Dorian Etienne isn’t afraid to experiment with materials and design. Based in Paris, Dorian finds that his imagination is most informed by cultural anthropology and the natural world. His work is organic and inventive — from bamboo lanterns to origamic shoulder bags, he has an aptitude for creating a product from raw material that honors its original form. In his studio, he lets miscellaneous objects illuminate new ideas and allows the medium to be the message. Hear what Dorian has to say about his process.
Q: What’s unique about your work?
Anchored in near or distant territories, I observe cultures and histories, techniques and materials. The richness of the world’s cultural heritages inspire me throughout my work. Following this lead thread, braided of Human and Nature, I create sensible and sensitive products : “objets métissés”.
Q: What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?
I think my designer’s mission is to make people dream; to bring them into a mood, a culture, an unknown territory, an amazing trip…by the object.
By being inspired by the richness of the world’s cultural heritages, I create sensitive objects, witnesses of our wonderful cultural diversity.
It could be summed up in one sentence: “Show me how the world can be beautiful !”
Q: What is your favorite material to work with?
I like to work a lot of natural materials that I explore according to my intuitions and my desires. It is hard to choose just one favorite material, but if I had to I would say bamboo.
This was one of the main reasons I went to Taiwan for six months a few years ago … and I was not disappointed!
After a few months and a stay in Japan, I observed the diversity of forms and uses that can be done with this amazing material. In fact, what attracts me the most about bamboo is that it is one of the last materials that still resists industry standardization, and thus offers impressive qualities.
And Bruno Munari explains it very well: “Bamboo is like a plant profile, a green tube with a few internal partitions, witnesses of its speed of growth. And nature offers it to us for free, in all sizes and already varnished! “
Q: How do your pieces come to life? Tell us one interesting thing about your process?
I think the raw material of creation is the world around us. We create and take inspiration from our experiences, our exchanges with other people, our passions, from what makes us vibrate internally.
Thus I take my inspiration from my environment : whatever the place or the moment I always have in a part of my head a different look on things, a kind of continual questioning. A ramble in the forest, a film extract, a failed drawing, a material experiment. Thoughts intersect, mix up, reflect itselves and often generate intuitions and new ideas. Then remains the hard step… sort it out!
Q: What motivates and inspires you?
There is a Tuareg proverb that inspires me daily: “To travel is to go from oneself to oneself, passing through others.”
Q: What makes a space special?
In my opinion, what makes a space special is the look and attention you pay to it. The emotion generated by the objects offers a part of daily beauty that brings a renewal, a child’s gaze, a wonder.
Also published on Medium.