Dwell 24: Mei-Lan Tan and Victor Lefebvre
"Mei-Lan has Indonesian and Chinese roots. I'm French and I studied and lived in Japan," Victor says, adding that their lifestyles are still itinerant. "Oakland is the place where we stop and regroup."
The duo, who met while working in Basel for Herzog & de Meuron, established their practice in 2016. Since then, they've expanded their network of collaborators, producing sculptural soaps, concrete serving trays that look like giant buttons, and more. Now they are developing a line of silver cups with Indonesian artisans. "We spent time in Bali understanding the local crafts and the silver vessels they use to hold holy water," says Mei-Lan. "These items have very specific intentions of use: one item, one action."
We asked the breakout designers about who inspires them, their most treasured possessions, and what daily rituals get them in the zone. Read the answers below.
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Tan: Los Angeles, California
Lefebvre: Versailles, France
Something you always carry with you:
T: German ballpoint pen and a leather tassel keychain to remind me of the playful things in life.
L: A tape measure.
First childhood memory related to design:
T: Assembling the wooden puzzles in my room that my dad made for me.
L: Fixing our apartment with my parents.
Daily ritual to get into a creative space:
T: Cup of coffee, checking in on each of my plants, surrounding myself with all the natural items I’ve collected over the years.
L: I grab coffee and call one of my friends in France.
Musical artist or album that inspires you:
T: Pixies, Kraftwerk, De La Soul, Jon Maus.
L: Akegata by Hugo LX.
Person you most admire:
T: Mother and father.
L: My father.
Talent you would most like to have:
T: Meditation expert.
L: To be able to sleep for a continuous 12 hours.
A word or phrase that is guiding you currently:
T: Pleasure gardens.
L: "It is the fate of glass to break."
Your most treasured possession:
T: A ring given to me by my mother.
L: My watch.
Advice you would give yourself five years ago:
T: Trust yourself.
L: Do not hate France too hard. Form habits. Sleep.
Describe your work in one word:
Favorite or least favorite design trend:
T: Roman villas and their incorporation of water features and covered porticos for daily exercise and bathing.
L: Least favorite: anything branded "parametric design." Favorite: self-production.
Meet the rest of the Dwell 24, our selection of up-and-coming designers to watch in 2018.