Who: Sacha Lakic, an award-winning French designer of cars, motorcycles and furniture.
Known for: Conveying fluidity and movement through modern yet timeless forms.
Most recent project: Creating contemporary furniture for Paris-based Roche Bobois, which opened a location in North Palm Beach this summer. (561-835-4982)
Your furniture designs are inspired by speed and movement. How is this conveyed in your aesthetic?
Since I was a kid, I’ve been totally attracted to everything in motion: cars, motorcycles, anything evoking speed and technology. Over time, when I started to design, I noticed that I was still trying to input in the shape this idea of movement. It’s natural behavior; my pen is naturally designing fluid forms. I can’t design things in other ways, actually. …
When you give this idea of movement to a product, it seems like, at least for me, it gives a kind of soul to the product. It’s a little bit like when you take a picture of someone running. The picture is frozen, but you can see the person is making an effort; there is a dynamic attitude and idea of movement. I think everything [I design] that is not connected to transportation will be designed in this way.
For me, a piece of furniture is also very much connected to nature. The material that I use for furniture all comes from nature, like wood. I like making something [that mimics] a flower or a plant or tree—something very fragile and timeless. … Sometimes it’s very pronounced. Sometimes it’s more superficial. But nature is very inspiring.
What’s the most challenging part of designing a car?
When you design a car, you have to work with more people in a different field, like aerodynamics, ergonomics and engineering. [As a designer,] you have to be like a conductor, the one who is guiding all the musicians. All of them have specific requests that you have to integrate in the overall design and styling. Plus, the car has specific technical features. But whatever you do, the first thing that people see is always the styling and design, so you’re the first person who will be criticized.
What about furniture?
In the world of furniture, I think a chair is something that is quite hard to design because it’s directly connected to the body, and therefore it has to be pleasant to use. It’s not that easy to design a very beautiful and modern chair that is at the same time very comfortable. It’s the same for a sofa or an armchair. It’s a little bit easier [to design] a product like a side table, because it’s just a question of proportion and functionality. That’s something that is in the environment of the apartment, not in direct contact with the body, like a chair.
How is designing furniture similar to designing a vehicle?
The similarities for me are at the very first stage of the creation. I spend a lot of time sketching and re-sketching until I find the perfect proportion for the product, which is the most important thing. We spend a lot of time on the paper, but until we see the products in three-dimensional, real scale, it’s very difficult to ever get the correct proportion of the product. And a small detail can change so much. Sometimes, I have this feeling that I’m maybe spending too much time on the details that maybe no one will see, but whatever—it’s my way to work [laughs].
How did you transition from motorcycle and car design to furniture design?
To be honest, I feel like designing anything is just a question of time and meeting the right people. I was never trying to make connections. I’ve always met someone by accident, and it just so happened the person liked my work. This is what happened with Roche Bobois, when I met the owner, Francois Roche. He was really convinced—more than myself—that I would be able to design very nice pieces of furniture. That’s the way I started to design furniture.
What designs are you proudest of?
“Proud” is maybe too big of a word [laughs]. I’m never 100 percent totally satisfied about what I’m doing [laughs]. I’m always trying to be as close as possible to 100 percent, but there is always something missing. I have this feeling that I can make it better.
But there are some products that I really love, like the motorcycle Black Magic or the America car [for Venturi]. The work I’m doing with Roche Bobois is giving me a lot of satisfaction, because they are very focused on the quality, on the aesthetics, and they let me be free to do whatever I want.
The collection Speed Up is something that I’m quite proud of because, first of all, it really represents my style in the world of furniture. The second thing is it is still in production and yet still a very successful collection. This has given me a lot of satisfaction, to know I can make something creative, personal and emotional, and there are people who like it and want to live with it and be part of it. This is very good to know, and it gives me so much motivation.
What’s next for you, airplanes?
I feel really ready to design other things, like shoes for ladies. To me, it’s an important element of an outfit. It’s such an erotic piece—and such a technological piece—and so aerodynamic. The leg of a woman is full of very sensual curves and nice shapes, and I think the shoe should be an extension of the natural sensuality of the body of a woman. I’m really excited by the idea to see what I can do in this field. I’ve been thinking about this for two or three years, and I’m sure it will happen very soon [laughs].
And yeah, why not airplanes? This is very much in the field of transportation products, so this is something I one day for sure I will do. But I have the feeling that I can do anything. Architecture is something that attracts me a lot. And I have a few projects of very modern houses that can be launched in the near future. I’m already working on that. I just wonder if I will have enough time to do all those things [laughs].