Paris Design Week puts motivated newcomers front and center

Fragments of Anthony Guerree for M editions at the Le Corbusier Foundation

Fragments, one of the most intriguing showcases of Paris Design Week 2022, included stone furniture placed in the striking setting of Le Corbusier’s 1925 Villa la Roche, now Fondation Le Corbusier. Defined by its cubic volumes, gently curvilinear voids and color blocking, the UNESCO World Heritage site embodies the celebrated architect’s purist style, distilled from the canon of classical architecture. Likewise, contemporary French designer Anthony Guerrée developed the Fragments collection as an ode to the modernist lineage that dates back to ancient Greece. The various monolithic chairs, lounge chairs and stools were made from offcuts of precious stones that would otherwise be discarded. Produced and presented by the Parisian gallery M editions. Each element has been strategically placed within the intersecting matrix of the structure of floors, stairwells, and built-in furnishings.

“Working with marble is investigating history.” said the designer. “I entered into a passionate dialogue between craftsmanship and design, inspired by the three ancient architectural orders: the Doric order and its noble austerity, the Ionic order and its tender scrolls, the Corinthian order and its abundance of ‘expression.”

Fragments by Anthony Guerrée for M éditions has been installed at the Le Corbusier Foundation. COURTESY OF ALEXANDRE TABASTE

Nana and Nymphaea de Pelle at Triode Paris

Triode is a Parisian gallery specializing in the dissemination of the very influential production of independent North American designers of the last two decades. He was the first to do so and, in turn, established a significant overseas market for such talent. Located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, the platform features distinct lighting fixtures from New York’s Lindsey Adelman and Allied Maker, as well as furniture from Philadelphia craftsman John Plomp. For its latest exhibition, inaugurated during Paris Design Week 2022, the gallery has embarked on a collaboration with the multidisciplinary studio Pelle, based in Brooklyn.

Designed with French 3D artist and renderer Sébastien Baert, the installation Nana and Nymphaea – an experience through video and digital imagery – places these iconic chandeliers in the gallery reimagined as a lush tropical wetland oasis. Set in the gritty confines of the Paris metropolis, the virtual scenarios play on the complexities of what is man-made and natural. Jean and Oliver Pelle, co-directors of the eponymous practices, were inspired by the pools of blue water and mist that defined Claude Monet’s career, the Water Lilies (water lilies) series. The hybrid physical and digital presentation is accompanied by a video produced by Daniel Seung Lee that takes an in-depth look at Pelle’s day-to-day creative process.

an interior image of a lighting exhibit
Pelle’s Nana and Nymphaea installation at the Triode gallery in Paris. COURTESY OF ALEXIS TOUREAU

Factory Paris Design Week

At the center of this season’s program were two converted event spaces and galleries dedicated to what has been dubbed Paris Design Week Factory. More than a dozen young and promising exhibitors presented their latest novelties at the Espace Commines and at the nearby Galerie Joseph. Emphasis has been placed on recycling materials and sourcing materials from nature in an inventive and responsible way. But this younger generation is also determined to reinterpret artisanal traditions from around the world, intelligent formal exploration, inclusive representation and self-expression.

Among these workshops, initiatives and universities with a more thoughtful approach to the material, let us mention the Spain & Granite project of the Maison Papier, Mesure and the École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Reims developed in partnership with the Regional Natural Park Balloons of the Vosges. Students in the school’s IDIS Chair master’s program were invited to extract and work with materials specific to the preserved forests and hills of North-East France while channeling the know-how of local craftsmen through a contemporary lens. The resulting minimalist, utilitarian and resourceful furniture incorporated everything from cut granite and roughly hewn pieces of wood that would otherwise have been discarded.

people standing near a table with exhibits
Objects by young designers were exhibited at Espace Commines as part of what has been baptized Paris Design Week Factory COURTESY ESPACE COMMINES

Scale, meanwhile, is a new Biarritz-based studio producing the first solid composite formed entirely from fish skin. Belgian designer Arthur Vandergucht, Parisian talent Helder Barbosa and Lille-based Alexandre Labruyère play a game for visually striking new implementations of everyday materials like metal. The latter exploits centuries-old woodworking techniques to create furniture that reflects natural forms and unique landscapes. Through their various investigations and instigations, these talents are taking the furniture industry to the test, where a more serious commitment to sustainability, fairness and originality is badly needed.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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