Designer Paul Girardet was born in 1979 in Essen, Germany. He studied economics at Humboldt University in Berlin (pre-diploma 2004-2007), before going on to study architecture at the Technical University of Berlin, where he earned both his Bachelor’s degree (2010) and his Master’s degree (2012).While still a student, he was honored with a second place prize in the biennial Egon Eierman Award. Upon graduating, he began working in the competition department of the Berlin architecture firm Hascher Jehle; he simultaneously launched his own Berlin-based studio, Iumi Design, focusing on sustainable lighting.
The seeds for Iumi were planted while Girardet was still a student. In 2011, he conceived of a flat-packed, wooden lamp as a gift for his sister; he produced the piece in 2012, and soon found a hungry audience for his lighting designs. In 2015, he left Hascher Jehle to focus full time on Iumi, though Girardet still tackles architectural work from time to time.
Girardet’s architectural and object designs prioritize simplicity and sustainability. Iumi specializes in minimalistic, laser-cut, flat-packed lighting designs composed of renewable woods. Describing his approach, Girardet tells us, “Life only gets faster; I am looking for simplicity, as I believe spaces and products should contrast this development. I do not like the pieces I create to attract attention with loud effects. Rather, it should be the people, their lives, and the attached chaos that bring those effects into a space. Simplicity enables objects to last, to age peacefully over time.”