Phillippe Nigro’s furniture designs are often characterized by a certain asymmetry or irregularity of form that add up to a balanced organic whole. For example, in the most recent of the French designer’s works to go into production – the Confluences seating system for Ligne Roset- nine individual designs form a jigsaw of possibilities. Each of the seemingly quirky shapes can be fitted together with other chairs or sofas from the range to form almost endless combinations that, when fitted together, result in a sense of organic cohesion. Throw into the mix that each of the pieces is available in a range of carefully selected colours and the permutations are expanded still further.
Confluences, as the name suggests, is all about the coming together; the joining up. And, when the pieces do come together, this is where the designer’s thinking becomes even sharper. In a palette and fabric vaguely reminiscent of high-end 1950’s furniture, there is actually very little about these forms that are directly retro, except perhaps for the slightest suggestion of 1960’s sci-fi.
Instead, Confluences offers us a system for contemporary living that is evocative of something for more organic. Cell structures, perhaps or a type of canvas, the pieces lock together in much the same way that the elements of a good abstract painting can seem irregular while all the time paying a great deal of attention to the composition of the whole.
This latter element is probably no coincidence: Nigro – who originally hails from Nice- cites contemporary art as one of the main influences on his work as a designer, a fascination that has been with him since his schooldays.
A similarly painterly approach can be seen in his Squilibri bookshelf systems for Skitsch or his Saturnia living bench for Piba Marmi. Here, as in Confluences, the initial impact is one that results from the tension between the apparent chaos or imbalance of certain elements and how they relate to the organic stability of the whole.
The cohesion of things itself also seems to be a theme of his work in recent years. His Inseparables system of stools and tables – in a similar enough palette and fabric to Confluences to understand them as the precursors – is a mini-system in which the tables and stools fit together in a less than tranquil manner. The tables literally penetrate a large ‘gash’ in the stools. Once again, jarring irregularity as an essential component of a greater systemic cohesion seems to be part of the designer’s focus.
In addition to the Confluences system now in production with Ligne Roset, Phillipe Nigro, has produced works for some of the world’s leading contemporary furniture producers including De Castelli, Piba Marmi, VIA, Skitsch and Minotti Italia.