The poetic and elegant bent of these young designers, who all seem driven to design more human objects, might be considered the common denominator in projects of such different approaches and categories. But, another common feature springs immediately to mind - the desire to produce hybrids combining technology and traditional materials, craft and mass production, in an attempt to make small inventions that can improve our everyday lives. By contrast, the ever-present theme of sustainability seems now to be a foregone conclusion.
Wat, Water Lamp, Manon Leblanc
The most sustainable – and surprising – solution comes from Manon Leblanc, a student of the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg, who has made a (bio-plastic and blown-glass) lamp that powers itself with just a few drops of water. The energy required is generated by a water-activated battery (a product of Japanese engineering) consisting in a carbon rod covered with magnesium dust. You simply add a little water when the liquid evaporates (every two/three months).
Variations autour d'une Bouilloire Électrique, Jean-Baptiste Fastrez
In protest at soulless and impersonal mass production, Fastrez, a student at ENSCI Les Ateliers in Paris, has come up with a number of variations on the same theme of the electric kettle. This rethinking of a standardised and common electrical appliance such as the kettle also brought it out of the kitchen and onto the table. A number of routine standard features (that comply with safety and ergonomic legislation) are combined in vessels of different shapes, colours and materials: from ceramic to blown glass and ABS plastic, created via rapid prototyping. The result is a series of hybrid objects in which mass and unique production, industry and craft, meet.
NOROC, furnishings collection, Julien Devaux
This project by Julien Devaux (master in Design Objet from ENSAD, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris) was developed while working with Moldavenir, an international non-profit association based in one of Europe's poorest countries, Moldavia. NOROC – which means health and good fortune – is based on the work of craftspeople in the village of Dubasarii Vechi (population approx. 6,000, 40km from the capital Chisinau), where the locals hand down the art of wickerwork. The result is a collection of hybrid objects and furnishings (stool, low table, lamps, wastepaper basket and trinket tray) made from waste and castaway items (abundant in the Moldavian countryside) and that mix fair trade, ecology, local craft promotion and design.
Objets d'un autre âge, Eva Rielland
Hybrids appear again in a project by this student of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, who has combined technology with a traditional material, maple wood. Her aim was to facilitate intergenerational relations and the use of technology by the older generations. Rielland focused on the basic functions of writing, observing, sending pictures and printing to create as many artefacts – a printer, a picture prop, a frame and a letterbox, adopting a reassuring material and forms.
(Â), Table, Louis Denavaut
The form of the small (Â) table revolves around the trestle. The top, designed by this student of the École Camondo, opens around a single support (instead of the two normally used for work tables) producing the maximum surface area in the smallest of spaces.
Scriptorium, Lucas Hoffalt and Samuel Lamidey
This desk resembles the old-fashioned drawing board and is the Hoffalt-Lamidey duo's answer to new workspace needs. The two young designers placed an adjustable tilting wooden top on a spare but solid metal base in their attempt to bring together computer/printer and more traditional means of writing such as pen and paper, and make the whole as ergonomic and space-saving as possible.
Le m2 chair, Ermal Reca
Sustainability is also using the minimum amount of material necessary, as demonstrated by Ermal Reca's seating design, made possible by research and experimentation with GL2, a weaving and twisting technique that employs fine layered bands of material, glued together. The name of each piece reflects the surface area of the material needed to make it. Elena Sommariva