Jean-Paul BATH, CEO of VIA
In a world that tends to homogenize regional specifics or blur different tastes on the scale of planetary style, why is French creativity so pertinent? How can we define it in an era of profound sociological and economic changes … To answer these essential questions about the future of French furnishings, we launched a vast inquiry to define not only what makes, and will make, our interiors unique but also to define our designers, manufacturers, architects, decorators … First, we asked 40 experts in contemporary style throughout the world to list the ten cardinal values that define le French Design from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to Ariel Wizman, from Jean-Michel Wilmotte to Christian Liaigre, from Gilles Lipovetsky to Guy Savoy, from matali crasset to Mathieu Lehanneur. We also spoke with representatives from institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, le Mobilier National (France’s National Furniture), Sèvres-Cité de la céramique, the Decorative Arts Museum, Ecole Camondo, the London Design Museum, MoMA, etc. This scientific group of designers, architects and interior designers plus fashion designers, journalists, curators, chefs and manufacturers … developed a chart that structures French creativity through 10 values: Art de vivre, Creativity & Industry, Elegance and touch of Luxury, Sustainable Innovation, Audacity, Savoir-Faire, Balance, Heritage, Cultural Opennes and Panache.
In 2018 we wished to go further in this reflection. This is why we asked three eminent thinkers: the scientist and prospective thinker Joël de Rosnay and sociologists Alain d’Iribarne and Michel Maffesoli to project themselves into tomorrow’s society and imagine a French-style art de vivre in 2059. Interviews with well-known people in the design world (manufacturers, architects, designers, mobility experts, …) complete this reflection with complementary points of view.
In synthesizing these contributions, VIA extracted seven angles for reflection that will allow French design to blossom in future decades. Brands: vectors of stylistic innovation, Desirable disruption and the French exception, Artificial intelligence and poetry, Tribes and nomadism, the Refuge Home, Sense and emotion, Wandering, traveling and sharing … the directions open to designers are inspiring and innovative.
Their contribution help us sketch out what le French Design can offer the third industrial revolution by helping new uses and expectations emerge and deeply transform the places we live in. Connected objects, shared dwellings, extreme mobility …
After objects, we will broaden our reflection to spaces for living as we conceive them in our country to better understand what they can bring to help a globalized lifestyle emerge.
We thus launch a new challenge through the “2059, le French Design” project: imagine living spaces that reflect the societal and technological changes of our era while remaining faithful to a French style of living. In other words, how to maintain our 7 national DNAs in an era of profound upheavals and preserve this unique “je ne sais quoi” and personality envied by the entire world.
Homes are a space for dreams, a refuge for memory. This space for resistance is breaking down in these times of reconstituted families. Is this why new generations want to feel at home in workplaces ? Can we recreate a grandmother’s wardrobe, a tranquil corner, a country house in an urban tower block ?
Major brands shape trends and styles. Terence Conran and IKEA have inspired a disruptive international contemporary style. In France, Mobilier National, Roche Bobois and Ligne Roset champion a French “art de vivre”.
What will the brands and styles of tomorrow be ? What will be their challenges, their DNA ?
How to create French-style disruption ? Positive and sustainable. How can the thirst for change be reconciled with the charm, poetry and elegance of French living spaces ?
40 billion connected objects, robots that choose for us; how do we make sure that Artificial Intelligence does not become artificial stupidity ?
The social nomadism of young generations, constantly recomposed around tribes and new images, demands original spaces, third-places, co-working, co-living, pooling resources and skills.
The togetherness present in our culture, exemplified by literary gatherings on café terraces, does it have something to bring to these new “tribal” meeting spaces ?
The act of buying, statutory or consumerist, is becoming a pleasure, an experience, hedonism.
Design, linked to objects in the home, is coupled with a personal search for meaning.
Are the cultural heritage, the balance and the cerebral approach of French design an advantage or a constraint when it comes to creating design that appeals to collective emotion and sensitive reason ?
Faced with the tyranny of search engines, how do we preserve the diversity of our creativity ?
How do we preserve our cultural openness to the other and the elsewhere ? How do we make public spaces, urban spaces and transport spaces catalysts for sharing, meeting and intellectual reflection ?