Born in the genial-sounding city of Nice, France in 1975, Philippe Nigro seems to be insinuating himself with near universal consistency onto “designers to watch” lists from L.A. to New York to Paris and on to points East. Since the onset of his career in 1999 as a freelancer, he’s worked with studios and manufacturers with the very same universal cache, including (but not limited to) Nube Italia, NavaDesign, and Studio De Lucchi.
Pietement Universel. Designed by Philippe Nigro.
Starting in 2005, he put the freelancing mode on hiatus to settle in for a longer collaboration with Via, for whom he created the “Spiral” Shelf, the “Storage Unit” modular boxes, and the “Intersections” sofa. And after a brief foray with Ligne Roset (see his excellent Confluences modular seating), he once again joined forces with Via for a nifty piece of pragmatic and versatile industrial chic he refers to as Pietement Universel.
Technically, the name translates as “Universal Base,” though various loose translations across the net style it as “T.U. Table,” “Universal Table,” or “Table 1,” each of which have their appeal, though I prefer to think of it as, simply, one darn handsome clamp. This is because Nigro’s elegant dual table leg/base system reminds me—in both functional application and appearance—of the ubiquitous three-foot bar clamp, familiar to anyone who’s spent more than a couple of hours in a wood shop. Nigro’s piece joins others of its ilk—Ryan Sorrell’s DIY Clamp Table and Cohda Designs Re-vive, in a move towards minimalism and sustainability. Each of these pieces is not a traditional furniture product per say, but rather a whole new approach to the “assemble at home” concept, since they invite you to, effectively, create your very own piece of furniture: the great coup of Nigro’s Pietement Universel is that it encourages innovative thinking about what constitutes a table. So whether you choose to complement your Pietement Universel with a squared-off remnant of OSB or an offcut slab of Italian marble, you’ll be making an intriguing aesthetic statement as well as taking an ethical and environmental stand.