In-Conversation with Ben Rousseau

In-Conversation with Ben Rousseau

Time flies when you’re having fun, but what about making time itself fun? Now the clocks have gone forward, watching them can seem a bit of a drag. Fortunately, the most recent addition to our showroom by Ben Rousseau Design is changing that. A statement for modern homes and projects alike, we wanted to introduce you to a new development in the world of timekeeping.

We sat down with founder and chief innovator of Ben Rousseau Design for a quick conversation about his latest piece ‘Tempus,’ his timeline in design, and what he does with his spare moments.

How long did it take for Tempus to be transformed from an idea to the timepiece it is today?

"The very first Tempus came about 8 years ago, it morphed from a static artwork I was making called the iris , which was like a machine made replication of an eye ball. I used to engrave 60 parts of it that had a magical balance between illuminated material and exposed material. The next stage was to give these static artworks an extra dimension through animation in real time and so Tempus was born. After sitting staring at it for those first few hours I knew it was going to be a really special piece."

What was the hardest part of the creation process?

"Stopping creating. I have so many ideas for different patterns, different material combinations, different ways to play with the light reflections, etc - keeping the range small is the hardest thing. The part that has had most investment and testing, though, has been the outer frame and main surface combinations, I’ve explored laser-cut and welded frames, extruded frames, 3d printed frames, timber frames and now, spun aluminium frames."

Is there a particular setting the Tempus is best suited to?

"Any setting that brings joy to someone’s life. It works great in a modern house, but there is something really fun about it mounted amongst period features of a Victorian house, for example. It is designed to be positioned in a prominent location or feature space. Just not in direct sunlight."

If you could have one dream location for the Tempus, where would it be placed?

"As Ken Adam was probably my first hero (he designed the early Bond sets), I’d say it would have to be in the next Bond film. I am in discussion with a certain actor about a well-known comic book character featuring it, so we may see a variation of it in the not-too-distant future."

Do you have a favourite time of the day to put ideas together?

"Certainly. My best ideas happen, naturally, after the kids have gone to bed, when I’ve started moving away from the tasks that are needed to get done and can start to relax. Trouble is, sometimes as they get more involved and exciting they then keep me awake as I’m keen to continue developing then, or even start engineering how to construct them. Ideas can be my curse sometimes. But are certainly my greatest gift."

What is the most rewarding part of bringing your own designs to life?

"Without question, watching someone interact with my work for the first time - sometimes at a trade show, or in a gallery, I can see someone’s eyes just lock onto Tempus, and as they get closer you see the excitement build up within them, until they ask, "Oh my God, is that a clock?" I love noting more than to hear how my creations genuinely light up people’s lives!!"

What's the coolest custom edition you’ve created so far?

"Well, the coolest in terms of temperature will be the Giant version designed for Ice Hotel Jukkasjarvi in the artic Sweden - like a giant clock installation, set on the floor, with each segment made from giant, illuminated blocks of ice, with a ceremony planned for when it hits 1 o’clock and all segments are lit for just that one second in each 12 hour time path. Still waiting for them to find the budget to make that a reality. But coolest one I’ve built so far... Maybe the one I did in Collaboration with TheArsenale, masters of the universe of mobility, as it blends my fascination with automotive machines and timepieces in a perfect modern artwork."

Do you feel that Tempus more accurately depicts the passage of time than a ticking clock? For example, making it easier to see that every second counts?

"Yes, what is does do is give you a very clear indication of hours passed, so I think it does very much encourage users to appreciate how precious time is."

If you could spend an hour doing absolutely anything, what would it be?

"It’s a great question. A hard choice between: 1 hour of steep runs down a fresh powder trail on my snowboard in my favourite French mountains, or 1 hour kite surfing in Hawaii, or 1 hour riding dirt bikes in the California desert."

Are there any designers/artists/creatives that you take inspiration from?

"Absolutely, I’ve always got my eyes open. I take inspiration from architecture around me as I travel, vehicle design - was very sad that one of my heroes, Marcello Gandini, died very recently, the creator of so many iconic cars such as the Lamborghini Countach and many others. I really love what Max Busser is doing with mechanical watches right now as it takes the art and engineering to a whole new level., I have some very cool new mechanical versions of the clock that take it into a new era of wonderment."

Join us in our Greater London showroom where we are exclusively displaying the Tempus and a myriad of inspiring timeless designs.

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