R&E Bouroullec for Kettal. The outdoor seat that stands the test of time

You recently unveiled Stampa, a new outdoor seat created in collaboration with Kettal. What are the distinguishing characteristics of the product?
When we started to analyse the brief, our first idea was to design an aluminium seat that was robust and delicate at the same time. In order to realise this aim, we encouraged the company to experiment with combining various techniques.
The perforated back has been made by punching and folding sheets of aluminium and is linked to the seat and hydroformed legs via an injection-moulded ring, which lends solidity and compactness to the structure.
This process has allowed us to obtain simple, light forms which have a textile-like feel but are robust enough to last for a long time, even when used in an outdoor environment. Like a pair of leather boots, we wanted Stampa to acquire more and more charm with the passing of time.

How did the development process progress?
Design is a process of collective intelligence, but from the very start we were convinced of the geometry of the seat and the techniques we wanted to use to create it. From there, by working with Kettal we discovered new elements and the project evolved step by step. It was a new and stimulating experience for Kettal, because they are masters of traditional technologies but this is a very advanced seat in terms of its technological properties.

How did the intended use of the seat influence the design process?
Outdoor furniture has to overcome a very stern test: changing climatic conditions. We have always loved Toledo, a seat designed for Knoll by Jorge Pensi, and have been waiting to design an similarly robust seat in aluminium for a long time. Our desire is to design a product that we might find in a market in 20 years and be really happy about it.
So when we received the brief, we instantly thought that the moment to give it a go had arrived.

Do you already have plans to develop the collection further?
We believe that a relationship with a company is a bit like a love story. We were very satisfied with our first experience with Kettal, so we’re currently working on solutions that will allow us to complete the collection.

Your projects are linked by a pursuit of new technical and aesthetic solutions. What role does experimentation play in your work?
Research and experimentation are very stimulating factors, although at times they can be frustrating because the result of that journey can lead to projects that are ultimately unattainable… A good project is characterised by a subtle balance between several factors. And consumer experience is one of these. We aim to create projects that are accessible for the majority of people. Therefore, we always try to experiment, while keeping market and user demands in mind.