Exclusive Interview with Sebastian Bergne
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Bergne set up his London design studio after graduating from The Royal College of Art in 1990. He has since established an impressive body of work, ranging from corkscrews to kettles, Frying pans to pencil dice. Bergne has collaborated with manufacturers including Authentics, Tefal, MUJI, Habitat, De Beers, Moulinex, Gaia & Gino and Vitra.
Bergne’s work shows less of a signature style, more a quest for appropriate new solutions to diverse design problems, whether working on bespoke projects or anonymous consumer products.
His achievements have been widely recognised with international design awards, frequent publication, exhibitions and inclusion in permanent collections such as The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Design Museum (London). Bergne shares his knowledge and experience through guest speaking, lecturing and jury participation.
What does design mean for you? What is design in your life?
Design is the process by which the physical world around us comes to be. It is a reflection of our needs, desires and indifference. If I can influence this in a positive way then I am happy. Design is my profession and my means of expression.
Please describe the changes in design over the last 20 years.
On the one hand, design has changed little in the past 20 years. It is still a process by which decisions are made as to how something should become real based on function, manufacturing and cultural criteria. On the other hand a designer today has more elements to consider and juggle with; sustainability, ecology, increased competition, communication, fashion and a more visually educated public.
So, you could say, the process of design is the same, it is the parameters that are changing.
Which designers/architects have influenced your work the most?
At different times, different people have Influenced me. As a youngster, Artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp and Edward Weston were a revelation. As a student, friends such as Konstantin Grcic and masters like Achille Castiglioni and Ettoree Sottsass were important. Today I am effected more by people I meet and spend time with on an everyday basis. It is not the fact that they are a designer that is important.
What item have you envied because of its design?
There are many great designs that I admire and would like to own, but I consider envy a destructive emotion so I do my best to avoid it.
Do you believe that design assists in the creation of a “better” world?
Fortunately the word ‘Better’ has a broad meaning. So yes, design should be a positive act and however small, have a positive effect on the world.
Should design be more inexpensive or does it deserve to be paid for at a high price?
Everything has a correct price. It is not the process of design that necessarily makes something expensive or cheap. It is the object itself and the context in which it exists that sets its price.
What led you to become involved in design?
As a boy I was dyslexic and not academic at all. Understandably I worked hard at and enjoyed the subjects I did have some ability in. My family environment was supportive so in the end it was somehow natural that I become a designer.
If you were not a designer, what other profession would you have chosen?
As a student, I nearly became a photographer but if I was forced to choose another profession today, I would probably become a chef.