UMÉ is a design practice where traditional craft meets contemporary tastes in delicate yet purposeful objects tailored for everyday living.
Founded by Victor Lefebvre and Mei-Lan Tan, their studio is the final stop in their design process journey. They begin with months-long travels to artisan workshops in many corners of the globe to render century-old skills and techniques, collaborating with a network of artisans and designers dedicated to their craft.
Keeping these traditions alive is essential to the studio—so is updating their forms and bringing these timeless techniques into the now to achieve authentic, distinctive designs.
beauty, function, technique
Victor and Mei-Lan formed UMÉ after years of working together in architectural firms and a shared design ethos where technique leads to design, rather than design informing technique, as is the norm.
They believe an object’s shape and use is derived from its making and is deeply committed to allowing an object’s function and the process behind it to inspire its form, yielding elegant solutions for daily life.
It is this dialogue of the hand, the shape it produces, and an object’s ensuing use that creates this subtle tension that we understands as beauty.
global vs. local
Victor and Mei-Lan forged cultural connections and learned techniques in the USA, France, Japan, and Switzerland, and continue to deepen their ties to these countries as well as new ones.
Rather than a singular brand, UMÉ is a group of individuals pursuing their identity through craft around the world. The practice is at once global and local, with a focus on designing objects for the everyday, meant to engage and incite curiosity, be less prescriptive and more personal, and connect people, their cultures and their histories.
The studio focuses on high quality design pieces that are developed thoughtfully and released periodically throughout the year.