5 minutes with... Fabien Nauroy of Native Union
The boundary between our working life and our leisure time and social life has become increasingly blurred in recent years. I love how technology has created new ways of working and allowed many of us to now have the freedom to work wherever we are, and it's interesting to observe how designers have responded to this change by creating products that not only support modern ways of working but are also covetable lifestyle accessories. Native Union's minimalist tech accessories, designed in a range of luxurious materials, being a case in point. Established in 2009, the brand has created a collection of handsets, speakers, cases and charging accessories with a refined aesthetic that is rooted in simplicity and utility.
For a smartphone addict like me their marble iPhone case is an accessory every bit as desirable as the latest watch or the Celine sunglasses I recently splurged on. When I came across it on Instagram via a collaboration they recently worked on with stylists and bloggers Hege Morris and Deborah Gordon (who created these beautiful images), I wondered how it might be possible to create a phone case made from real marble that was light enough for everyday use. After trying one out - Native Union were kind enough to send me a sample - I was amazed to discovered that it actually weighs no more than a regular phone case. Using new techniques and advanced materials they've been able to take a 0.3mm slice of solid marble and create an incredibly slim, lightweight, shatterproof design.
Heading up the design team at Native Union, and leading them to critical acclaim within industry since he joined the company in 2010 is Fabien Nauroy. Fabien grew up in Avignon, France, studying at Creapole-ESDI in Paris where he graduated with a masters degree in Industrial Design. Here he shares some of his influences and inspirations and an insight into the company's design philosophy.
Which three words best describe your design philosophy?
Minimal, intuitive and attention to detail and materials.
Who or what inspires you?
The Bauhaus movement from Max Bill's work with Junghans to Dieter Rams at Braun. I love this obsession of keeping only the essential, simple form, following function with subtle details on texture and materials. More recently Yves Behar's work with Fuseproject or Jony Ive at Apple of course. Both have reinvented the consumer electronic market. However, most of our inspiration at Native Union comes from other industries - like home and furniture designer Tom Dixon or Danish studio HAY. We try to keep one eye open on everything - fashion, sportswear, lighting, even kitchenware, to find new materials and trends we could bring into the tech accessories world.
What is your most treasured object in your own home?
A PP124 rocking chair designed by Danish designer Hans Wegner. I can't live without it now, it's really a part of my daily routine, from reading the news in the morning to working late. I actually have a desk at home I never use since I have this chair!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The Native Union product range, even though it's not finished and constantly evolving.
Where's your favourite place to be?
Avignon, my home town in the South of France, at the stadium watching a local rugby game with a glass of Pastis.
What are you reading right now?
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
Which words of wisdom do you try to live by?
Work hard, play hard.