The thirteenth Design Parade is being held at Hyères on the Côte d’Azur: a group of enthusiasts, working with charismatic figure of Jean-Pierre Blanc, have transformed the modernist architecture of the Villa Noailles into a platform for design research, experimentation and debate. Three years ago, in neighbouring Toulon, the festival was doubled, creating a parallel event focusing on interior architecture. At the centre of both programmes are the competitions. The juries have selected ten finalists from the hundreds of designs submitted from around the world.
The international jury at the Design Parade in Hyères (headed by Philippe Malouin and including Felix Burrichter, Maria Cristina Didero, Erwan Bouroullec, Marianne Goebl and Matylda Krzykowski) awarded first prize to Uva, by the Portuguese designer Sara de Campos. Her project tackles the difficulties faced by grape pickers – she has created an ergonomic basket made up of different, easy-to-use elements to improve conditions for agricultural workers. Second place went to a completely different project, one by Alex Sizemore & Hank Beyer. This presents the results of a year-long investigation into materials and the people who work with them in different states of the USA. They have reproduced the components of a computer – screen, keyboard and mouse, symbols of mass production – in materials including ice, charcoal, lard and clay. The traditions, experience and emotions involved have been brought together to create a book, which pushes us to ask if the materials that are good for industry are also good for people. The designers say that they have presented their project to different electronics company – a powerful stimulus for new ideas in the sector.
In parallel, Design Parade has witnessed a range of different exhibitions and presentations. The local craftsman François Passolunghi – one of the last rattan experts in the world – has revealed the secrets of working with the material in a workshop and exhibition, and in conversation with journalist and design specialist Anne-France Berthelon. Demonstrating how this festival is closely focused on the details, the emerging designer Joachim Jirou-Najouc has created an evocative layout design for the exhibition on the work of Passolunghi, playing with the shadows projected in the Mediterranean sun by rattan furniture, which is traditionally used outside. Worth noting too is the work on the fountains of Arthur Hoffner, who won the Public Award in 2016. Dozens of models of different sizes, some created with the Manufacture de Sèvres, transform our perception of the fountain with the use of colours, materials and unusual objects, such as sponges, funnels and hydraulic tubes.
Also at Villa Noailles is a solo show by the president of the jury, Philippe Malouin, presenting the work of his studio in its first ten years. It is surprising to discover work that is as intelligent as it is coherent, and all developed within a relatively brief period of time. As Maria Cristina Didero says in the essay accompanying the exhibition: “whether projects speak loudly or softly, we perceive a keen strength of perspective combined with a solid methodology, achieved by those who not only have a clear idea in mind, but also a lucid sense with regards to how a design object should be looked at. Therefore, and most importantly, the reasons behind it.” The Anglo-Canadian designer has developed a special project for the occasion inspired by the Villa Noailles itself. We will be providing a more detailed look at this on Domusweb soon.
Not far away, in Toulon, the Design Parade locations in the seaside town, now staging a full-scale comeback, tend to change with each edition. This is to allow the public to discover places which are little known or which have even been abandoned. The main site this year is the Ancien Évêché, a building whose origins date back to the fifth century. In the inner courtyard are projects such as Pierre Marie’s “Le jardin d’hiver”, inspired by travel in Sri Lanka, and Alexandre Benjamin Navet’s “Le salon du collectionneur”, as well as a fresco by Matthieu Cossé and a solo show by the president of the jury, Pierre Yovanovitch, who has imagined the house of one Mlle Oops – it is a like a play in which the characters are furniture, decorative elements and artworks subdivided across the different rooms.
The competition, for interiors evoking the flavour of the Mediterranean coast, has two joint winners. The first, Grotto, by Kim Haddou & Florent Dufourcq, is a reading room with pale colours screened by a large curtain. The main element is the library, which has niches in the walls for stowing books and objects. The second, The Corniche’s Secret, by Antoine Chauvin, evokes the horizons of the sea with a few simple elements, including a large blue modular sofa that blends with the colour of the floor.
Opening image: the dining room by Pierre Yovanovitch at Design Parade Toulon. Photo Lothaire Hucki © villa Noailles, 2018
- Design Parade 2018
- 3 July – 27 September 2018
- Different locations in Hyères and Toulon, France