Gregoire Abrial is a product and interior designer whose approach to design embraces the philosophy of slow while bringing in fresh air from his diverse cultural background. His turn to design happened by chance after he quit engineering school in France to build furniture in his parents’ garage, armed with only a desire to make and experiment. Gregoire then became one of a few students without former training in art and design to earn a degree at La Martinière in Lyon and l’Ensci – Les Ateliers in Paris where he studied industrial design with the focus on Slow Design. He also spent a semester at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco where he added glassblowing and ceramics to his specialty in woodworking.
In 2009, Gregoire moved to New York City to work at interior design studio Amy Lau Design, where he met Hang, a marketing specialist from Vietnam who lead the project to launch the company’s website. Six months after Hang finished her work and moved back to Vietnam, Gregoire bid farewell to the big apple where he called home for the past four years and booked a one way ticket to Vietnam.
Hang was at that time spearheading the establishment of the Hanoi Design Center, the first center dedicated to designed handicraft in Vietnam. They collaborated on various projects to preserve traditional handicrafts and make them relevant to modern market. The design-business duo worked relentlessly with artisans and local workshops specialized in bamboo, rattan, ceramics, concrete and ethnic textiles, among others, helping them add value through design and storytelling that marry the past and the present.
After Vietnam, Hang and Gregoire spent one year in France where they traveled the country, scouting elements of traditional crafts and lifestyle while studying French artisan techniques. Hang launched her journal techniques-patterns where she gathered the lessons they learned from craftsmen, makers, and production experts in Vietnam and Europe.
Upon their return to New York City, Hang joined Gregoire in his studio work. If not creating together in their loft in Williamsburg, you’ll find her at Fortuny and him at Crème, working on textile and interior design projects.