LUXURYCULTURE.COM - The Bouroullec Barge


The Bouroullec brothers cast off in a new direction with The Floating House, their first residential design.

Famous for their streamlined modular furniture, the Bouroullec brothers cast off towards new horizons with The Floating House, an inhabitable barge moored along the Seine.

What is your definition of luxury?
Freedom is luxury.

If luxury were an object what would it be?
A car. To go anywhere.

If luxury were a place where would it be?
Somewhere near without any tourism around

French design brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec (35 and 30 respectively) are arguably the industry's most-talked about rising stars. And with good reason! Since the two began collaborating less than ten years ago, they have earned contracts with Cappellini, Vitra, Magis, Ligne Roset, Habitat and the Kréo Gallery, and well as countless prestigious awards and commissions. Though the prolific team had already toiled in everything from furniture and installation to lighting and jewelry design, they had never designed a home before. Therefore, when approached several years back by France's CNEAI (National Art Center For Printed Art) to create a floating house for resident authors and artists, they initially thought there been a casting mistake.

"We liked the idea very much and were inspired by the floating aspect of the project," admits the duo, who dutifully accepted the challenge. Completed this month, their 'Floating House' is now moored to the 'Impressionists' Island' of Chatou, along the river Seine, amidst the picturesque scenery that famously inspired Renoir's 1881 impressionist masterpiece, 'The Luncheon of the Boating Party.'

Realized in collaboration with naval architects Denis Daversin and Jean-Marie Finot, the streamlined structure — in fact an aluminum-skinned, wooden trellis mounted onto a long rectangular barge — reflects the brother's signature style of simplicity mixed with poetic pragmatism.

Neither defined nor definitive, the single-level loft-like space is a modular frame in which life can be arranged and rearranged as effortlessly as the easy sways of the river's swirls. Through large bay windows, the changing reflections of the sun-kissed water infiltrate the space, producing a dreamlike atmosphere that favors inspiration and contemplation. Designed as a fairy-tale refuge at one with its scenic setting, floorboards at water level give the impression of walking on water, while integrated flowerpots invite vines to creep over walls and onto the roof. The Bouroullecs, who admit that their favorite architect is Jean Prouvé, "for his cleverness," think the space looks best — unsurprising — when furnished with their own designs, such as the Striped Chair for Magis, the Facett Sofa for Ligne Roset, and the Slow Chair, Metal Side Tables and Lantern for Vitra

Conceived as a reproducible object, clear the waters for a Bouroullec barge near you.

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