Hugo Charlet-berguerand

Good in Furniture Design.

About Hugo Charlet-berguerand

Hugo Charlet is an emerging furniture designer with an engineering background, he graduated in material engineering from the French university Arts&Métiers ParisTech. In 2018 he moved to Milan to pursue a master’s degree in Furniture Design at Politecnico di Milano, after which he worked at Michele De Lucchi's studio for his final internship. In 2020, he moved back to France to work on personals projects and opened his own studio in his hometown of Chamonix Mont-Blanc. In furniture design Hugo found the perfect medium for his creative expression. His trademark is a perfect symbiosis between beauty and simplicity. He likes to say that beauty and manufacturability are two sides of the same coin. Moreover, his work is often tinted with humor and playfulness. He says that he always remained a child at heart and describes himself as a dreamer.

  • Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
Tomeo Outdoor Metallic Chair

Tomeo Outdoor Metallic Chair

Furniture Design


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Interview with Hugo Charlet-berguerand

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I always loved to draw and to build things, I firstly pursed an engineering degree, but I found it too technical. I wanted to have a more creative practice where I could work both with my hands, my brain and my heart. But first, I graduated in material engineering and now it actually helps me in my design practice, I understand the industrial processes better, what is feasible; what will be expensive to produce. It also helps me to manage and ensure the mechanical robustness of the products I design… I didn’t always want to be a designer since I didn’t really know what it was, but I always had a creative passion and I think that is what led me naturally to the field of design. I also have a fascination for iconic design pieces and famous designers from the 50s, this is maybe what planted the seed in me many years ago.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
My studio is a young company, I only launched my activity this year. The aim is to have an international design practice in the field of product and furniture design, meeting the highest standards in term of design quality. My ambition is to become an international designer and to work with leading contemporary furniture manufacturers.
What is "design" for you?
I think “design” is creating something new, a nice detail an original shape or a different way to build something. It has to be smart, unexpected and beautiful. This is what differentiates design from craftmanship, the designer’s aim is to break the rules to find something unique in respect to all the other constrains. Design is a discipline like poetry, stand-up or music for instance, there are codes and rules and the main goal is to create something new and amazing. Design in an artistic practice that requires a lot of training. I think the designers’ main qualities should be: an obsessive attention to details, the ability to understand and respect the tacit rules of design, the ability to draw and model his ideas, the ability to bring innovation. Design is what turns a purely functional product in a beautiful and desirable product. It can be a certain shape that gives the overall look a greater appeal or even a new conception that allows new functions and enhances the users experience.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I love designing furniture. I love the materials involved in furniture: wood, steel, aluminum, leather, upholstery… These are the kind of materials I love to play with. Furthermore, furniture are timeless products, their primary function never changes only the look evolves with time and society transformations. Designing a piece of furniture means designing something that will last for decades even centuries sometimes. That is why expectations about furniture are so high, furniture is a purchase you may keep for your entire life. Moreover, furniture design has a common history with art, which I personally find intriguing.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel the most creative when I design something for myself that I don’t expect to sell. I can really do what I like and since I have no expectations, I am often more creative. Moreover, I really like to build things with objects normally dedicated to another use. For instance, I like to go on construction sites to forage unused materials and build things with it, in these circumstances I feel the most creative. I don’t expect to build something I could sell, and I must use what I found. I really like to invent new uses from constructions materials.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
For me, the most important is to have an idea, something new that will be easily understood and will make a strong statement. I spend a lot of time designing the real product from this initial idea or detail that I want to keep. I make plenty of designs and I try to choose the most elegant one. Often the first tries are the ones I prefer at the end maybe because the concept was still fresh in my mind.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I am very concentrated because it requires the use of a multitude of skills and knowledge simultaneously.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
If I worked well, I am proud of my realization. It’s an amazing feeling to sit on a chair you designed yourself or to see people using your chair. I don’t expect people to like what I do, I generally do it because I like it and I try do it well, so it’s even more rewarding when people show interest in my projects.
What makes a design successful?
I think beauty and originality along with a great attention to details are absolute requirements. But I think a successful product is a product that charms both the manufacturer (so the design is produced), the press and the marketers (so the design is promoted) and the consumers (so the product is bought). I think if the designer can satisfy with a single product those 3 protagonists, his design will most probably be successful. Inevitably, the design has to have multiple features to meet the expectations of those different protagonists. For instance the manufacturer will consider with attention the production cost, the potentiality to bring market share, the coherence with its catalog when the press and the marketer would focus more on the originality of the look and the story around the product. The designer should constantly switch attention between all these points to design a successful product. Publicity campaign or manufacturer’s means of distribution can also boost a design success.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Someone once said: “Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.” I think there is truth in this quote, it’s easier to judge a design than to explain why it is good or bad. However, in my experience bad design is often design that doesn’t respect implicit codifications. For instance, a chair with vertical legs is not pleasant to the eyes. Another common mistake is when the design is not adapted to industrial production. Of course, it depends on the market you are targeting but unless the shape complexity really enhances the look, the product should stay easily manufacturable.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
I think designers can use their creativity to find innovative ideas and help solving society crisis. And that is what designers do, for instance during the sanitary crisis we are currently facing, many designers developed projects to help care givers like masks or face shields.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
Walter Gropius said: “Limitation makes the creative mind inventive.” To me, constrains are a great motor for creativity. Constrains give a starting point and some building blocks to work with. That is why I like to impose myself to work with a particular material or with a particular technology… My work is also influenced from the work of many designers and artists that I admire. And my greatest source of inspiration is the observation of everyday objects. You can never switch off; ideas are all around.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I currently live in France, but I spent two years in Milan, and I think it influenced my practice of design a lot. Italians have an inborn sense of elegance and share a common style in design and probably in many other creative fields. If I had to describe the Italian style in two words, I would say: chic and sexy. In the field of high-end furniture, they really pushed the industry to another level with a wide collaboration with artists and designers. They gave an incredible freedom to the designers and were able to overcome many technical challenges. Such brave manufacturers really revolutionized the industry of furniture raising it to the rank of art.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I am looking for a manufacturer for my award-winning project Tomeo, a light and stackable outdoor metallic chair.
How can people contact you?
You can go to my website www.hugocharlet.com, where you will find a selection of my work exhibited and my contact details.

Extended Interview with Hugo Charlet-berguerand

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I always loved to draw and to build things, I firstly pursed an engineering degree, but I found it too technical. I wanted to have a more creative practice where I could work both with my hands, my brain and my heart. But first, I graduated in material engineering and now it actually helps me in my design practice, I understand the industrial processes better, what is feasible; what will be expensive to produce. It also helps me to manage and ensure the mechanical robustness of the products I design… I didn’t always want to be a designer since I didn’t really know what it was, but I always had a creative passion and I think that is what led me naturally to the field of design. I also have a fascination for iconic design pieces and famous designers from the 50s, this is maybe what planted the seed in me many years ago.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
My studio is a young company, I only launched my activity this year. The aim is to have an international design practice in the field of product and furniture design, meeting the highest standards in term of design quality. My ambition is to become an international designer and to work with leading contemporary furniture manufacturers.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I think “design” is creating something new, a nice detail an original shape or a different way to build something. It has to be smart, unexpected and beautiful. This is what differentiates design from craftmanship, the designer’s aim is to break the rules to find something unique in respect to all the other constrains. Design is a discipline like poetry, stand-up or music for instance, there are codes and rules and the main goal is to create something new and amazing. Design in an artistic practice that requires a lot of training. I think the designers’ main qualities should be: an obsessive attention to details, the ability to understand and respect the tacit rules of design, the ability to draw and model his ideas, the ability to bring innovation. Design is what turns a purely functional product in a beautiful and desirable product. It can be a certain shape that gives the overall look a greater appeal or even a new conception that allows new functions and enhances the users experience.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I love designing furniture. I love the materials involved in furniture: wood, steel, aluminum, leather, upholstery… These are the kind of materials I love to play with. Furthermore, furniture are timeless products, their primary function never changes only the look evolves with time and society transformations. Designing a piece of furniture means designing something that will last for decades even centuries sometimes. That is why expectations about furniture are so high, furniture is a purchase you may keep for your entire life. Moreover, furniture design has a common history with art, which I personally find intriguing.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
I feel the most creative when I design something for myself that I don’t expect to sell. I can really do what I like and since I have no expectations, I am often more creative. Moreover, I really like to build things with objects normally dedicated to another use. For instance, I like to go on construction sites to forage unused materials and build things with it, in these circumstances I feel the most creative. I don’t expect to build something I could sell, and I must use what I found. I really like to invent new uses from constructions materials.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
For me, the most important is to have an idea, something new that will be easily understood and will make a strong statement. I spend a lot of time designing the real product from this initial idea or detail that I want to keep. I make plenty of designs and I try to choose the most elegant one. Often the first tries are the ones I prefer at the end maybe because the concept was still fresh in my mind.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I am very concentrated because it requires the use of a multitude of skills and knowledge simultaneously.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
If I worked well, I am proud of my realization. It’s an amazing feeling to sit on a chair you designed yourself or to see people using your chair. I don’t expect people to like what I do, I generally do it because I like it and I try do it well, so it’s even more rewarding when people show interest in my projects.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
I think beauty and originality along with a great attention to details are absolute requirements. But I think a successful product is a product that charms both the manufacturer (so the design is produced), the press and the marketers (so the design is promoted) and the consumers (so the product is bought). I think if the designer can satisfy with a single product those 3 protagonists, his design will most probably be successful. Inevitably, the design has to have multiple features to meet the expectations of those different protagonists. For instance the manufacturer will consider with attention the production cost, the potentiality to bring market share, the coherence with its catalog when the press and the marketer would focus more on the originality of the look and the story around the product. The designer should constantly switch attention between all these points to design a successful product. Publicity campaign or manufacturer’s means of distribution can also boost a design success.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Someone once said: “Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.” I think there is truth in this quote, it’s easier to judge a design than to explain why it is good or bad. However, in my experience bad design is often design that doesn’t respect implicit codifications. For instance, a chair with vertical legs is not pleasant to the eyes. Another common mistake is when the design is not adapted to industrial production. Of course, it depends on the market you are targeting but unless the shape complexity really enhances the look, the product should stay easily manufacturable.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
I think designers can use their creativity to find innovative ideas and help solving society crisis. And that is what designers do, for instance during the sanitary crisis we are currently facing, many designers developed projects to help care givers like masks or face shields.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Walter Gropius said: “Limitation makes the creative mind inventive.” To me, constrains are a great motor for creativity. Constrains give a starting point and some building blocks to work with. That is why I like to impose myself to work with a particular material or with a particular technology… My work is also influenced from the work of many designers and artists that I admire. And my greatest source of inspiration is the observation of everyday objects. You can never switch off; ideas are all around.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I currently live in France, but I spent two years in Milan, and I think it influenced my practice of design a lot. Italians have an inborn sense of elegance and share a common style in design and probably in many other creative fields. If I had to describe the Italian style in two words, I would say: chic and sexy. In the field of high-end furniture, they really pushed the industry to another level with a wide collaboration with artists and designers. They gave an incredible freedom to the designers and were able to overcome many technical challenges. Such brave manufacturers really revolutionized the industry of furniture raising it to the rank of art.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
I am looking for a manufacturer for my award-winning project Tomeo, a light and stackable outdoor metallic chair.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
You can go to my website www.hugocharlet.com, where you will find a selection of my work exhibited and my contact details.

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