While predominately associated with architecture, the simplistic beauty of concrete extends to so many other disciplines. Brutalism was not about an aesthetic but an idea. An idea that could encompass all aspects of daily life. Functionality was arguably the most important element of the design process. When we first laid eyes on the concrete masterpieces of France's Lyon Béton, they immediately resonated with us. Their furniture and accessories capture the force of the Brutalist movement while maintaining a delicate balance of minimalism, grace and refinement.
T coffee table
For over 5 years, Lyon Béton has specialized in concrete designs. The brand now opens itself to the creation of objects by collaborating with artists and designers from Lyon. As the company's mission states, "We aim to offer an alternative to all those who are looking for unusual objects. Combining creativity, aesthetics and practicality, our collections offer a discreet and strong presence."
We reached out to the brand to discuss their creations and to find out about their design philosophy. Co-founder Xavier Dufour provided some great responses to our questions. Please find the interview below.
The Brvtalist: Talk about the design process of Lyon Béton.
Xavier Dufour: We are building Lyon-Beton product ranges through 3 axles: Urban, Living and Classieux (contraction of classy and precious in french which could be written « classious » in english, containing an under sense of derision). We work with designers or with our own stylist, depending who has the best proposal.
TB: Are you influenced by the Brutalist movement?
XD: To our knowledge, Brutalism was initiated in England in the 50s, by a few architects refusing the stereotypes and the compromises, who created the brutalist movement in reaction to their elders. We like their « no surrender » ideas consisting in fighting for raw, simplicity, elegance, functionality and practicality. We always work with this turn of mind, meaning that we do not make objects which are just concepts without any function and practical features. We are also constantly looking for a smile on the face of our clients, betting that it means that a link have been established between our object and the client.
TB: Talk about your decision to use concrete as your primary material.
XD: At the beginning and at the end, concrete makes the final difference. Manufacturing with concrete it is not easy, it is a very whimsical and unpredictable material, but very interesting to work with. And it is an incredible material, strong and fragile, soft and rough, sharp and smooth! We like very much showing all these contradictions in our items, and may be the best example is the d’Hauteville chair showing wildness on the back of the seat, smoothness (old leather finish) on the front of the seat which is itself a simple and pure curve, whereas the rebar legs are stiff and straight…
TB: What's next for Lyon Béton?
XD: We are launching in the coming weeks a table 200x90 cm with a 3 cm thick plate, a clock, and a Rocking Chair. We are going to introduce them in Ambiente Frankfurt.
We would like to thank Mr. Dufour for his time and insightful responses. We are always looking for interesting and unusual products which exemplify the Brvtalist ethos and we are very exctied to feature this great brand. For more information please visit Lyon Béton.
Left: Nuclear Plant by Bertrand Jayr. Right: Design Julie Legros / Henri Lavallard Boget