Introducing… Pauline Deltour

Since its inception, Established & Sons has provided a platform for younger, less ‘established’ designers to create products that go against the grain, explore new ideas and challenge the skills of manufacturers. This year, Pauline Deltour joins the Established & Sons family with Bloc – a range of graphic tables based on the idea of a hand-drawn cube.

BLOC Chez Pauline Deltour Paris c2020 Establishedand Sons c Bastien Lattanzio All Rights Reserved 9 Pauline Deltour at home with BLOC (L1200) in zinc yellow, signal yellow and pale grey and BLOC (L640) in bright red, burgundy and clay

Pauline Deltour is one of the best of a generation of designers who are increasingly blurring the boundaries between art and design. The Bloc table series is an exploration of colour and form, evoking the works of 20th-century artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Piet Mondrian. But it is also profoundly practical.

Est Journal spoke to Deltour via Whatsapp from her studio in Paris to find out more about her approach to design.

BLOC chez Pauline Deltour Photography Bastien Lattanzio Established Sons 20202 BLOC (L640) in bright red, burgundy and clay designed by Deltour for Established & Sons. LRNC vase, painting bought in Essaouira, religious icon ‘heart’ from a Greek island, little bird toy from La Maison Empereur and green candle holder in opaline

EST: Did you always want to be a designer?
Deltour: I knew I wanted to do something that connected art with something very practical. But I didn't know that a product designer existed before I was 16! Discovering this was a shock for me – I was like, 'OK, I think I've found what I want to do in my life'.

Then I had a second 'revelation' when Konstantin Grcic came to give a lecture at my [design] school. He showed us pictures of his atelier and explained the way he works and the time he spends on each project. Here was the right balance between art, colour, material, experimentation and rules. Knowing enough about a material to understand what you can do with it – this was key for me. This was exciting. I was sure I wanted to do this job. So I applied for an internship with Konstantin. I was supposed to stay for six months, but I stayed for a year. It was the best school.

EST: This relationship with Grcic – who is also part of the Established & Sons family – has been really important for you...
Deltour: Yes. I came back to Paris to do my diploma, but then I went back to work for Konstantin as an assistant for three years. When you work for Konstantin – whether you are an assistant or an intern – you become a project leader. You do everything. So really, I learned everything from him. I'm really grateful. And then he introduced me to Muji and Alessi. And these two companies said: 'we want to work with you.'

BLOC chez Pauline Deltour Photography Bastien Lattanzio Established Sons 2020 Chair One by Konstantin Grcic in a unique turquoise colour. On the wall, a Star Wars illustration and a red typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti. BLOC (L1200) in zinc yellow, signal yellow and pale grey designed by Deltour for E&S

EST: At what point did you decide it was time to create your own studio?
Deltour: Working for myself and Konstantin at the same time was becoming too complicated, ethically as well as practically. Very naively I started my own business, but I didn't know that it would be so difficult – I had these two projects for two amazing companies, so I ran towards that adventure. After six months I said, 'I need to go back to Paris'. It was just easier for me to find people to work with on prototypes there. I needed to get back to my roots. So this is how I started my studio. At the time, it was difficult to be respected and to be paid for what I was doing as a designer in France, so I was working a lot with Japan, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy...

EST: How would you describe your design process?
Deltour: Usually, I don't have anything in mind when I start a project. I like this white page. Starting a project is a bit like being on top of a mountain or cliff and you need to jump. It's scary but super exciting.

But in many ways, my projects are linked to each other. Every time you learn something, it has an impact on other projects, even six months, a year later. You learn from one project and it feeds another one.

I don't really have a signature. I try to adapt the DNA of the company I'm working with to things that I want to try out and to test – I like to design something really relevant for the companies and people I work with and their history. And I rely a lot on intuition. I really listen to my stomach.

For example, with Established & Sons, we can make a strong statement, that's in the DNA. But it's also refined. Bloc is quite technical – it has to be so sharp, so well made, so that the cubes are perfectly cubic.

BLOC chez Pauline Deltour Photography Bastien Lattanzio Established Sons 20203 BLOC (L1200) in zinc yellow, signal yellow and pale grey by Deltour for E&S, bag VVORKER designed by Deltour for Faber Novel made from Dyneema. The corridor was painted in green during the first lockdown.

EST: Bloc is a very bold statement...
Deltour: As a young designer, I always felt that I really would like to work for Established & Sons, so I was really excited when they emailed me! So, knowing a bit about the company, my first thought was about colour. This is how the Bloc story started.

Colour is so important – it has such a strong impact on you when you see a piece. And material and colour are so dependent on each other. Colour has such a great role in my projects, but it always comes in too late. So in the last year and a half, I've thought a lot about how to bring colour into the process of design much earlier. So I saw this as an opportunity to start with the colour, and then let that inform the shape.

Bloc could not have worked with rounded corners or edges. It works because it is purely flat surfaces. It takes the light very well. It may seem a bit dangerous at this moment, but it is stronger like this. Its good to be brave. Plain, blocks of pure colour – whatever object you put on them will be beautiful.

BLOC chez Pauline Deltour Photography Bastien Lattanzio Established Sons 20204 Pouf Drop designed by Deltour for COR, Bold Chair in blue designed by Big Game for Moustache

Words by Anna Winston
Photography by Bastian Lattanzio in Pauline Deltour's home.

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Take this live guided tour by Sebastian Wrong of our London HQ to get a closer look at 2020 New Designs.

AURA LIGHT Sabine Marcelis c2020 Establishedand Sons c Pim Top Studio Shoot Detail Lit 01 300dpi

2020 New Designs

This year, Established & Sons present exceptional new designs by Sabine Marcelis and Pauline Deltour, alongside an exciting addition to the Lucio product family by Sebastian Wrong.

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