lines, straight or curved, from the choice of a fabric, leather or grain that recalls the wrinkles of time, every object that Norguet designs becomes a body, generous with abundant or stunted physicality like the exoskeleton of a frame.
Sova, for example, is a comfortable armchair characterized by an elaborate wooden structure, which recalls a human figure posing to embrace whoever sits there. This physicality of his pieces makes them sensual and requires a clear sensitivity to get in touch with them.