Design Parade 2017

Without neglecting the allure of the landscape, the double bill of “Design Parade” at Toulon and Hyères, explores new frontiers in contemporary design.

Vista della mostra su Adrien Rovero, Design Parade Hyères. Photo Lothaire Hucki
Who can forget Man Ray’s memorable film Les Mystères du Château de Dé made in 1929 in the beautiful Villa Noailles, in the hills that surround Hyères: an enchanted place where time seems to have stood still. From the 1930s to today, it is design that brings us back to the present – and possibly even the future – with one of the most interesting events linked to design, “Design Parade” led by director Jean-Pierre Blanc with valuable input from his second in command, Magalie Guérin.
This year, the second time around, “Design Parade” doubles up with an edition dedicated to interior design in nearby Toulon. Both events include a series of exhibitions of young talent as well as two competitions that aim to celebrate the best in design – in product and interior design – from around ten candidates selected and presented for the Grand Prix. Since last year therefore, everything has been multiplied by two.
Img.1 View of the exhibition dedicated to Inga Sempé, Design Parade Hyères
Img.1 View of the exhibition dedicated to Inga Sempé, Design Parade Hyères
It has to be said that when the French put their minds to it, they do things well: the winners receive, aside from the glory, major awards as well as a sum that enables designers to produce new designs, exhibitions dedicated in future editions, commissions from top galleries such as Kreo, involvement in museum projects – partners include the Nouveau Musée National in Monaco and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Starting with Toulon: in addition to the photographic exhibition dedicated to François Halard, the multi-talented Vincent Darré, chair of the jury of this competition, presents “Haunted House”, an irreverent and surrealistic interpretation of his interior design vision developed in two large rooms filled with highly-decorated pieces. In the first room, painted bright turquoise, there is a giant chandelier (black and yellow with a crowded group of stylised birds) by Aristide Najean, in Murano blown glass. Not far from the museum, at Cercle Naval, adorned with fresh flowers, is a collection of rooms designed by young architects. “Soleil, Delicieux Enfer”, a living room inspired by the idea of the patio by Caroline and Mathieu Menager, based in Marseilles – brother and sister, both born in 1984 and founders of the M3A Architectes studio – is one of the most evocative settings, an artificial Eden of rare refinement. A stone statue depicts a naked woman, an intricately-worked bamboo table has a blue enamel bowl sitting on it and a copy of Eloge De l'Ombre by Junichiro Tanizaki (Verdier editions), two chairs by Pierre Jeanneret welcome us in a few square meters Illuminated from above by a transparent glass chessboard filled with plants. It feels like being outdoors – or maybe not – but above all in a place with a charming appeal.


The duo Mathilde Vallantin Dulac and Victor Levai, both born in 1991, one a textile designer, the other an artist, present the bedroom Plage abandonnée, a microarchitecture carved out of a foam block, white like whipped cream, complete with a sink for brushing your teeth in and of course a raised bed for sleeping. Before leaving Toulon for Hyères, you can stop off at the design market and then visit the hair salon where Valentina Cameranesi, based in Milan and of extraordinary talent, presents a project that is both light and erotic at the same time: a series of ceramic pots with different shapes that do not clash with the old setting of the real hairdresser’s shop with its large windows, where the words  féminin and masculin appear. The pale-pink environment stands out against the saturated colours of the objects in the exhibition entitled “Féminin” curated by the talented Matylda Krzyzowski.

In Hyères, the exhibitions are spread around the rooms of Robert Mallet-Stevens's villa (1923) – with a route through the Pompidou Centre collection as well as the history of the residence and the life of the clients Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles. The jury is led by Inga Sempé: the high floor above the swimming pool is given over to her and her work with the exhibition “Tutti Frutti”, that presents a collection of her industrial design work enriched with models and freehand drawings as well as an installation with coloured fabrics and hanging blankets that move like theatre curtains.


Also in the spaces of the villa is a beautiful presentation of retrospective work by Maria Jeglinska entitled “Arret Sur Image” (with the Little Black Chair, a chair from 2014 that is actually blue, the colour of the crowded sea of ​​the Côte d'Azur), the piece in bamboo by the 2015 winner of the Grand Prix, Samy Rio now with “Itinéraires” and terracotta tiles by Antoine Boudin shaped like waves, Oudino developed for Hotel La Reine Jane. The opening weekend concludes with the announcement of the two winners: for Hyères it is the project The future of sausage, Carolien Niebling’s work supported by ECAL, a survey of the future of sausage, which includes versions of sausage with blood and insects. Meanwhile at Toulon the winner is Imajaghan, lounge by French designers Paul Brissonnet and Alexandre Benjamin Navet.


As is traditional, at the end of the evening, the inevitable game of petanque – the Provençal version of bowls – everyone together. Great passion and professionalism for a festival that, without neglecting the allure of the landscape, explores new frontiers in contemporary design.

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until 24 September 2017
Design Parade Toulon, Design Parade Hyères

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