Interview with Etienne & Eric, founders of Ozone

Ozone is a company from Paris which joined Par Excellence as their partner for lighting design. All of their products are designed and handmade in Paris, and are available for American customers. Let's get to know Etienne and Eric, the founders of Ozone.

Eric Jähnke and Etienne Gounot, the two founders of Ozone

Eric Jähnke and Etienne Gounot, the two founders of Ozone

When did you start working in lighting design? 
In 2000.

Can you give us a roadmap of how you found your way to this career? 
We had been friends and work colleagues for a few years. We wanted to start a business together and associate our industrial first step to a creative approach. Plus light is magical! 

What were the biggest contributors to your learning? 
Meeting with craftsmen and interior designers has been very enriching. We were complete beginners, with both our skills and our professional network. Craftsmen and interior designers are passionate people who take the time to listen and pass on their knowledge despite their busy schedule.

How long does it take for someone to really build some confidence in this craft? 
It requires at least 10 years to develop esthetic, conceptual and technical sensibility and skills of lighting and light making.

What is your advice for learning how to become skilled in their craft? 
There is no real school in this field. You have to take the plunge for real and learn.

To what or who do you owe your success? 
We do not know if we can speak of success, because success can be relative and short-lived. We try to last in the long term by enhancing our models each year. The changes might be imperceptible, but contribute to catch the eye of the enthusiast. Although the shapes we design are sleek and geometrical, we commit to make them more beautiful and couple the latest technologies with the past. The seniority of artists matters in this field as the truth of know-how and consistency. We actively collaborate with the Cristallerie Saint-Louis, which was founded in 1586 and we currently light the new store of the Monnaie de Paris, which has existed since 864.

Tell us a little about the inspiration behind some of your pieces. 
That is very hard to answer in a few words. We discussed this topic in a very beautiful text written by an author for the last Ozone magazine. It speaks about walks in Paris, contemporary art, meetings with architects, and the sky.

Do you have a “key” realization? What is it? 
The L line for the simplicity of its shape and the beauty of its light. A discreet piece designed to serve the atmosphere of a place. Actually, it is more a sunset than a beacon.

Why did you choose to come to New York? 
To us, New York is a city that focuses and brings out the maximum amount of energy and creativity. Like Paris, but stronger and more open to the world.

According to you, how can Par Excellence support your development in the US?
It is better to be accompanied by others and well supported to succeed in this city and country.

What question would you most like to be asked? 
Etienne: Do you like questions? The answer is no. I am quite introverted so I prefer to ask. "
Eric: Would you have some time to see John Pawson this afternoon? (John Pawson is a British architectural designer born in 1949 whose work is known for its minimalist aesthetic.)

If you weren’t a craftsman, what would you be? 
Etienne: Photographer or filmmaker.
Eric: Doctor or physicist.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? 
Etienne: Doing yoga, reading and meditating.
Eric: Surfing, playing the piano.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
Etienne: To the moon.
Eric: Right now I would like to go surfing in Bali.

What do you dream about? 
Etienne: Nature.
Eric: I often dream about the ocean, waves and surfing. This is actually the reason why I started to practice this sport.

And last but not least, what’s your mantra? 
Etienne: One day at a time, live in the present.
Eric: “Take good care of this day, because this is life”, by Mawlana Rumi.

The L line (Wall)

The L line (Wall)

The Parisienne MO (Floor)

The Parisienne MO (Floor)

The C line (Ceiling light)

The C line (Ceiling light)

For more information about their products and their work find the website of Ozone here!