This season, we introduced French inter-disciplinary designer Laetitia Rouget at The Conran Shop, with an exclusive collection of decorative ceramics. As the year draws to a close, we sat down with Rouget to discuss her practice and reveal her exciting ambitions for the coming months.
1. Welcome to The Conran Shop, Laetitia! Please tell us a little about you and what you do.
I am a French artist living in London, and I am in the process of moving to Portugal to get closer to one of my passions, which is ceramics. I am passionate about colours and discovering new ways of expressing my vision, so I enjoy changing mediums, challenging myself with different scales and developing new ideas of my dream interior.
2. You’re a French designer living in London; how do different cultures influence your creations, if at all?
Living in London for 13 years was one of the best experiences in my life in terms of creativity, and developing my understanding of my own needs and ambitions. I will always be very close to this city, and continue to be inspired by her amazing eccentricity and open mind.
3. Who are your greatest design influences?
Hylton Nel is my favourite artist and biggest influence. I met him a few years ago when I was travelling for the first time in South Africa. At the time, I was drawing a lot but not yet working with ceramics, and he really convinced me to try which was the beginning of a great adventure. Since then, I’ve been back to visit him a few times and always have the greatest memories.
4. You actually started as a fashion designer, so what made you turn to other mediums?
I really enjoyed working in fashion, I learned a lot from this industry and especially the relationship with factories and other artisans. I was always taking care of the creative part, but understanding the other side of the industry is really key. However, after a few years, I needed more and wanted to work on projects on a smaller scale that were more unique and special to me.
5. You certainly like to keep yourself busy: You’re also one half of design duo Pangea; how do you manage your time between all your creative outlets?
I definitely like to keep myself busy and I always get very excited about new projects.
I started Pangea a year ago with one of my best friends, Colombine Jubert and the way we manage our time is very spontaneous. Colombine is in Paris and I am in Lisbon, so we try to take it day by day and see what the priorities are.
I like to stay free in my creative process, and always be open to new opportunities and collaboration, as I see it as a great way to expand your skills and create a rich process by combining forces.
6. And what are the most significant challenges of running your own business/es?
I think the administrative side of it has always been a challenge for me. At the moment I am working on my own, and it’s difficult to do everything. However, it’s been a great way to quickly learn a lot of new things that I am sure will be helpful for the future. I am now looking forward to growing my little team to help me with this process.
7. We’re delighted to exclusively offer a selection of your plates at The Conran Shop; which design is your favourite?
My favourite design is the Cheeky Peach Plate; I love her roundness, she is the perfect decoration on a wall or to use as a plate for a special dish or to surprise your guest!
8. The plates are handcrafted in Portugal; did you choose the country for a reason?
It happened very naturally. I had been thinking of moving to Lisbon for a few years, and when I had the opportunity to produce my first collection, I got very lucky to meet the right person to help me with it. I am now in the process of moving to Portugal to be closer to the team, I really enjoy working with them and learning from a new process I am not familiar with.
Everything is handmade and handpainted in Portugal by four Portuguese women that we trained during the last year to work on my designs.
9. Lastly, what does the future hold for Laetitia Rouget and Pangea?
A lot of colours and dreams! We are planning to work on beautiful new projects for the summer with Pangea such as a boat, a magic house and many more. We are also planning a special commission for Forest restaurant in Paris, will be available to see very soon.
As for Laetitia Rouget, I am already in the process of developing a new range of animal candle holders as well as lamps for the summer and Christmas season, and I am so excited to show you more about it soon.