Designer to Know: Kino Guérin

Designer to Know: Kino Guérin

By Dwell
Québec-based furniture designer Kino Guérin uses a pressure vacuum to create curvaceous collections of bentwood furniture.

Kino Guérin makes wood bend to his will. For more than two decades, the Québécois designer has pushed the boundaries of woodworking by twisting and twirling veneer into shapes that seem to defy physics. 

Growing up in rural Québec, Guérin’s childhood was steeped in artistry thanks to his weaver mother and a father who built the family’s log cabin by hand. Today, at his studio in the countryside village of Melbourne, Guérin channels that creativity to build pirouetting furniture that draws on the centuries-old technique of wood bending.

Each table, bench, and shelf begins as a single piece of plywood that’s sandwiched between two layers of thin, glued veneer. Using a large pressure vacuum, Guérin bends the wood into spirals, curves, and undulating waves before it sets into shape.

For Guérin, part of the fun is exploring how far he can push the material. "I want to be challenged," he says. "I would get bored if I always created the same thing." That philosophy has led to Guérin’s unique language of legless furniture that takes a defiant stand against the basic square. 

"My furniture should feel exuberant."

Learn which object Guérin would like to redesign in our Q&A below.

Hometown: Sacré-Coeur

Describe what you make in 140 characters. I create bentwood furniture using a single piece of wood.

What's the last thing you designed? A dining table, but it's not ready just yet.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? Not everyday. For two months straight, I might produce orders all day long. At other times, it might take me two weeks to create a new piece.

Guérin in his workshop

How do you procrastinate? Most of the time by scrolling on Instagram and Facebook, or by playing Scrabble online.

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? A chair. Yet, it's the most complicated piece of furniture to redesign—especially using my approach.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Gaudi and Leonard Cohen.

What skill would you most like to learn? How to play an instrument.

A coffee table design by Kino Guérin

A bookshelf design by Kino Guérin

What is your most treasured possession? To possess something is not important for me. I would rather have my self determination.

What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? A children’s chair that my father made.

What contemporary design trend do you despise? Live edge tables.

Finish this statement: All design should... at least be useful.

What’s in your dream house? High ceilings and large windows with a view on nature.

You can learn more about Guérin by visiting his website or on Instagram.  

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