Laurie Poast Atelier
“Humans have an endless infatuation with spheres and curves and angles and proportion. To put emotional and social chaos into order, into neat geometrical stacks, to create form out of unformed elements, to count and arrange into harmony. To curate moments of pleasure, of calm, of delight of the visual sense. ”
Laurie Poast Atelier houses a product design studio, a fine art sculptural practice, and the Poast Design brand. The namesake brand offers artisan-crafted objects of art, decoration, and design products directly to the consumer, to the interior architecture trade, and through retailers internationally. They work with manufacturers as well as with in-house small-batch production to produce interior objects both for our own brand and for others.
Join Laurie Poast and Yves Aubert, the founders of Laurie Poast Atelier as they discuss their backgrouds, design process, and the use of different materiality.
How did you begin working together?
We both pursued studies and further interests in the neurobiology of aesthetic experience, applied to visual art and interior architecture and to the perception of music. To create things together was a natural progression.
We are keen to learn more about the creative process between you two. How does the whole process work? From drafting your designs to the production of the product, what are the most important things to consider when it comes to designing?
There is real value in having in-house access to everything, from the intuitive, sculptural form-giving process of an Artist to the exactly calculated mathematical CAD drawing of a Designer. We use different approaches to each project depending on the client's and end-users' needs. We very much enjoy making strategic collaborations at every step, working together with other designers, artists, engineers, makers, and manufacturers. This allows us to keep close control of the concepting, design, prototyping, and production, which puts us in the unique position of closely understanding our client’s needs and desires and feeding that directly into our design processes. And of course, the aesthetic of the finished project is much more successful in our own hands.
What colours and types of materials do you prefer to work with? Why?
Out of many years of research, testing, and experimentation came several preferences for materials. From Switzerland comes our beautiful ceramic-plaster composite that we use for our well-known Wall Bowl and Belly Pot and such products. From Holland comes the windmill-ground mineral pigments that give such curious visual textures to our earthen, neutral colors. Working with wood, metal, plaster, fiberglass, resin, and other materials is also very natural to me, having watched my father at work - an acclaimed Luthier of violins and other musical instruments and a builder of structures like airplanes and beautiful automobiles and furniture and buildings. Growing up under the wings of half-built airplanes and playing with wood remnants from violin making made me an expert of methods and materials at a very young age, which has grown with my education and in my own practice. Regarding color preferences, my tendency toward calming neutral color schemes reflects the influence of the Scandinavian design trends in whites, beiges, and browns we see today.
How do you hope users experience and connect with your work?
Humans have an endless infatuation with spheres and curves and angles and proportion. To put emotional and social chaos into order, into neat geometrical stacks, to create form out of unformed elements, to count and arrange into harmony. To curate moments of pleasure, of calm, of delight of the visual sense. So, to live a day in deep appreciation of only what we hold most beautiful, with the intentional absence of all things that distract from it - or rather, to live a lifetime this way - is our guiding principle. I hope that my audience collects pieces that will transform their space for decades or for generations to come, and that they acquire only the very few things that bring them this instinctive, timeless closeness to their own sense of beauty.
How have your backgrounds outside of product design influenced your work?
Creativity and innovation happen at the intersections of the disciplines, the curiosities, and the experiences to which the designer has exposure. We walk into the studio with the whole of our experience to offer the product, so I find it's best to not be too specialized or narrow in one's professional, academic, and personal endeavors. I was educated in Studio Art and in Business Administration in the United States of America, with minor study in psychology and philosophy. I worked in business and in arts administration for many years. Yves was trained as a musician at the Zürich Conservatory of Music, and as a scientist at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) in Switzerland. Today he works primarily in medical science innovation. I think that design innovation in general is moving toward what's found and revealed at these intersections that we've previously worked to keep separate.
At the New Norm, we talk a lot about travel and connecting with a city through local craft and traditions. As local creatives, how would you describe living in Norway and what is your experience working as designers here?
I grew up in the United States of America and Yves in Switzerland. We have lived in several countries now, and have enjoyed traveling slowly and as close to the authentic local cultures as we can. We are now based in Norway and enjoy collaborations with friends and former colleagues around the world. Working in Norway means spending one day in a little wooden blacksmith shop at the coast, heating and pounding iron in a fire while the wild rainy wind blows in from the North Sea, and the next day with some of the world's leading design-thinkers where contemporary Scandinavian design thrives and continues to lead the world in innovation.