MOCO LOCO is 10 years on the web this year, to mark the occasion this week we're talking to designers from where we began, our home town of Montreal. Designer Lambert Rainville is in his second year of the MA Design Products program at the Royal College of Art in London. We first saw his work at the From Quebec show at Wanted Design during New York X Design 2013. We caught up with him just before he left the UK for a summer back home in Quebec.
MOCO: Tell us about your work right now...
Rainville: My background is hardcore product design - industrial. I've only been recently in contact with "domestic" design. I'm trying to curate objects now. I've been experimenting a lot with cheap and readily available materials such as cardboard edge protectors and nylon string. I like to discover beauty and sophistication in low-value materials.
For my second year at RCA, I think I'm going to break away from that. Designers are uncomfortable with words like price, mainstream and decoration. I would like to challenge these notions in my work but still have a focus on function, processes, and cultural value.
We've noticed that too, why do you think designers are uncomfortable with words like price, mainstream and decoration?
Price is rarely talked about in the media (blogs, magazines, etc...), but it is probably the decisive factor of a product's existence. Successful designs are usually very decorative. We don't like to think as ourselves as "decorateurs", but in essence we probably are and we don't assume it enough.
Also, young designers are exposed to two end of the design spectrum: The exclusive and the mass-produced, and feel they should pick a side. Both offer great opportunities and should be greatly considered. It probably comes down to market research but it is not always clear what context your idea will be rendered best and have most reach.
Your Fishline lamps are intriguing and compelling, more like light objects, art. What motivated your exploration of low-value materials?
In my previous education, I've been taught to emphasize on function through features. I was never exposed to the notion of "beauty". Now, I look everywhere for it ! When you achieve something special with something as under-wellming as fishline or packaging materials, it's quite satisfying. I love those "no fuss, maximum effect" objects like ready-mades. They communicate what they are and what they do, and a personality of their own emerges. Such objects don't usually have a market, they represent an idea, hence why they could be perceived as "art".
Where will you be taking this? More readymade objects? Another direction?
Funny enough, I don't consider my objects ready-made. Clearly inspiration is drawn from such objects, but they are very difficult to render. As a result , I wish to go towards mass production and explore what it offers. Collaborate with manufacturers and give a real go at furniture which I feel I didn't do much yet.
What's next for Lambert Rainville?
In my little bit of experience, I've learned to take my time. For now, another year in London and see what opportunities lie after RCA, but I intend to come back to Montréal and established an office/studio. There's much work to do here. We have to sell our craft on how "designed" objects are relevant in North American homes. And why not make Montréal the design hub we all dream about?