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Industrial design: Leo Dubreil.

It's not often a designer receives international recognition while still a college student, but 20-year-old Leo Dubreil has done just that, with a design put into production by the prestigious French silver house Puiforcat. (The 'Wall Street Journal selected the piece as one of the nine best items at the Maison & Objet fair this January.) Dubreil, who was raised in Brittany, France, specialized in applied arts in high school before attending the product-design program at Ecole Boulle in Paris. In his second year, he participated in a project sponsored by Puiforcat to redesign its silver timbale, or beaker--whose original function for drinking has largely been replaced by its symbolism as a birth or christening present. "I wanted to work on the ritual of tasting cognac and not just make an aesthetic object," he says. "To start from the archetypal cognac glass and transform it while preserving its functionality."

Dubreil adopted the tulip shape of the classic cognac glass, used to magnify the aromas of the liquor when the drinker swirls it. In Dubreil's design, it's the rounded form of the beaker itself, tapering to a point, that creates the movement, turning all on its own like a spinning top. And should a user wish to stop it from rolling, the snifter has a small lid that can double as a socle.

Such a playful approach is typical of work by Dubreil, who after two years at Ecole Boulle is currently taking a multidisciplinary course at the Flaute Ecole des Arts du Rhin in Strasbourg. He describes his practice this way: "I like working on the way an object is handled and the relationship between the body and the object. There's always an element of play, an aspect of discovering the object that I find interesting"--a game that's multiplied, in the case of the beaker, by the mirror effects of its polished exterior and the play of reflections between the cognac and the gilded interior.


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Author:Edwards, Natasha
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Apr 1, 2014
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