The Dwell 24: Sabourin Costes

The Dwell 24: Sabourin Costes

The Paris-based duo behind Sabourin Costes create playful designs across creative disciplines including product and furniture design, interior architecture, and visual merchandising.
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"Right now, we’re slightly obsessed with resin," says Zoé Costes, cofounder of Paris design practice Sabourin Costes. 

The material is perfectly suited for the studio’s experiments with transparency and reflection, its mutability lending itself well to various colors and shapes. "It feels like a playground to us—we spend days making new color recipes and testing different finishes," Costes says. 

Since joining forces in 2019, Costes and codesigner Paola Sabourin—who met at Design Academy Eindhoven seven years prior—have applied this whimsical approach to a range of products, including hardware, vases, and seating, like the stool from their Boudin collection (below). 

Another highlight of theirs is Tribune, an interpretation of a cabinet de curiosité, where the shelf’s high-gloss finish mirrors and appears to multiply the objects on it. "Even though the shelf can be relatively small, it is designed to have impact," Sabourin says. "We liked the idea of having something like a miniature piece of architecture hanging on the wall."

Learn more about the duo by reading the Q&A below.

Hometown: Paris, France

Describe what you make in 140 characters. Objects, furniture, and interior spaces. We aim to create objects that bring a bit of joy and poetry into our interiors.

What's last thing you designed? A minimal and bold bench for an entry hall in Marseille, France.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? Not a daily one. Everyday is different, so no rituals per say, just one fluffy creative mess.

How do you procrastinate? We often end up drawing new objects just to avoid finishing what's ongoing and just a little less creative...

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? A light switch—those details can make all the difference and nothing much has been done in that particular field.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Charlotte Perriand (a classic) and our mums (a classic, too.)

What skill would you most like to learn? Throwing clay, bronze casting, and scuba diving!

What is your most treasured possession?  

My secondhand travertine, Brutalist low-table. —Paola

Handmade Air France posters from the 70s. And Anakin, Paola's cat.           —Costes

What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? We really can't remember. It seems like we both discovered design in design school...

What contemporary design trend do you despise? Animal-shaped objects and wallpaper.

Finish this statement: All design should... strike a cord.

What's in your dream house? Windows everywhere and a Pierre Paulin's Osaka couch.

How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? We would love the pandemic to bring people in the design industry closer —whether they are designers, editors, gallerist, curators, clients... A bit more kindness and a little less competition, maybe?

How can the design world be more inclusive?  It's about a communal effort that, in our opinion, starts with facilitating access to design education.

What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The amount of work hidden behind every handmade object.

You can learn more about Sabourin Costes by visiting their website or on Instagram.

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