From sofas and lights to rugs and ceramic tiles, Inga Sempé is certainly a multi-talented designer.
Growing up in a highly artistic household and supported by her parents, Sempé’s endeavours to become a designer were built on solid foundations. Influenced by the great Italian lighting designer, Vico Magistretti as well as her time studying in Rome, these elements are evident throughout her broad repertoire. This week we caught up with Sempé to discuss her work, including her recent collaboration with Golran.
Tell us a little bit more about what you do
I am a French designer based in Paris. I work across the board, designing a range of products from lighting and furniture to cutlery and ceramic tiles. I work alongside two designers; we create everyday objects in collaboration with various brands ranging from Italian to Scandinavian.
How did you first get into designing?
I was always building things as a child, just little objects from paper or even clay held together by match sticks. My family are very artistic and I found myself drawing a lot - I think this really influenced me when I was growing up so it seemed like a natural progression when I decided to turn my hand to design on a professional level.
You worked for a year in Rome, did this experience influence your design process?
Though Rome is a beautiful city it was actually my experience of the Villa Medici which has proved influential. Home to The French Academy in Rome, the place is incredibly inspiring, from its beautiful architectural detailing and history to its pupillage and legacy. A portrait of the famous 19th century painter, Ingres, stands in front of the villa and always captured my imagination. He studied at the Villa Medici having won a Prixe de Rome and later went on to win the painting prize in 1802. Everything about the Villa Medici has proved to be inspirational and confirmed my desire to enter a creative world.
Who do you admire the most? Are you influenced by a particular movement or period in history?
I don’t tend to admire any one person, however I believe I am influenced, or at least impressed upon, by objects and experiences. I remember very clearly being impressed by perhaps the only contemporary object we had in our family home; an Eclisse Lamp by Vico Magistretti. It has such a clever design and appears almost happy in its appearance. I would also go to a weekly flee market in Paris as a teenager and rummage through the piles to find objects that I liked. Looking back on it, this has certainly been influential to me.
You have recently launched a collaboration with Golran, tell us more about this collection? What was your source of inspiration for this look?
I wanted to design a rug that was smooth, not graphic or violent. I don’t believe a rug should take all the power away from a room, instead it should enhance it or even balance the space. I didn’t want to create something that contrasted, rather I wanted my designs to be smooth and seamless, simple yet beautiful. The rugs are based on an orthogonal grid meaning they’re made up of lines which change colour. The result is something really quite beautiful because there is no longer a feeling of regimented lines, instead the tones blend together to create an amazing cloud of colour and design.
You design a range of things, from lamps and cutlery to sofas and rugs; do you have a particularly strong tie to any one object?
I am particularly drawn to objects you have to hold within your hand and interact with, for instance tools. I have always been drawn to tools more than furniture for some reason, I certainly think this is evident in my design language.
What does the future hold?
I don’t know! But I’m excited about it.