Q&A: Roche Bobois’ Sacha Lakic

Few designers epitomise energy, motion and speed quite like French designer Sacha Lakic. As the renowned force behind much of the designs of Roche Bobois, now open in Cape Town, DECO took the opportunity to sit down and chat to him about cars, couches and his creations.

Sacha Lakic is famous for his love of motion, designing cutting edge and futuristic cars, motorbikes and even space aviation, so it was only natural that he extend his fascination with forwards propulsion to that most static of designs: furniture. Here we offer a deeper insight into one of the best modern design minds:


 

Motion, transport, fast cars – these things inspire your creations. Why is that?

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From an emotional point of view, you don’t have much to do when you design a car, for example, because a car is an object that is naturally in motion; it’s built to be in motion. Which is cars have their aerodynamic shape, especially with sports cars since they’re built to go fast and that’s very emotional. But this isn’t the case with furniture, so it’s about how to make furniture emotional.

This is a complicated thing, but my signature style is to bring this idea of movement into the furniture. For example, my Bubble Sofa is inspired by the clouds, and clouds are always in movement. You can compare my designs to a photograph: They are static, but captured motion.

Why I do this is because I am afraid that products might be boring and that is something I hate – for an object to be a boring, dead thing. We don’t expect furniture to move but there should be something special, a little bit of me in the product. A piece of art that is made for the industry.

Aside from your love of the ‘idea’, what is most important to you when it comes to designs?

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Every stage is very important. From the idea to the way you represent that idea and the way this idea is going to be built – the materials you choose, etc. But sometimes the designer who is tasked with bringing the concept to life and they stop being involved after that stage, and the engineers and technicians make their own interpretations and this is a problem. Perhaps they change a small detail that ends up being a big change. They change the whole philosophy of the product. So to keep the essence of the product, you must follow the whole process from the beginning to the end, leading at every stage.

Why launch an international brand like Roche Bobois in Cape Town right now and what makes it different?

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The products found here can only be found in Roche Bobois. There is a very specific DNA here; a very typical French way to express creativity and elegance. Paris is the world of fashion, so we are very connected to fashion when we choose the fabrics and colours.

We’ve opened here because Roche Bobois has to be in the best places in the world, and Cape Town is one of those places. It’s a very interesting place to be.

Your designs are quite futuristic which seems to be derived from your love of movement and the movement forwards. What is the message here?

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Movement is about being alive. When something isn’t moving, it’s a dead product. When a product is in movement, it’s my way of giving a soul to that product. I think people are attracted and connected to products that have a soul. Of course, cars and motorbikes have very strong souls, because there is an engine inside, you turn it on, there’s a noise, and you really feel like it’s a living product.

Most probably, I would never design furniture like I do now if I hadn’t had this experience with the car and motorcycle industry. Perhaps I would’ve been more classical. But because I have this background, it comes through in my designs in the furniture. Technology is a significant mark of time – by looking at a car, you can guess when that car was made, which is not the case for furniture. A piece could be vintage or a revival. But, what I am making could never be made in the 70s for instance, even if it looks like its from the 70s, because they just didn’t have the technology. So you put all these things together – the movement, the soul, the technology – this is my signature.

What is your design trend prediction for 2016?

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To be honest, I never focus on trends, because when I design furniture I start a year and half before it hits the market so it’s useless to see what it trending now. I just imagine and feel what the evolution would be, since future trends are based on actual trends. I make some expectations but it’s not all rational or theoretical. My way of working is to not at all concentrate on trends and I prefer instead to concentrate on the personality of the product. Something unique that cannot be in a box, that stands from the crowd.

I like it when people don’t know where to place my creations, because this means they’re interrogating the piece within their own home and the trends they follow. It’s cool to mix classical and traditional with contemporary that is connected by the colour but disconnected by the period. Of course I am aware of what’s happening, especially from a social point of view; I guess what people might want in their own homes and that’s how I try to figure out trends, as a natural progression of people’s desires. It’s purely intuitive.


 

FIND OUT MORE

Follow Sacha on his website, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

For more info visit roche-bobois.com


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