Bernhardt Design: Hot Seat
Océane Delain first joined forces with Bernhardt Design on her elegant, customizable Mellow sofa. Resting on a maple frame, it’s padded with foam and adorned with hand-crafted wooden buttons that adjust the tension of connected nylon cords, allowing the seating surface to morph in firmness and appearance.
Now, following Mellow—which snagged a 2016 ICFF Editors’ Award, as well as Red Dot and Good Design awards—Delain reunites with Bernhardt Design and president and creative director Jerry Helling for her Gallery Collection, a versatile, expressive array of poufs, round ottomans, and capsule-shaped benches. Available in different sizes, materials, and colors, both bold and subdued, each piece is defined by a striking welt cord. Transcending the notion of a ubiquitous, purposeless pouf, a clean-lined cleaving of the design into lower band and upper body amplifies the juxtaposition of hues and incorporation of textile patterns.
Here, the Paris-based Delain, a graduate of ENSCI–Les Ateliers whose career straddles both freelance projects and the digital fabrication firm TechShop, and has exhibited her work at the likes of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, sheds light on the launch.
What did you want to create for Bernhardt Design with Gallery?
I wanted to offer flexibility to people. There are ottomans, but there are also mobile benches to pair with work tables. They can be used for a break, an informal meeting, or more conventionally as a seat with a desk.
Were there particular inspirations for the collection?
The most important thing for me is to watch and understand how people now live with objects. In offices, or even at home, the way we work has changed radically. We don’t use a desk anymore or a chair for only one type of activity. We need fluidity and accessibility. That is why I wanted this collection to adapt itself to the new ways of working, waiting, resting, exchanging, and meeting. This furniture doesn’t give orders, it gives possibilities to its users.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
As a child drawing was my favorite hobby. My mother took me from the age of four to museums and I loved that. It was easy for me to look at paintings, sculptures, and objects for hours. I also tinkered in the garage with my father and my grandfather and I learned to handle tools for the home when I was very young. I think all these experiences drove me naturally to this profession, which is a passion today.
What was work like for you during the quarantine?
It was a special moment of introspection. I didn’t stop drawing and creating, but now I draw only for the people and for the companies that I love. It has always been a real pleasure to collaborate and co-create with Jerry and Bernhardt Design, even during the pandemic and despite the distance. We pay attention to details and we challenge ourselves to make furniture that meets all our expectations. This is motivating.
How would you describe your design philosophy? Has it changed at all during the COVID-19 crisis?
From a more personal point of view, I always created furniture with simple, generous shapes. If it was instinctive before, today, in view of the pandemic context, I take even more care to do this. Our furniture and houses must be welcoming, without superfluity, so that our interior spaces remain restful, comfortable, and alive.
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