One of the design world’s most iconic pieces of furniture, The Bubble Chair, has been reimagined and remade by Ben Rousseau, a British designer, now based in Los Angeles. The Rousseau Bubble Chair is available as an illuminated version, as in powder coated steel as well as the floor standing version,
WHO AM I – A FEW WORDS FROM DESIGNER
I grew up in Colchester, England’s oldest recorded town. I appreciated the history and what the Romans did for us in terms of architecture and developing the way we create buildings. Still, I was always interested in creating the future, so I was always fascinated by the futuristic architecture and vehicles in sci films like Star Wars and Blade Runner when I was young. I also loved the work of Ken Adam, who designed all the sets for the early Bond films. I loved how modern and exciting his interiors felt.
I’m now living in Manhattan Beach, California, and enjoy working on projects between London and Los Angeles. I started my studio in 2001 with a goal – to create the very coolest objects for the coolest spaces.
What do you enjoy most about working in design?
Ben Rousseau has launched new editions of his own interpretation of the iconic Eero Aarnio Bubble Chair, beloved by Bond villains and Playboy playmates alike.There are versions for outside or inside use
Making people happy. I love creating objects for people that want something unique, or that is not of the mainstream. I love working with craftsmen that truly know their art and have exceptional knowledge of their materials and manufacturing capabilities. I love to collaborate with these people and effectively learn from them.
What would you say are your main influences when conceiving a piece of work?
It really depends on what I’ve been doing or where I’ve been. I think, most times an idea develops further after a fluke scene in a film or seeing something at a museum or on a new building that takes an idea forward. Maybe it is just a detail, maybe it is a material used in a unique way. Most ideas have an influence from a sci-Fi film or a vehicle of some description.
What comes first – the materials or the design idea?
Usually, the idea and that is normally already assigned a material. Sometimes that material can change later on but gets prototyped in one and then organically changes to something else more perfect
How do you choose your materials?
Usually, because I know the right craftsmen to use for the job, that is a specialist in his field. For the bubble chairs, I knew I needed to rely on people in the automotive field to help with the correct CNC tube bending knowledge as well as the automotive upholstery of customized vehicle interiors.
Do you work in a sustainable way? Explain
I try my best to yes, I ensure I recycle as much as possible, I hate wasting materials and try to create things that will last generations not be part of the throw-away culture I despise so much.
What part of the process excites you the most?
The prototyping. Once you physically see an idea become a real entity in full size, it can be amazing. Usually better than I expect it to be
What would you say are your values and ethics when it comes to designing?
A lot of my work is commissioned to order, so I make things exactly as one person wants, and that may not be what someone else likes or what is universally more widely appreciated. So for me, it is always more important to make that one person 110% happy rather than do something to please everyone.
I always look after the little guys, the small specialist workshops who help me create the bespoke pieces I produce. Without them, my world doesn’t work. I’d like this planet to last a while. I am conscious of the destruction we as man has caused this planet, so I want to help create clever design processes that help others use waste materials in a more accepted and valued way.
What makes you different/ unique from other furniture makers?
Maybe the reason I create a piece in the first place. It is never to fill a gap in the market; it is always to create something special that will be ultimately loved and cared for and enjoyed. Then passed on and shared, not broken down and binned and replaced. I don’t see my pieces as just furniture; they are items of sculpture, with artist poise and a story to tell. They are designed to be the center of attention, not just be functional and practical
From all your pieces, which is your favorite and why?
Probably my Tempus Illuminated Timepieces as they are so futuristic and unique. Looking forward to doing more sculptural work with them too.
Each piece is primarily a kinetic artwork that doubles as a futuristic clock with out the usual construction methods usually used to represent time. A clock for the digital generation.
Who is your favorite furniture designer?
Probably Luigi Colani, his designs from the late ’60s and early 70’s were so ahead of their time, and they would still look amazing today!!