Christophe Delcourt on the Language of Design

Simone Sutnick

ana-sofa-doo-low table
The Ana sofa and Doo low table. Courtesy of Christophe Delcourt.

Christophe Delcourt’s modern and organic silhouettes are a staple of Toronto-based showroom Avenue Road. Recently, the self-taught designer sat down with Cultured to talk about his relationship with the showroom and how his collections unfold like stories.

Can you tell me a bit about your background, how you came into the world of design?

A meeting with an artisanal blacksmith and his brother, a cabinetmaker, was decisive. Through this interaction, I discovered that blending techniques and precise crafting could enrich a piece. Thanks to their generosity and their willingness to share their savoir-faire, I acquired the knowledge and sensivity that I have today. There was something really essential and determining in that balance between pureness of the intention and the perceived quality of the piece.

How did your relationship with Avenue Road develop?

The partnership with Avenue Road is very important to me. Stephan Weishaupt is widely recognized in the field of contemporary design, mainly for his knowledge and inexhaustible curiosity for different cultures and products.

I think that fidelity is a fundamental element in one’s work, especially in partnership. It allows for working on long terms, to take things further in our work and as a result becoming more precise, but also more demanding with our creations. It’s almost like being married, it works best when people understand each other perfectly.

The Doo side table and Doo low table. Courtesy of Christophe Delcourt.

The pieces have elements that are organic, architectural and industrial at the same time. What do you draw inspiration from?

Organic forms such as plants or minerals, with their force and delicacy, are a constant source of inspiration. Architecture and art also nourish my creative practice.

What is the relationship between the materials and the forms?

In my opinion, there is an intimate relationship between a piece of furniture and the person that chooses it. The piece physically accompanies him or her throughout daily life. I think I love working on the sensitivity of the shapes and materials; that is why I want my pieces to express desire, dreams, poetry and sensuality. My goal is mainly to create a design that is comfortable for my clients and responds to their expectations of functionality. I also want to be able to respond to new lifestyles. I love furniture that is comfortable, generous and thoughtful of both its users and environment.

The Bob daybed. Courtesy of Christophe Delcourt.

How do you choose the materials you work with?

The diversity of my lines comes from using different materials, which complete and compliment one another: wood, ceramic, steel and textile…I love working with wood, which is my favorite material. Wood is universal and multi-cultural; it is the primary material for building a house, a roof. It is also a live material, which man knows how to sublimate.

What is the process of creating a new collection?

I often start out with a new story. I frequently design in the same way that an author would write a novel. I like to imagine a particular frame of ideas, which is why I often design an entire line of furniture rather than individual pieces. I always do many drafts in order to find new solutions and new directions. I think that every model must have its own story to tell, so it’s important for me to reflect on line, proportion and on precision of detail.