The designer behind the incredible 100% Recycled Unique Large Arched Table Lights in our latest blog we sat down with Henri Dejeant to discuss the launch of his design studio, Nonage, to find out what inspired his love of design.
First discovered on a research trip to Morocco by our co-founder Jane Rockett, Henri Dejeant’s designs immediately caught Jane’s eye for both her own home and the Rockett St George Collection. Now based in France and established as a full-time business, we’re excited to announce that Henri’s table lamps can be found exclusively at Rockett St George!
Combining an eco-conscious approach with an innovative material of his own design, the 100% Recycled Large Arched Table Lights are proof that sustainable design can be both contemporary and beautiful. Feeling inspired, we asked Henri to tell us more about his unique designs, favourite Rockett St George pieces and plans for the future.
1.Tell us a bit about yourself and the recent launch of Nonage?
I have been making paper objects and other materials for several years, starting in Morocco where I set up a small design studio. After a few years, I wanted to return to my country to build my business in France. It took some time to start the activity here, but the project is finally launched and I am able to produce limited edition items in France.
2. When did you see 'the light' - what inspired you to design your own collection? Where did you look for inspiration when thinking about the shape, texture, materials etc?
As a child, I made lamps from objects that I found and repurposed. For my 11th birthday, I was gifted my first workbench that I’ve kept over the years and recently moved to my new workshop.
It was a long time before I began creating a material that would be my own. Discovering the technical qualities of paper, I embarked on extensive research to make paper into a moldable material with an interesting mineral and texture. A paradox when you know it's made from paper; the technical qualities of the material directly guided each design, with the curved forms particularly suited to the unique properties of this new material. Inspired by the process, I created a series of lamps, with two different designs crafted from vegetable form to create the signature "Invider" structure that can now be found as the 100% Recycled Unique Large Arched Table Light at Rockett St George.
3. Our Co-founder, Jane Rockett, discovered your collection when in Morocco. Could you tell us a little more about your time there?
About ten years ago, with my cousin, we operated a hotel in a Berber village in southern Morocco, far from civilization. We lived a simple life made of beach fishing and unusual encounters with passing travellers. There I was interested in the work of local craftsmen and quickly rented a place where I researched the technical properties of paper.
4. We love your interesting approach to materials. What inspired you to use paper within the collection?
My research led me to have an atypical approach to design by choosing material and adapting it to its technical properties, rather than drawing and choosing the material that lends itself the most.
I found several ways to use paper during my research and this gave several types of materials, with each requiring a different production technique. Whilst one revealed sheets of paper ready to be worked like wood, the other was made to be moulded and thus related to the moulding of plastic. I chose this second material and started to create objects that seemed to me to be in agreement with the material.
5. Where do you source your materials from?
In Morocco, I bought stocks of old newspapers to an oil mill and would grind them in a dough mixer. This process then gave me a pulp that I then mixed with plaster and natural glue. Back in France, anxious to keep an eco-responsible approach, I had to change my manufacturing process and I was able to find (less than 5 km from my workshop) a supplier of recycled paper, already mixed, which lends itself particularly well to the production of my objects.
In the same sense and commitment to eco-conscious craft, I combine plaster of Paris with a vegetable flour to create a glue and apply a wax made from a combination of beeswax and Carnauba wax that I make myself to achieve the final, refined finish.
6. Tell us a little more about your commitment to the environment and how this influences your design?
When I started to make my first objects, I immediately wanted to have an ecological approach with recycled paper, plaster, natural glue and beeswax. I chose these products as they have the least impact on the environment and also reflect my ecological goal in the organic shape of the design.
7. Where is home at the moment and how would you describe your own interior style?
I settled not far from my hometown, in the centre of the small southern town of Béziers and I was able to develop my studio directly below my apartment, allowing me to resume my old habits of going to the workshop with bare feet and working late at night.
I have always visited flea markets to decorate my home with a mix of Louis XV furniture, Jielde lamps and an old enamelled piece that incorporates the furniture that I make myself.
8. What attracted you to lighting design? Any insider tips for us on how to make the most of your lighting at home?
Although I am currently designing lighting fixtures, I am also very interested in the production of indoor and outdoor furniture.
The "Invider" range of lighting is particularly suited to a clean interior with its raw finish complementing minimal interiors, natural wood and more eclectic, mixed interiors like my own home. Perfect for illuminating a range of spaces in the home, I designed the shape with the home office in mind, reinventing the traditional concept of a work lamp.
9. Who is your biggest inspiration in the design world?
I am particularly inspired by the approach of Jean Prouvé, an engineer from the 1950s who conceived his creations from a strict specification and put the simplicity of the process in the spotlight.
On the other hand, I love the creations of small ceramic craftsmen (working in 500-degree workshops) or cabinetmakers. When I see an object that I admire, I like to imagine the whole production process and appreciate the full extent of a craftsmanship.
10. What's in store for Nonage in 2019 - any exciting plans for the future?
I intend to create and produce new models throughout the coming year in the workshop as I always have new ideas in mind. I would also like to mix some materials with paper, especially wood, and make larger objects like bedside tables, chairs and lamps.
11. Finally, name three new Rockett St George products that you love?
Quick fire questions:
- I am happiest when… My son gives me a hug
- Favourite magazine is…The ones I mix to make my lamps
- A dream holiday would be spent… Tsukiji market Tokyo
- An ideal day would be spent… Surfing in “la plage sauvage” beach Mirleft Morocco
- Personal motto is… La vie est une fête (life is a party)
- My guilty pleasure is… Bread and butter
- The last film I saw was… Miraï, ma petite soeur
- My favourite book is… La nuit des temps de René Barjavel
- In five years’ time, I want to be… Craftsman
- Three things I can’t live without are… my wife, son and workshop