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French designer Sacha Lakic likes things simple, whether it’s design, functionality or IoT

Lakic’s most recent project is the HKT Premier x Roche Bobois showcase in io.t by HKT Concept Store, which aims to illustrate a stylish and connected home

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 11:10am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 12:18pm

Perfection is when something looks good and feels good – that seems to be the angle from which Sacha Lakic approaches his work. The world-renowned designer was born in Belgrade in 1964 but moved to Paris with his family at a very young age. It was in the French capital that the artistic seeds within him took root.

His father was a designer for some of Avenue Montaigne’s most famous outlets, and as a child Lakic was exposed to fluidity, movement, and the shapes of the human form beneath fabrics. But it was through seeing something made of metal that the young manfound his calling.

“Everything started when once I was going back home from school, and on the street I saw the Ford Mustang, the one that Steve McQueen was driving in the movie Bullitt,” he recalls.

He was in his early teens. “I couldn’t breathe when I saw this car.”

He went on to inspect it from the front to the back, on the sides, and from the outside to the inside through the windows. The experience, as Lakic describes it, was as if the car had “touched my soul”.

That encounter gave Lakic the impetus to launchhis career, starting at Peugeot’s Interior Style offices, where he became a protégé of design artist Paul Bracq. In 1986 he joined Alain Carré’s studio – which at that time was the pinnacle of the design trade – and later moved to head up the design offices of Franco-Japanese manufacturer MBK-Yamaha. Under that brand, Lakic created a range of products encompassing concept bikes, mass-produced models, show bikes and futuristic designs, eventually earning him the 1993 Janus design award.

In 1994, Lakic established his own design studio and expanded his portfolio to include scooters and motorbikes for Piaggio and Bimota, the Why Not furniture range with David Lange, and watches and fashion accessories with Jean Colonna. Lakic has also collaborated with French motorbike brand Voxan to produce, among other things, the powerful Wattman electric motorbike, and with Venturi on the designs of cars such as the Fetish, Volage, Eclectic, Astrolab and America.

Although Lakic’s portfolio now includes everything from concept buildings to furniture, the core of his design thinking is still very much related to automobiles. “I always try to bring in this idea of movement even when I am designing something that is not moving,” he says. It is akin to a still shot of someone who is running, he adds.

“The picture is frozen, but you can feel the movement in the picture.”

I always try to bring in this idea of movement even when I am designing something that is not moving
Sacha Lakic

Notable examples of that style can be found in collections Lakic has designed for Roche Bobois, including the Bubble sofa. “The very first idea came from how to make a cloud look like a sofa,” he explains.

The biggest challenge in making that concept leap out from the two-dimensional sketch was to identify a fabric that could stretch in all directions at the same time to perfectly upholster the bubbles. That ruled out many usual materials, including leather. A hi-tech blend of recycled wool, polyamide, polyester and elastane was eventually selected.

But it is never just the look that Lakic is after. In fact, he thinks comfort comes first. “All my sofas are super comfortable because I ... modify my designs to make them still look good [while being] very comfortable,” he says.

Movement is also part of the LIFT Sideboard-Bar, but this time both conceptually and literally. In one moment, it looks like a closed cupboard, with a ridge on the vertical front forming a shooting starlike pattern.

“What is magical with this product is that there are no handles, no cuttings in the front, there are no doors, nothing. It is just like a piece of sculpture,” Lakic says.

But when the top rises up, it reveals a bar with bottles of liquor and glasses inside. “It is using a specific motor and system to lift all the inside up and down, in perfect silence.”

“I work more with my soul than my brain. What is important for me is to bring a personality to the product. I try to make something that is different, something that has never been seen before.”

Another key principle of Lakic’s design is less is more.

“If any detail doesn’t participate in the function or describe something important on the product, I’ll just remove it. I want the essence of the product to be seen immediately from the beginning to the people,” he says.

And his advice to homeowners seeking to furnish or redecorate their home is in line with that belief. “Put inside the right pieces and only the pieces you need, not to overload. It’s very important that there is enough empty space in the home, to let the light and the air move inside,” he says.

Wireless technology has made it possible for homes to do away with many wires and chords – a pleasant by-product Lakic appreciates as it makes the home “clean and pure”. When it comes to connectivity features, he also likes them easy and simple.

“I was playing with the HKT Premier solutions and it was really fantastic as you could switch from work to cooking to gaming to music or video just in a second. The interface is very friendly and intuitive. It’s nicely designed and simple to understand,” he says.