French designer Olivier Polmanss creates furniture and home decor products, based on simple stories and universal concepts. Drawing and handicraft are leading in his creative process.
“When I am sketching, I try to reveal the soul of the piece that I have in mind. A bit like a musician. Each note of the partition is important, but knowing how to play with silence between the notes is as important. I don’t like massive furniture pieces, useless details… I am always looking for simplicity.”
In 2012, Olivier moved to Hanoi and fell in love with the city’s traditional lifestyle and its family workshops. Later he moved to Saigon, where he keeps being inspired by the energy of a city in transition.
- 2016 : Fundation of Olivier Polmanss Ltd
- 2016 – 2013 : Jewelry designer at Hermes, Ho Chi Minh City
- 2011 : Internship with furniture designer Piet Hein Eek, The Netherlands
- 2011 : Graduated from Olivier de Serres School of Art and Design (ENSAAMA), Paris, France
Creating iconic pieces that talk to everyone and never get old.
Olivier finds inspiration in stories and sayings from all over the world. Many of the expressions that might seem connected to a particular culture, in fact hold a deeper thought that everyone can relate to. Olivier uses these universal ideas as a starting point for his designs.
“I want my furniture to be like a book or a painting. A living story that stimulates your imagination and that you can rediscover every time you look at it. Something that is not just here because of its function. It’s a bit like a totem – something that (re)connects you to the vital energy that is behind everything”
The natural world untouched by humanity is another great source of inspiration. Olivier’s designs convey the powerful energy that creates and connects everything in the natural world – from animals and trees to mountains and oceans.
“Nature is in all of us. It’s one of the very first things that awakens our curiosity and imagination. Young children, no matter where they’re from are fascinated by the natural world; it’s a great source of teaching and wonder for all of us.”
Understanding the characteristics of different materials is essential for Olivier’s work. Both in the design phase and during the production process. His choice of materials further enhances the quality of his products.
“I don’t see materials and products as two separate things. Sometimes, the idea of the product comes first and then I choose the material(s). Or, I fall in love with a material or process; I can meet a craftsman who inspires me to make something.”
To minimize impact on the environment, Olivier uses locally available materials as much as possible. In his collections, you will find items made of ceramics from Bat Trang, the world-famous pottery village in the north of Vietnam, cinnamon wood, lacquer and bamboo.
Vietnam has a long and rich artisanal history – from wood carving and painting, to ceramic and lacquerware. Olivier works together with small to medium scale workshops, often owned by generations of craftsmen, where the products are skillfully handmade.
Each of the artisans that Olivier works with, has their own expertise. They are much more than merely the makers of his designs. Olivier shares his passion and energy with the craftsmen, while respecting their skills and experience. Together, they work to guarantee high-quality end products.