Blurring the boundary between art and coding, Erwan Bouroullec’s remarkable body of work explores how we experience and understand our surrounding environments. The series invites us to notice the effects of our actions, and offers a poignant perspective on our incremental distancing from nature.

Aligned to his singular aesthetic, the acclaimed French artist and designer employs unique computer processes to overlay digital elements onto photographs of the countryside. Distorting the images and challenging our reading of pictorial reality, Erwan Bouroullec offers coding as a lens through which to decode the world.

On the methods underpinning his series, the artist explains: “I strongly believe that chaos is the best method to obtain balance. The written software is partially based on random actions, but its method is very restricted. So most of the time, in front of a picture, I let the software do a first round, then I correct by removing, or adding.What is strange is that often, the picture - even taken in a chaotic environment - creates a harmonious set of shapes and colours. My task is to recover this sensation of being misplaced.”

I was born and raised in the countryside and, for sure, nature has had a very strong influence on my practice. I guess a lot my desires - in terms of colours and processes - come from those very first impressions I had as a kid.

The countryside is for me where human presence overlaps onto nature. And when I got older, I started to be attracted to the contrasts inherent in farming and domestic equipment, against the green. It can be summed-up (quickly) as a fight between the geometric and the non rational, or of synthetic colours against natural.

So I am looking for this: the overlaps and impressions.

This new series is called ‘the impossible’ because we can be ‘of nature’ no more: most of me and most of us, are just fucked-up. We don’t even begin to master any of the knowledge and skills we should have to understand and practice wildness. It’s not everyone, but still it’s quite a lot of us, that see nature without embracing it. So it’s impossible.


Coding is a method that overlays a rational layer. But its linear rationality shows that I can’t embrace the complexity. A predetermined mind is making me think, balance, value, get intrigued, but somehow keeps me detached - far from learning from sensations. So most of it is romantic, relatively sad, but that just makes me build more.


Ronan Bouroullec (born 1971) and Erwan Bouroullec (born 1976) have been working together for almost 15 years. Their collaboration is a permanent dialogue nourished by their distinct personalities and a shared notion of diligence with the intention to reach more balance and fineness.

The Paris-based brothers design for numerous international manufacturers, namely Vitra, Kvadrat, Magis, Kartell, Established and Sons, Ligne Roset, Axor, Alessi, Cappellini, Mattiazzi and more recently Flos and Mutina. At the same time, they maintain an experimental activity which is essential to the development of their work at Galerie kreo, Paris, where four exhibitions of their designs have been held between 2001 and 2012. Several exhibitions have been devoted to their work from the Design Museum in London in 2012, to the Museum of Contemporary Art MOCA in Los Angeles in 2004 to the Centre Pompidou Metz and the Vitra Design Museum in 2012. This year, a new comprehensive monographic book was released called Works, by Phaidon Press.