Vincent Buret is a dual French/Australian citizen who currently calls Sydney home. His design practice is focused on communicating ideas through form and material with simplicity and poetic expression.
Step us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration?
I always like to embrace an artistic approach when I design. I consider the functional aspect only after I’ve explored the aesthetics, compositional weights and emotions. Not because I consider functionality to be secondary – it’s quite the contrary actually. I believe an object is linked to the space and period it’s created but its emotive dimension is boundless and timeless.
When it comes to my process, most ideas usually start with a sketch. Sketches are developed into notebooks, notebooks get stacked into piles and unless they pass the 3D sketch test they become another addition to my sketch collection. Using CAD software will bring them to life in refining the aesthetics with the right dimensions and proportion, but ultimately it will guarantee an optimal functionality. Most of my designs took a few years to be made. I found that finding the right maker/manufacturer is what takes time as it comes with all the preparation work to match with the appropriate manufacturer and supply chain.
The Lost_Keys for example, required almost two years to find the right upholster and the best technique to assemble it. A few prototypes later we did find the ultimate sitting position. The first prototype is in my living room and right now I am sitting on it.
Can you describe your workspace?
I have the luxury of having two workspaces: one for storage, prototypes and late-hours working. The second is probably better suited for larger projects, where I can make a mess with some noisy and dusty tools. I’ve always been a supporter of handmade production and partnering with talented local artisans.
Simplicity and clear geometric lines have always been core to my design.
What draws you to minimalist design? Is clutter your worst nightmare?
Simplicity and clear geometric lines have always been core to my design, while each piece is made for the user and to optimise (their) interaction with it. Each piece also celebrates its manufacturing processes and its imperfections: concrete has bubbles, wood has grains, steel has oxidation. Imperfection is real and raw and I find a lot of beauty in it.
What drives you to create?
My quotidian is about creating: if I don’t have my hands on furniture, I am renovating my house, custom making motorcycles, photographing architecture or organising exhibitions with friends. It is even more exciting for me to get involved with new projects when I have no idea how to do them. I must admit that this is the catalyst that pushed me every day to do this job, to learn and understand new concepts, to discover materials and acquire techniques.
It is even more exciting for me to get involved with new projects when I have no idea how to do them.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Well, I love what I do. Challenges are constant and routine is inexistent when you are a small business entrepreneur.
How difficult is it to support yourself as a designer?
Owning your business in high-end furniture in 2018 is certainly a tough challenge. The reward might not be the big-dollar in this job but I have the chance of not feeling that I have a ‘job’. Designing is a constant quest of resolving solutions. That’s what motivates me.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
My two biggest challenges are time and manufacturing! Finding or even fighting time to do all I need to do and even more is probably very common to anyone willing to grow their business. I also want to learn more skills in making – I am quite a poor woodworker, or can dream about glass blowing. Manufacturing in Australia is also a big challenge but is possible. I believe in making my pieces locally as part of my design process. There is a way to make this competitive.
Social platforms are becoming a great testing and research tool and cannot be missed to reach new opportunities.
What significance, if any, has social media played in furthering your career?
I wouldn’t say social media is central in promoting my work, but it definitely plays a great part in better understanding the audience and what is trending. I am having that ‘love and hate’ relationship with it at the moment, as I tend to see it more and more as a fast consumption on nothing and everything. It’s definitely great for testing ideas and getting interaction with others. Social platforms are becoming a great testing and research tool and cannot be missed to reach new opportunities.
If you could collaborate with any artist, in any medium, past or present, who would it be and what would you ideally create?
It would be quite extraordinary to be able to offer today’s techniques to any past artists. These days I am quite obsessed with Jean-Michel Basquiat. I am admirative of his punk neo-expressionist art and his effortless answer to the art industry of the 80s.