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BIBI SECK

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Bibi Seck was born in Paris and spent his formative years in London, Paris and Dakar. He graduated from ESDI (Ecole Supérieure du Design Industriel) in Paris with a master’s degree in Industrial Design in 1990. He began his professional career the same year as a designer for Renault, the French automobile company, where he had a twelve-year tenure. Bibi Seck became one of the rare designers in the industry to have his every project realized and come to market with the interiors of Scénic 1 and 2, Twingo 2, and Trafic.

Bibi Seck joined Renault at a time when the new head of design Patrick Le Quement was energizing Renault Design and was given every means to create the best team in the car industry. Bibi Seck became part of this team, an incredible opportunity for someone drawing cars since the age of five and who relished the chance to design cars from morning till night.

Bibi’s first project was the design of the interior for Scénic 1, where he learned the basics of his profession. Scénic 1
revolutionized the SUV market with its innovative architecture and contributed strongly to Renault’s success as of 1997, when it was launched. Scénic 1 won the Car of the Year 1997 award and Renault became the first manufacturer to produce a family mini-van, as compact as a Volkswagen Golf, forcing their European competitors to follow suit with their own versions.

His second project was to redesign a new interior for Twingo, a small car that was hugely successful when it was first introduced. Bibi succeeded in giving the car a new life while preserving its iconic image.

Trafic became his third interior, a utility van developed in partnership with General Motors. The objective was to marry utility with pleasure. Two models were developed: the family and the utility versions. His innovation was to create a dashboard with the top portion designed for storage, but in such a way that the stored items did not reflect on to the windshield. The added challenge was to make a symmetrical dashboard that would be used with both European and English steering wheel placements. Trafic was commercialized both by Renault and by Opel, a division of GM. It won Van of the Year award in 2003.

In 2000, Bibi Seck joined Renault’s new Barcelona Studio for five months to work on new concepts. It was at this time that Louis Schwetzer, CEO of Renault, recognized Bibi’s service at the company by offering him stock options. Bibi was called back to Paris to design the interior for Scénic 2, replacing his first design at Renault. Around this time, he designed theF1 Micrograph watch for Tag Heuer, which won the prestigious Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2002.

In 2002, Bibi moved to New York for three months to oversee a concept interior designed by Ayse Birsel for Renault, who was to become his wife and future partner. In 2004 Bibi Seck and Ayse Birsel cofounded their product design firm Birsel + Seck.

At Birsel + Seck, Bibi partners with industry leaders and Fortune 500 corporations to bring innovation to market. Together with his partner Ayse, he explores his ability to synthesize information and imagine new possibilities in simple, human terms. Their innovative thinking results often from their emphasis on the user and a keen sense of empathy for them. Birsel + Seck’s biggest collaborators are its clients, including Herman Miller, Hewlett Packard, Target, Toyota, Hasbro, Moroso, Office Max and Johnson & Johnson.

Bibi brings his vast knowledge of the automobile industry, design, development, materials and manufacturing to new projects. He leads all engineering, prototyping, feasibility, testing and quality manufacturing for B+S, working closely with client teams to ensure smooth translation of product concepts into mass-manufactured, high-quality and well-designed products. His strength lies in his ability to express himself both in design and manufacturing languages, his common sense, earning the trust of engineering and manufacturing teams, and relentless pursuit of beauty.

Bibi is an advocate for sustainable design, evident in the silver certification of the Herman Miller Teneo Storage System (86-99% recyclable), winner of Best of Neocon and Best of Category in 2008 and IDEA Gold Award 2009. Recently he designed and manufactured a series of furniture made with 75% recycled plastic, using garbage bags and bottles, ubiquitous polluters of the Senegalese landscape, giving the material a new life. This collection is manufactured in Senegal using local materials and workforce. Similarly, he designed a collection for Moroso, the Italian manufacturer, together with Ayse and in close collaboration with local craftspeople in Dakar, for a collection entitled M’Afrique, which received wide media attention.

Dedicated to the democratization of design in Africa, Bibi Seck is currently involved in the creation of an African furniture collection for Ikea; a solar battery system for Ugandan users; and redesign of a public square on the historic Island of Gorée.

Bibi has spoken at the Indaba Design Conference, the Saint Etienne Design Biennale, and the Dakar Biennale of Art and Design. In 2010 he was invited to the board of the Dakar Biennale. He has taught at Strate Collége School of Design and Management in Paris, at the Université Technologique de Compiegne, and most recently at Pratt Institute.

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