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Alma i, Louis Charron
© Louis Charron

French schools of art and design exhibit in Milan

An experimental exhibition in Milan brings together remarkable projects around the theme of nature and environmentalism by students and young graduates from three prestigious French schools of art and design. Ambitious, stimulating and sometimes confusing, the exhibition offers food for thought and new territory to explore when thinking about the design of the future.

Published on 01/04/2019

2 min

Echoing the French Section of the Milan Triennial which proposes to extend the limits of design (“De la pensée au visible. Design As A Large Ring”), three French schools of art and design will exhibit their creative and investigative approaches to “repairing” nature until 14th April at the Institut Français in Milan.

Under the title "Nouvelles Natures", the exhibition is a response from the young generation of French designers to the call made by Catherine Geel, the curator of the French Section: the aim of this event, which is committed to environmentalism, must extend well beyond the building, in all forms of expression.

The École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD), the École Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Saint-Étienne (ESADSE) and the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI) are truly research laboratories and creative venues for the design of tomorrow and have therefore chosen to present a selection of multiform projects. Created by 17 of their students and young graduates, the projects combine object design, textiles, printed images, media and industrial creation. They express an awareness of the global issues and the temporality of resources that man cannot escape.

Responsibility, ethics, self-criticism

Through "MUTATIS MUTANDIS", ESDASE's student designers have chosen to shoulder their responsibility: they have explored the truth of the real world in order to draw up an incisive assessment of our present. In a free, unsegmented approach to design, their observations of environmental change invite us to think more about commonalities in order to open up new perspectives for their discipline. Like the “Potagia” installation, in which Martin Sauvadet focuses on above-ground cultivation: he creates modular “emergency greenhouses” where organic cultivation is of a political nature. The awareness that leads to action is achieved here through confrontation with the living.

Potagia, 2018, Martin Sauvadet
© S Binoux
Potagia, 2018, Martin Sauvadet

Being aware of the possibility of human extinction has also led exhibitors to think of design as an ethical discipline. For ENSCI students, this requires design to reflect on its subject. “MATTER MATTERS - Matière(s) à pEnser/pAnser” considers design not as a consumerist artefact but as a true developer. The matter's design, with its restorative action ("healing"), will make it possible to change the production paradigms to free oneself from the dualism between man and his environment. Analysing excess natural materials relegated to waste, they reveal untapped and alternative sources and invent more virtuous production methods.

Matter Matters
© DR
Matter Matters

It was precisely these production processes that ENSAD was interested in with "BEYOND DESIGN Questioning design for human survival" and complex technological proposals based on collection and recycling.

Focusing on the creative processes of the future through biotechnology, artificial intelligence and algorithms, this new generation of designers exhibiting in Milan offer various sensitive and cross-disciplinary solutions to the environmental emergency.

Pearling machine, ALIVE  at the fondation EDF, Emile de Visscher
© Emile de Visscher
Pearling machine, ALIVE at the fondation EDF, Emile de Visscher
The Institut français and the project

The "Nouvelles Natures. French schools of art and design at the Institut Français de Milan” exhibition will be exhibited from 1st March to 14th April 2019 at the Institut Français de Milan and is supported by the Institut Français.

L'institut français, LAB