Circus: Bouroullec Designs

Explore the work of brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, leading figures in contemporary industrial design and recipients of the 2021 Collab Design Excellence Award. For more than twenty years, the Bouroullecs have created innovative, playful designs that probe the flexible relationships between people and environments and explore the potential of form, materials, and texture to bring comfort or joy.

This exhibition features projects mostly from the past decade—furniture, lighting, textiles, glass, ceramics, architecture, room division systems—presented within a gallery environment designed by the brothers and their studio. Original models connected to these projects are also on view. The Bouroullecs’ creative spirit and lively design sense inspired the title of the exhibition—a metaphor for the fantastical experience of the circus, and the roles of their works as performers within.

Inspiration & Innovation
Notable aspects of the brothers’ approach to design are their regard for the natural world as a source of inspiration and their deep engagement with manufacturing processes and materials to produce visual and physical effects. Many objects in this exhibition reflect an intertwining of traditional craft techniques with contemporary style. They celebrate the handmade qualities of these designs and the imperfections inherent in production processes as a source of variety, visual interest, and means of softening the sometimes mechanical characteristics of mass manufacture.

Clouds (370), 2009, designed by Ronan Bouroullec (French, born 1971) and Erwan Bouroullec (French, born 1976). Made by Kvadrat, Ebeltoft, Denmark. © Studio Bouroullec
20 November 2021 to 30 May 2022
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
19130 Philadelphia, PA, USA
Philadelphia Museum of Art