Oscar Lhermitte

Designer-Maker supported by The Clothworkers’ Company - Shortlisted 2019

French-born Oscar Lhermitte is a London-based product designer whose process questions the role of products in everyday life via design, consulting, photography, video, exhibition curation and set design.

Lhermitte’s projects always start with an ‘intensive period of experimentation’ involving many prototypes, failures and iterations. He normally designs ‘objects as whole’, selecting their material, shape, colour & finish for the sole purpose of fulfilling their function.

Precision and control are what Lhermitte looks for when he is producing work, and this often requires him to learn new skills and collaborate with engineers. For example, whilst developing his MOON project (2016-present), he worked for a mould making specialist in order to gain enough knowledge to cast extremely detailed pieces and partnered with Kudu studio to develop the mechanical and electronic engineering. MOON is a topographically accurate lunar globe, using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to display lunar phases at any given time.

Another important aspect of Lhermitte’s process is the use of crowdfunding platforms. With the help of these publicly raised funds, what often start as one-off pieces can end up being manufactured in large quantities and consumed by many.

No Randomness (International Design Biennale of Saint Etienne, 2015) is Lhermitte’s ongoing research into the way we forget how well-designed the objects in our everyday lives are. From the specific shape of a road sign to the patterns on a Cornish fisherman’s jacket, Lhermitte has accrued a collection of object which demonstrate that ‘design is never as beautiful as when it is invisible’.