The Modern House Podcast

Philippe Malouin: the experimental designer on creating with integrity – and the art of upcycling

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Episode notes

Philippe designs everything from furniture to lighting, combining modern geometry with a sense of humour and materials that are built to last. I first met him many years ago, when he was doing some work with my wife, Faye Toogood. We’d turned our bedroom into a makeshift design studio, and Philippe and a few others would come round to make maquettes and geek out about ergonomics. 

Nowadays, he’s a burly, bearded bear of a man with an extra 20kg of muscle, but his wit and warmth are the same as I remember. He tells me about what it was like to grow up beside a lake in Canada. From the age of seven, he would take himself off in his boat for the whole day, catching fish and swimming off the islands. 

This independent, practical spirit has continued into adult life. He largely works on his own, because that’s how he likes it. His studio in Hackney, where we met to record this conversation, is the epicentre of his creative output – a place where he can build something, obsess over which type of screw he’s going to use, or just sit and daydream.

He tells me what it’s like to create a home from stuff that others have thrown away, how he saved up to buy his favourite sofa and kept it wrapped in plastic for two years, and why space is the ultimate luxury.

This episode was recorded in person, at Philippe Malouin’s studio in East London.

For more: 

Visit The Modern House website to see images of the spaces discussed in this episode

Check out Philippe Malouin’s latest work

Production: Hannah Phillips

Editing: Oscar Crawford

Graphic Design: Tom Young

Music: Father

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