Inventing Pleasure: Interview with Isabelle Deslauriers
Isabelle Deslauriers is the founder of Désirables, a design firm based in Montréal that specializes in creating and bringing to market intimate products that are warm, functional, sustainable, and aesthetic. Their products are made from the best materials, by local small businesses and craftspeople. A trained industrial designer, and thinking about her next line, Isabelle shared with us her design process and thoughts on design education for sex toys.
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JESSICA GORDON: All of the products at Désirables are so well designed. What does your design process look like? How do you create something new?
ISABELLE DESLAURIERS: Awww! Thank you, Jessica. I’m so glad that you can see our attention to detail in our products. Our design process is largely inspired by my industrial design background. We use a process call “design thinking”. In business, it’s a process that has been used by various well-known companies around the globe; IDEO, IBM, and Intuit, to name a few.
In the sex toy industry, it is a relatively new approach that was first used by JimmyJane back in early 2010 when they collaborated with world-renowned designer Yves Béhar. Actually, the founder of Jimmyjane is an industrial designer too. So is Crave’s founder.
I think what sets industrial designers apart is our ability to empathize with the user. We’ll try as hard as possible to put ourselves in their shoes, with their issues and aspirations in mind. This way, we try to understand how we could solve anything that doesn’t feel right with the user experience.
Our best sellers, the Désirables Dalia and Désirables Adori, were designed after eight months of research on the principles of “intimacy”, “pleasure”, and “body acceptance”. I set out objectives that the product needed to reach in terms of interactions and functions, while the aesthetic came last. The design of our object is never something that is “set in stone”. The Dalia that we sell today is actually the fourth version of our original “intimate explorer”. For example, the first version looked too brittle (but wasn’t), because the proportions between the tip and the center were a little off. Our design aesthetic is based on the functionality of our product (“Form follows function”- Louis Sullivan). Since our porcelain product was destined to be used as a tool to help people reconnect with their bodies, we wanted the design to be as simple as possible. This is why our toys are white and minimally patterned. With a blank canvas, it is easier to let your mind go and not be bothered by any aesthetic choices made by the manufacturer. I still remember how distracted I was by toys shaped like dolphins, butterflies, and rubber duckies. As Leonardo da Vinci is reputed to have said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
To read the full interview click HERE