A CUP OF TEA WITH: ANTHONY ROUSSEL
When Anthony Roussel got in touch asking me to check out his work, I really didn't have any idea it was going to be something that I fell in love with so quickly. It's unique, it's statement and it's GEOMETRIC! Total no brainer really. Read on to find out a bit more about this exciting new creator in my interview with Anthony Roussel...
Firstly, for anyone who doesn't know you, can you tell us a bit about you?
I am Anthony Roussel. 36. British designer. Born and live in London.
What is the story of Anthony Roussel, where did you begin in the world of design, and was it easy to get your business up and running?
I started out as a graphic designer in my early 20s. I freelanced a bit, worked for others. It was nice but I knew I hadn't found my thing. I made a big sacrifice and returned to education. To cut a long story short, I ended with an art degree and another one in jewellery. Still in my 20s, I launched myself as an independent jewellery designer in 2007. Loved it, it was great to get all that immediate attention from press and retailers and the awards of course. I exhibited my work extensively. Along side this I designed my own line of furniture and lighting with my brother which we got into top retailers such as Liberty. This year a few things in my life fell together and I made the decision to start a surface design brand under my own name; Atelier Anthony Roussel. It hasn't been easy. Without backing it's virtually impossible to fly on your own straight out of uni. What's important is that I now have the right amount of experience to make this happen. This is a passion and I feel it will be such a lovely brand to develop for years to come.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your work, or the Anthony Roussel style / brand?
Clean, organised & intricate. I always start with a chaotic collection of elements and then refine them into smaller groups. You can see this in my layering technique.
How did you establish your brand and business?
This is a new venture so we have some way to go. Since its launch we have done well with some press exposure. Material Lab and SCIN invited us to display samples in their galleries. I think with these opportunities the brand is on it's way to securing its first serious commissions.
It's my thing, I have been working with this material since 2006. At the beginning, when I started experimenting with digital technologies, I got some funny looks but I knew I was onto something special.
Where did your love of geometrics come from, and do you think you'll ever do anything different?
I love the precision of clean lines and angles. The repetition, the sequencing, the mathematics. It seems otherworldly. My early work in jewellery was very organic but in recent years geometry has definitely helped me refine my design process. For sure I will explore other avenues in future. However, anything I create is recognisably mine.
Where do you sell your works?
The surfaces are available on a commission made to order basis directly from the studio, but we are releasing furniture in the next few weeks. We have been talking to key retailers for our tables.
How much should people expect to budget if they are choosing one of your surfaces for their home or project?
Our prices start at £900 per square metre.
You started with Jewellery and then moved on to interior and exterior surfaces. What's next?
I just want to build on the good start we have had with the launch of the brand and concentrate on doing that well. We will be introducing lighting and furniture to compliment the surfaces.
What would you advise someone to do who was trying to reawaken their creativity?
I can tell you what works for me, and this was actually pivotal to my journey into surfaces. I overcame creative lulls by going for long walks and taking photos of anything interesting I saw. Cracks in a surface, brickwork, anything that triggered my thought process. I now have 2 instagram accounts that I use as sketchbooks. I would recommend this process to anyone needing a boost.
What's the hardest part about being a designer / maker?
Perfectionism! It can stifle creativity. Most designers are perfectionists, we are never happy, we keep striving for something that doesn't exist and we can be very hard on ourselves. I think it is important to be brave enough to make mistakes in order to be creative. That is the hardest test, to undo what you know already works and risk failure.
Who or what are you influenced by?
Matisse, Monet, Chuck Close.
Do you make your pieces with an end user in mind? How would you describe them?
With the surface designs I do. I aim for luxury interiors. We where recently approached for a high profile Whisky tasting room commission. The interior designer described it as something you might see in Mad Men, the American period drama.
What is your best style tip?
Keep it simple, but add lots of accents to your environment that can be swopped around when you feel like a change.
What do you do to relax?
I do a lot of sketching. I've always found it relaxing, therapeutic even.
What's your favourite movie and why?
Léon: The professional. Directed by Luc Besson. It's centred around a relationship between a 12 year old girl on the run and an assassin. Sounds awkward but it's a beautiful film with the perfect amount of hope and tragedy. Little Nathalie Portman is excellent. Probably the first time I heard 'venus as a boy' by Bjork. The film came out in 94. I just feel that it reflects that great creative vibe there was in the mid 90s. Last of the original decades if you ask me.
Do you have any other up and coming designers or makers that you'd like to 'big up'?
What do you guys think of Anthony's work?