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Lucile Soufflet: Intimacy, Meeting and Sharing

Jul 2, 2020

For over a decade, Belgian designer Lucile Soufflet has been inspired by the individual, a sense of fun, and a rational perspective play. Recently, Spazio Nobile Gallery commissioned her to design a piece of furniture for the gallery: a metal circular bench has now taken place in the back of the garden, in dialogue with the existing furniture, and inaugurating the outdoor collection of the gallery.

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Belgian designer Lucile Soufflet is currently based in Brussels. For over a decade she is inspired by the individual, a sense of fun, and a rational perspective play. What questions do it objects ask and what social impact might it have? Dialogue, reflection, and experiments are at the heart of the artistic process, with the goal of producing objects that have a meaning. A teacher at La Cambre Arts Visuel(s), she is now a consultant for a number of architect offices and local authorities.  Spazio Nobile Gallery commissioned her to design a piece of  bespoke outdoor furniture for the gallery. A metal circular bench has now taken place in the back of the garden, in dialogue with the existing furniture, and inaugurating the Plein Air Collection of the gallery. TLmag spoke to her about her practice and drive. 

TLmag: How would you describe your practice and the work that you produce? 

Lucile Soufflet (LS): I like to work on projects that are related to the context in which it takes place: so that the object relates to the environment, or to the history and of course the use. Even in the case of ‘generic’ projects, which are not developed for the evolving context, the idea of dialogue remains essential. In the end, the link between objects and surroundings is very important for me. To nurture, to develop, and to anchor work in a dimension that is external to me. I also attach great importance to the visual impact of the object, to its evocative capacity. It seems to me that a project that evokes nothing misses one of its missions, it is a soulless object. 

TLmag: Your interest is divided into public space and domestic objects. Could you elaborate on how you approach these? In relation, yet separate from each other?

LS: I appreciate many perspectives of public space, both social and spatial. However, the relational aspect is particularly interesting to me: the concept of the community and the individual within it, the relationship to the others, the question of private and public space, the concept of intimacy, meeting, sharing. I also have real pleasure in installing an object outdoor, which fits into the built, the plants, the space, and the length of time. The idea that this object will sustain a longer period of time in this context really excites me.

Finally, working in public space is an opportunity to propose projects to a very varied audience, with direct accessibility to the public. Unlike working for a brand in the design field, work in public space asks for meeting people in their diversity. Each project has its own questions, its magic, and its constraints and this is one of the beautiful facets of the profession. But the creative process remains the same. 

TLmag: How does your technique and choice of materials come back into the previously described interest?

LS: I am not focused on a specific material, even if I work mainly around specific techniques and materials such as metal, wood, glass, concrete, ceramic, cast iron. What is central and leading in my work, is to find a simplicity of which leaves place for evocation. This idea of legibility involves a minimum of technical elements, all details must be simplified as much as possible to be fully integrated into the whole. 

TLmag: You recently designed a piece for Spazio Nobile, could you take us through the process of designing and developing it?

LS: The gallery’s back garden now houses a small curved stone bench and its table, which created an old-fashioned charm to the place but whose general perception remained quite dark. When Spazio Nobile asked me to design something for the garden, I decided to work on this space in dialogue with the existing 1920s table and bench. The circular metal bench, therefore, completes the curve of the stone furniture, creating a circle that is both intimate and friendly, whose light colour illuminates this forgotten part of the garden. 

TLmag: Are there any recent projects, or projects that are coming up, that you’d like to share with us?

LS: I am currently designing a range of cast iron furniture, for which the first prototypes are in progress right now. It’s a wonderfully exciting process. I am also working on the design of a grid for a park, which brings us to question limits, borders, and perception. The link between what is inside and what is outside is examined. There are a lot of new questions that are currently central to the organization of public space. Among other things the sharing of space and its variety of uses in a limited space. 

Bespoke Circular Bench at Spazio Nobile
Spazio Nobile, Lucile Soufflet's Circular Bench
Spazio Nobile, Lucile Soufflet's Circular Bench
Picnic furniture, Lucile Soufflet
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