ADDRESS Interview with Amanda Nogier of Beton Brut Design.
Define your craft in 3 sentences or less. Béton Brut Design makes concrete jewelry and objects inspired by the exploratory aesthetic of Brutalist architecture. French for “raw concrete”, the name speaks to the inherent beauty and honesty of the supplies used. It is about experimenting and moving beyond the boundaries of what is established as an aesthetically plain material.
Describe your creative process. I am lucky that my design career is similar to living life as an artist where I am currently designing pieces that I want to design and get to explore ideas on a whim. Because of this my creative process tends to change for every project. Sometimes the process begins with sketching ideas on paper, other times you can find me modelling on my computer to see how shapes can take form digitally, or I start by getting my hands dirty with some clay or other materials to feel out the forms with my hands. From there, I refine each design by creating prototypes and testing materials. Some ideas are left there, never fully getting realized, others are then launched into the world to see how responsive people are to the product. I never really feel like I am fully finished a design, I always feel like I could improve it in some way, so I think that’s why I am always evolving and trying new things. I hope that one day I can put a product into the world fully confident that it is perfect and ready, but for now I am always happy to experiment and receive feedback.
Where do you find inspiration when experiencing a creative block? I take a holiday and clear my mind. If I cannot afford the time it’s about doing anything outside of my comfort zone. As soon as I’m in a new situation or outside of my headspace that got me stuck, I find my creative flow again.
What advice would you give to young designers / makers / artists / creatives aspiring to make it in their field? Just go to the shows and be present at the events that relate to your field. You never know what will come out of having your name on a tradeshow list of attendees or having the right conversation with someone at an event. All of my early show invites and attention I gained were by doing just that.
What’s your dream project? I tell everyone my dream project is doing an entire city sidewalk block of coloured concrete, but honestly the dream isn’t the specific project, the dream is being able to do large-scale public projects. I have always wanted to design city spaces, public furniture, and large scale pieces.
What art and design trends are you excited about? I feel like the early 2010s were all about clean lines and muted colours, but as we reach the end of this decade in design we are having a resurgence of Memphis-like vibrant colour and experimental forms. I’m excited to make some weird pieces playing with texture, colour, and shape.