Design

Jean Louis Iratzoki: furniture with sober and authentic design

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The new Heldu line takes advantage of the complex interlocking techniques of cabinetmakers.

Alki

Côté Sud takes you to discover designer Jean Louis Iratzoki and his creations of design furniture. Alki, Retegui, Bosc, Goicoechea or Treku ... These traditional Basque companies have two assets in their sleeve: their know-how and the designer Jean Louis Iratzoki, who helps them to reinvent themselves and to conquer new markets thanks to beautiful furniture, well done, with a story to tell.

In 1995, Jean Louis Iratzoki was 30 when he set up his design studio in the Basque village of Ascain, near Saint-Jean-de-Luz, his hometown. He graduated in interior design from the Boulle School and in industrial design from the Madrid School of Design. In 2005, at the request of Alki, a cabinetmakers' cooperative in Itxassou, he designed the line of Emea solid oak furniture, which differs from its usual production in its purity of line. Emea is a real success, a new start for Alki and a springboard for Jean Louis, who now accompanies other companies on both sides of the Pyrenees. Proof that in times of crisis, opt for beauty and modernity can be a very good idea!

Tradition of mulching revisited by the Kimua line.

Alki

You have a global approach to design ...

Jean Louis Iratzoki: Some manufacturers who appeal to me are in a commercial stalemate. There, the design of the product is not enough. I help them to redefine a strategy, an identity, then to design new collections in adequacy and finally to position themselves with a website, brochures, a catalog adapted to new target customers. It is a global service for which, two years ago, we set up the Lanka platform, a multidisciplinary cross-border team based in Bidart.

It all started with Alki. Is it a special adventure?

Jean Louis Iratzoki: Alki was a specialized cooperative for thirty years in the reissue of rustic furniture or "period". It was a team of experienced cabinetmakers, but when Peio Uhalde, her manager, contacted me in 2005, she was in the wall, victim of international competition. When I drew the Emea chair, I saw that it was not his cup of tea, but Peio gave me carte blanche. He made the inflated bet of modernity. It is his confidence that gives this adventure its particular human dimension. With Patrick Norguet and Samuel Accoceberry, we have declined timeless lines with a simple but highly worked design, and with a discreet wink to the Basque culture. This transversal rurality has been enjoyed by us as much as in Northern Europe or Asia. And everything went very fast. By 2010, Alki had become synonymous with quality designer furniture, acclaimed by hotels, museums, major corporations and starred restaurants.

In red, the Koila chair chosen by the Mucem in Marseille

Alki

With its wooden wave on a laminate background, the Belharra table in Treku is named after a famous Basque surf spot.

Treku

The product recipe succeeded?

Jean Louis Iratzoki: Successful products are meant to be the companions of a lifetime. Each time I do a real job. Around the idea, the choice of materials and industrial implementation, I immerse myself in the logic of the one who manufactures. Then I put myself in the skin of the user and there, I think in terms of sustainable line and comfort. I try to imagine this little extra soul that makes you adopt an object, we like to use it often in everyday life. Finally, there is the environmental dimension, which is essential for me.

After cabinetmaking, ceramics and, now, marble ... Is not that very different?

Jean Louis Iratzoki: I do not have any material of choice, it's true. What matters to me is the know-how, the human adventure ... The pottery Goicoechea, for example, was born in Ossès in 1960 and has developed a magnificent technique (kept partly secret) to make large jars and the vats that are torn away by gardens all over the world. The clay is strongly launched on a removable wooden structure and surrounded by ropes. The drying of these big pieces is very delicate, like cooking that lasts for days. To stand out from their usual, rather baroque production, I imagined Goiko, a very contemporary, minimal and functional capsule collection. It consists of the cup and plates Laga, Soka jars, convertible table and lamp nomad Onddo.A Retegui marble of Saint-Jean-deLuz, I found an inventiveness, a requirement and an opening of rare mind. I imagined on one side Petra, coffee tables in black or white marble, indoor or outdoor, which are cut in the mass and robust as bitts mooring port. And, in contrast, I used the knowledge of composite materials Claude Retegui, who also works for boating and aeronautics. An aluminum honeycomb hidden under an oak trim allowed me to considerably lighten the marble top of my Arin table and my Egala shelves. It's exciting and it opens so many possibilities!

Wool seating, leather and wood fasteners, the Duffle sofa by Bosc is as snug as a duffle coat.

Bosc

At Retegui, marble is left raw or associated with sharp composite materials. Petra coffee tables.

Retegui

You work mainly between France and Spain ...

Jean Louis Iratzoki: Yes, this happened naturally: the Basque Country is straddling the border and, depending on the know-how or the sectors of activity, we switch from one side to the other. I am lucky to be trilingual and to work with a dozen manufacturers in France and Spain, but in my work, my only identity claim is to be a player in local development. Helping businesses here to walk, yes, I have this social concern from the beginning and it gives meaning to what I do. Just as I like to do the maximum with the minimum, they are values ​​of the campaign, they are values ​​from here, but they are also universal ...

And by 2015?

Jean Louis Iratzoki: In January, we will present a new collection of sofas with Bosc, a carpentry-tapestry landaise which received last year the label VIA for Xistera: contemporary alcoves, co-signed with Samuel Accoceberry, who reinterpret the tradition of caning. I also presented Duffle in woolen cloth, with patch pockets and wooden buttons. And Kouet, covered with a throw topped with the same down as the Pyrenex jackets, fashion and landaises them too. Finally, I will work with Treku, a furniture manufacturer in Zarautz since 1947, with whom I realized the Belharra table. But here is a program that will be presented in Paris in January.

At the Goicoechea pottery, the Goiko capsule collection consists of the Onddo lamp, whose low enamelled part diffuses the light and serves as a storage compartment.

Goicoechea

Jean Louis Iratzoki, Soroetako Borda, Serres Auzoa, 64310 Ascain, tel. 05 59 51 11 77, www.iratzoki.com

Quiet is called "lasai" in Basque, the name of this Alki chair in solid oak and colorful canvas and leather cushions.

Alki

The new Heldu line takes advantage of the complex interlocking techniques of cabinetmakers.

Alki

Coffee table and Lasai armchair.

Alki

At Retegui, marble is left raw or associated with sharp composite materials. Domo dishes.

Retegui

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