Interview with Gaëlle Pinel, interior architect & designer // LISAA Alumni
After graduating from LISAA Rennes, Gaëlle worked for major interior architecture agencies in Paris and London. Read our interview with her to find out more about her career path, her inspirations and how she founded her own furniture and design studio.
LISAA: Can you tell us about your studies?
Gaëlle: After a literature baccalauréat, I studied history of art at Rennes II university, while taking classes in contemporary dance. I also took evening classes at the Rennes Beaux-Arts school in life drawing and perspective drawing.
These years were very enriching but I lacked a true professional training. So I applied to LISAA Rennes, which offers a real career-oriented course in Interior Architecture and Design, enabling me to envisage more practical applications of my learning.
WHAT ARE YOUR ABIDING MEMORIES OF YOUR TIME AT LISAA?
LISAA pushed me to go further than I could have imagined. The course opened up my prospects to areas such as photography and video, which I was able to integrate into my creative process.
The school is on a human-scale offering students a real proximity to the teachers. I still have lots of contact with Graphic Design and Interior Architecture & Design students from different years.
HOW DID YOUR CAREER START AFTER GRADUATION?
I obtained a work placement and then a short-term contract in Paris at an interior architecture agency. Then, through Archibat, a recruitment agency specialising in architecture and design, I joined Ora Ïto’s studio, and then another agency that develops projects by the designer Patrick Jouin.
After that, I worked freelance in Paris then London, where I joined the British brand Tom Dixon on a long-term contract. I spent six years in total in the English capital as a set designer. It was a fantastic experience that enabled me to significantly enrich my professional profile.
HOW DID THE IDEA OF CREATING YOUR OWN STUDIO COME ABOUT?
It came naturally. My parents are both entrepreneurs and this way of working has always been very familiar to me. After ten years in the design industry, I felt like I had enough experience to go it alone.
Also, being a new mother, it's a way to structure my time around my daughter. As such, having been back in Rennes for six months, I created a furniture and object design brand in my name and alongside this I teach global design.
HOW IS YOUR WORK STRUCTURED?
Between the classes that I teach and my work as a designer, my weeks are pretty busy! On Wednesdays, I go to the production studio that I work with, located in Normandy. We review all the prototypes in progress as well as bespoke projects.
On the other days, I prepare my classes, develop and design new projects, and meet new clients and suppliers. I also have to manage the administrative side of things: my website and all the work on my brand identity and marketing. Every month I also spend two days in Paris meeting clients.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Obviously many names come to mind. To mention but a few: Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Grey, Barbara Hepworth and Ray Eames.
Our ways of living—which change every day and which we each develop at our own pace, depending on our surroundings, our past, our desires—are also very inspiring. They enable me to imagine an everyday object that can be appreciated by as many people as possible.
I also find inspiration in brands sharing sustainable values (French made, no packaging, recyclable materials that are eco-friendly, etc.). This should be a source of inspiration for us all because bringing together aesthetic, ethical and sustainable values is a priority for the future.
Discover Gaëlle’s designs here: www.gaellepinel.com.