Native Union is an award-winning product design company bringing a unique and sophisticated perspective to the booming mobile accessories market. Founded in 2009 by John Brunner and Igor Duc, Native Union creates tech accessories with inherent warmth, personality and individuality, through its dedication to sophisticated design, innovative materials and an obsession with details. Native Union’s in-house design team focuses on 3 main pillars: enhanced user experiences, innovation through design and a dedication to using the highest quality materials.
5 STYLE interviewed Fabien Nauroy, Head of Design at Native Union, to better understand his beautiful work.
Can you run through your background quickly for us?
I was born in south of France then moved to Paris where I graduated a Master degree in industrial design. After working 2 years for a major phone and PC manufacturer I moved to HK where I discovered an exciting young creative entrepreneur scene. Four years ago I joined the Native Union to set up the in-house design studio.
Can you explain your role as a Head of Design at Native Union?
I’m above all a product designer. We are a small team of 4 in the design team working together on new product developments. It always starts with user scenario, studying how people use their tech, trying to identify pain points or everyday small frustrations. We brainstorm on solutions, things we could do better to improve the experience. But more than just functional we believe our product should always express something about us as individuals. By using uncomplicated aesthetics, new materials and small but thoughtful details that make the biggest difference.
Your products are really sleek and minimal. What inspires your design today?
Everything from footwear, home decoration to kitchenware. We do our daily Pinterest check and travel to design shows every year trying to anticipate new trends we could bring to our industry. We also follow the work of various designers like Tom Dixon, Nendo in Japan or Danish Studio HAY.
What is your philosophy around a minimal design aesthetic?
We are strong believers in less is more at Native Union. Personally, I studied industrial design in the early 2000s when good design in consumer electronics has to be curved, complex and organic. I discovered later the power of clean and geometric lines by studying the work of designers like Dieter Rams for Braun or Max Bill for Junghans. Simple form following function, keeping only the essential with subtle details on material and texture. It was just an obvious direction for Native Union as we wanted to make the products more approachable, intuitive and desirable. It also helped us to build a strong visual identity to differentiate ourselves from the other tech accessories manufacturers.
What are, in your view, the prerequisites designers have to fulfil in order to be successful with their work today?
Be passionate, curious and open minded.
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