Boris Brucher is a multidisciplinary artist and designer. He studied at the Atelier de Sèvres before enrolling at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where he received a bachelor’s degree in design and applied arts. After working for Bureau Betak and Misha Kahn, he continued his career as an independent designer. His thesis project, titled HomeSet, was featured during Dutch Design Week in 2019. The collection was exhibited at Rossana Orlandi Gallery and showcased at Amélie Pichard. Brucher also designs interiors, furniture and objects for AshNyc; he was recently a resident at Schloss Hollenegg in 2022.
æquō: We want to start by sharing how our collaboration started. Could you tell us in your own words?
Boris: I was in the South of France when Florence Louisy reached out because she was interested in the drawings I had been working on throughout 2021. That’s when we started talking about a possible collaboration involving the drawings and furniture, because at that time I was making line drawings that were more dynamic and spontaneous compared to my previous landscape work.
Florence thought that we could explore the Indian technique of Bidri, in which craftsmen engrave metal with lines and then they embed a silver metal yarn into the engraving. We envisioned that the drawings would work well with this technique and shine a new light on the craft.
æquō: Your drawings certainly have evolved from portraying the different landscapes where you have lived, including the South of France, to representing the male body and specific botanical and architectural elements. In this new phase, where do your references come from?
Boris: The wrestlers series was inspired by fascinating photographic works by Eadweard Muybridge, Edmund Teske and Bruce Weber. A few years ago, I was focused more on drawing sceneries that reflect another fascination, that of trees and their relationship to architecture.
Then when I was working in the South of France last year, I started focusing on the formal interactions between bodies dancing, fighting and merging. I was really fascinated by wrestlers. I wanted to research the shapes that were created by bodies coming together and intertwining, creating new forms that might also look like flowers or flesh.
æquō: It’s true that we see those references in your work very clearly, especially because you have a very interesting relationship with the places you work from and the act of drawing at home. Do you think it’s important to have collectible design at home?
Boris: If you can, of course. It’s very important to surround yourself with objects that matter. And also objects that give you a certain kind of hope and indication of what you long for and desire. If you have an honest relationship, a connection, with the object, then yeah, I think it’s important.
æquō: This brings us back to our collaboration in creating a collectible piece. We are very interested to know how your dialogue with Indian materials and artisans has influenced your work.
Boris: I always like to have someone else to interact with during the genesis of a project, like a foreign land for new ideas to grow from. When someone shares a project, an inspiration or any subject, really, that I can interact with, an exchange happens that reveals new possibilities and unexpected outcomes.
In this case, it was the Indian technique of Bidri, the history of the craft and its link to place. Where Bidri was invented, there is an abandoned palace where the soil contains a rare chemical element. Craftsmen use the soil in a mixture with water to then wash the metal with it, turning it black.
I think the story is quite magical, and I wanted to portray this sort of alchemy between the place, the craft and the people who live there. So what is shown on the piece is a drawing that narrates this tale, almost as a legend.
æquō: In that sense, you have always had a remarkable sensibility for creating bridges between 2D and 3D. Your drawings and watercolors come to life through furniture and other 3D objects, almost as collages of different dimensions. How does this process work?
Boris: I work with images as ideas; images capture the essence of things. And it’s a very fertile way for me to create objects that are closer to the idea that I have of them. Images are ingredients to create new images, new objects, and they are also mirrors of things that are already in me, but that I didn’t really know yet.
æquō: So you already told us a bit about the piece that you’re developing with aequō and the technique and materials that you’re using. What do you think is the greatest virtue or benefit of producing a collectible piece?
Boris: I think in my case it’s that we are shining a new light on the Bidri technique, which usually has been used more traditionally, and hopefully through the storytelling of the drawings, we’re able to romanticize it and create more magic around what these craftsmen do.