VIA, les écoles de design

At the Galerie VIA, 65 projects from 24 French design schools are small masterpieces of elegance, devised for a society with growing needs for different kinds of material and psychological comfort.

Les écoles du design/2012 is currently on display at Galerie VIA, the association for the "Valorization of Innovation in Furnishing." Michel Bouisson curated a beautiful selection with precision for the exhibition that includes a cross-section of the creativity, trends and research in contemporary French design. It showcases 65 projects and prototypes from 24 French schools. Althought the event is traditionally held during summer Design Week, this year, it will continue through the Fall when another large Paris fair, Maison & Objet, will bring professionals from around the world to the capital. The selection of diploma projects was originally created as a vehicle for young talent. The show has been progressively transformed into an occasion for exploring the prospects and success of an educational strategy that has produced world-famous excellence.

Usual suspects such as ENSCI , École Camondo , École de Valenciennes , as well as a myriad of regional institutions from Brest to Saint-Étienne are currently improving the perception of quality of French design in the international scene. The "cultural exception" was invented in France and the nation boasts state-based and private partnerships between business and research having centuries-old, well-established and still-operational crafts and manufacturing traditions (like Sévres and Gobelins). The visitor must read a bit between the lines among the prototypes on display in the exhibit to understand the logic. At times the exhibition is organized by educational institutions while others they are seemingly thematic (the case containing perpetual calendars is beautiful — a great design classic).
Top: Leslie Landucci, <em>Life goes on</em> perpetual calendar. École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. © Leslie Landucci. Above: Sun HongLiang, <em>Art de la table</em> cutlery set. École Supérieure d'Art et de Design de Valenciennes. © Sun HongLiang
Top: Leslie Landucci, Life goes on perpetual calendar. École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. © Leslie Landucci. Above: Sun HongLiang, Art de la table cutlery set. École Supérieure d'Art et de Design de Valenciennes. © Sun HongLiang
The spotlight inevitably falls on domestic design and the home, and some projects evoke feelings of déjà-vu. But many of the delightful prototypes embody eternal questions regarding human relationships with objects. Two very good designs involve numbers. Quarante-sept quatre (47,4kg) by Nicolas Tsan and Julien Cedolin plays with the real weight of the environment that they create. The project is inspired by the mobile furniture of nomadic Mongolian populations. Clotilde Boussin's Le 45 is striking in the simplicity and slope of the beautiful and effective wall chair. These designs also face sustainability issues and the primordial nature of the proxemics of daily life.
Priscille Tariel, <em>Aller plus haut</em> stair. École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Tours-Angers-Le Mans. Photo © Priscille Tariel
Priscille Tariel, Aller plus haut stair. École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Tours-Angers-Le Mans. Photo © Priscille Tariel
The acute and accurate observation of movement in Priscille Tariel's linear Dogon-like ladder, Aller plus haut , might be associated with technologically more ambitious projects like Pierre Greiner's sensorial Circadia lamp which blends lighting with the biorhythms of sleep and awakeness.

The prototype's centrality resurrects the innumerable evocative qualities of indefinite materials. Two students from the Orléans École supérieure d'Art et Design offer a fresh perspective on the transformation of timeless materials like glass. Yoann Jacquon's light study is based on the use of bioluminescent bacteria. Amandine Peyresoubes' forms explore the manipulation of light. Other projects, like Hélènes Thomas' magnificent Bouteilles musicales , could also be associated with this kind of research. Playful pleasure merges with technological research and double meanings by constantly pushing the perceptive limits of materials, whether they are iconic or industrial.
The prototype's centrality resurrects the innumerable evocative qualities of indefinite materials — these proposals are highly effective even in their embryonic study
Marianne Cauvard and Raphaël Pluvinage, <em>Noisy Jelly</em> musical game. École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI), Les Ateliers, Paris. Photo by Marianne Cauvard
Marianne Cauvard and Raphaël Pluvinage, Noisy Jelly musical game. École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI), Les Ateliers, Paris. Photo by Marianne Cauvard
Attention to the senses seems to be an important element in the conceptual density of this youthful creativity. In Noisy Jelly , Marianne Cauvard and Raphaël Pluvinage manipulate a gelatin to associate audible effects with visual ones. Experimentation in all fields converges on life's utilitarian aspects. Special attention is paid to the physically challenged. Sun Hong Lian designed a splendid series of plates and cutlery for the elderly and/or people affected by Alzheimer's. Mateo Garcia created a wheelchair accessory entitled Articulations .
Marianne Cauvard and Raphaël Pluvinage, <em>Noisy Jelly</em> musical game. École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI), Les Ateliers, Paris. Photo by Marianne Cauvard
Marianne Cauvard and Raphaël Pluvinage, Noisy Jelly musical game. École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI), Les Ateliers, Paris. Photo by Marianne Cauvard
These proposals are highly effective even in their embryonic study and prototype phases. In her wonderfully poetic project, Life goes on , Leslie Landucci's perpetual calendars and clocks accommodate the sudden onset of inattention in those suffering ADD; time seems to be nothing more than a gentle measure of creativity. The projects are small masterpieces of elegance for a society with growing needs for different kinds of material and psychological comfort. And this generation of designers already seems to be able to satisfy them. Ivo Bonacorsi
Clotilde Boussin, <em>Le 45</em> chair. École Européenne Supérieure d'Art de Bretagne, Rennes. © Clotilde Boussin
Clotilde Boussin, Le 45 chair. École Européenne Supérieure d'Art de Bretagne, Rennes. © Clotilde Boussin
Through 30 September
Les écoles du design/2012
Galerie VIA
Paris
Pierre Greiner, <em>Circadia</em> lamp. École Supérieure d'Art et de Design, Orléans. © Pierre Greine
Pierre Greiner, Circadia lamp. École Supérieure d'Art et de Design, Orléans. © Pierre Greine
Hélène Thomas, <em>Bouteilles musicales</em> [Musical bottles]. École Européenne Supérieure d'Art de Bretagne, Brest. © Hélène Thomas
Hélène Thomas, Bouteilles musicales [Musical bottles]. École Européenne Supérieure d'Art de Bretagne, Brest. © Hélène Thomas
Yoann Jacquon, <em>L'expérience du feu</em> lamp. École Supérieure d'Art et de Design, Orléans. © Yoann Jacquon
Yoann Jacquon, L'expérience du feu lamp. École Supérieure d'Art et de Design, Orléans. © Yoann Jacquon
Matéo Garcia, <em>Articulations</em>, acessory for wheelchair. École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ANSCI) Les Ateliers, Paris. Photo © Véronique Huyghe
Matéo Garcia, Articulations , acessory for wheelchair. École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ANSCI) Les Ateliers, Paris. Photo © Véronique Huyghe
Nicolas Tsan e Julien Cedolin, <em>Quarante-sept quatre</em> wardrobe. École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Photo © Dominique Feintrenie
Nicolas Tsan e Julien Cedolin, Quarante-sept quatre wardrobe. École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Photo © Dominique Feintrenie

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