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Florent Coirier, designer of extremes

Florent Coirier works alone in his 65 m 2 studio, rue d’Aubervilliers, between the Centquatre, a cultural and artistic space located on the site of the Paris municipal funeral service and opposite the Gare du Nord shipping areas. Between his oven, his screens and his 3D printer, he does not get bored, works for Emu, Serralunga on a large scale or molds and bakes his own clay pots for Japanese bonsai.

Florent Coirier was born in Nantes and grew up in Saint-Etienne-de-Montluc, a small town of 6000 inhabitants, 15 minutes from Nantes, in Loire-Atlantique and lived in a house “like in the countryside” , with a father in the vegetable garden and her mother, a housewife, creative and handyman. The eldest of three children, with a sister and a brother, his father, a bank employee and his mother, immediately taught him autonomy.

A family of “beavers”

In college, he learns in 4 th that there is in the National Education, an Applied Arts section thanks to its Plastic Arts teacher, Mr. Tenot, a brilliant teacher, an artist in his spare time alongside teaching, passionate about architecture and chairs, who learns perspective, draws buildings and makes them want to draw objects or furniture to equip them. His Blade Runner perspectives, his drawings of 1/5th scale chairs, in 4 th , in 3 rd , are still in the attic of his parents’ house. At the Lycée in Nantes, he passed a Bac Applied Arts, formerly F12 and joined ENSAMAA, Olivier de Serres in Paris for a BTS.

“In my family, a family of ‘beavers’, all my uncles knew how to build a house” . With Olivier de Serres, he took advantage of a two-and-a-half-year exchange in England where he spent a bachelor’s degree still “in the countryside” , in Birmingham where he learned autonomy in work. His project, he had to follow it alone, fend for himself, “indirectly, it’s formative” and his work at the Midlands Art Center in Birmingham only served to complete his English Merit Scholarship.

Back in France, he worked directly in an agency on point-of-sale advertising, but before starting out on his own, he spent three years “of classes” at Christophe Pillet to learn the BA BA of design: how much a service costs, how to invoice it and at what rate the royalties rise. Renowned for his collaborations with great architects, Christophe Pillet immediately put him to work on furniture projects. He took part in the Ligne Roset or Cinna competitions… but his first project to come out and which he signed was with the Belgian brand Modular, a specialist in ultra-technical spots, intended for sales areas, museums or art galleries altogether. gender. The Polka table lamp comes out at Habitat and is still on sale there. He then left Christophe Pillet’s studio and set up on his own, taking advantage of the provision of space by the Ateliers de Paris, rue Faidherbe (today BDMMA, Bureaux du Design, de la Mode et des Métiers d’Art of the city of Paris).

Start the big ones

Florent Coirier then began canvassing the greatest for wider distribution and his Lyze chair for Emu has now been produced in more than 6,000 copies. At Emu, the Mom chair is produced in more than 10,000 copies per year. It became their second bestseller. They have moved from manual production to robotic assembly. The Lyze in the USA is all stainless steel. Higher cost for higher standards? “You have to ask Emu. But his presence in Starbucks is enough to validate his humanity.

Mom chair, design Florent Coirier for EMU © Studio Florent Coirier
Lyze chair, design Florent Coirier for EMU © Studio Florent Coirier

He maintains a good relationship with Modular, which each year makes him work on a brief, which is very often followed up, as with the line of Qbini spots, developed in several sizes and shapes.

Lamp from the Qbini range, design Florent Coirier © Modular LightingInstruments

Together with David Design, the Swedish from Helsingborg, he has developed a series of Goliath sofas. He met the “boss” on his stand at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2018. The company pleased him for its family side. He traveled there, passing by Copenhagen, Helsingborg then by car with the ‘boss’ to the factory in Ulricehamn, for only two hours of meeting but a contact with the team which could not exist by Zoom or Skype. A year later, he designed a Planar daybed that was particularly effective at the time of the Covid when everyone had to face the rules of confinement, distancing and working from home. The office chair is being studied for release in Stockholm in February 2023.

Planar seating project, design Florent Coirier © David Design

The Serralunga Adventure

Contacted a year ago by Marco Serralunga for a bistro chair with plastic slats, in technopolymer or injected and recycled plastic, Florent Coirier tried the adventure of rethinking his chair. “It’s the first time I’ve received an email from a company asking me to design a chair” . Because “how do you draw a new chair when you have already drawn one? his friends often ask him . Making a mold for 250,000 euros requires a certain amount of confidence on the part of the manufacturer.

Croisette chair, design Florent Coirier for Serralunga © Studio Florent Coirier
Croisette chair, design Florent Coirier for Serralunga © Studio Florent Coirier

So he spent a month working on his project and sent around ten different drawings, hoping that Marco Serralunga would choose the right one, his favourite. Bingo, this chair dedicated to the community with its flat slats caught the eye of Marco, a classic of the popular unconscious and the manufacturer took pleasure in the material connections and made it possible, all in plastic injected. His first prototype, he saw it by photo, with an estimated price of 138 euros.

To communicate, he uses Instagram, not having the means to afford advertising pages in magazines. Yet another press is interested in him, a press specializing not in flowers but in bonsai. Like his friend Adrien de Melo, designer at RDAI, Japan fascinates him and he did not hesitate to offer himself a month of training with a bonsai master, Kunio Kobayashi, owner of the Shunkaen Bonzaïs Museum in Tokyo. Edogawa.

Kunio Kobayashi and Florent Coirier

With him, he learns the life of the bonsai and the fusion between the tree and the ceramic. First by simply sweeping the workshop then gradually by taking control of the art of cutting. In Paris, on his lathe and in his oven, he experimented with colors and materials, ranging from the blackest coal to the reddest ochre, passing through the most golden sand and the chalkiest white.

Pot Bonsai Furo © Studio Florent Coirier

Its pots, available in several sizes, are a delight for bonsai lovers who dream of growing an oak, a birch or a ficus on a miniature scale. But in his studio, all you have to do is open the sliding door of his mini-greenhouse to understand that Florent Coirier is capable of resisting all climates, humid or cold, sunny or foggy, flattering or critical.

Bénédicte Duhalde