Close up
Situations #3
© Andrea Rossetti

The projet "Situations" to represent France at the 23rd Milan Triennale 2022

Invited by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, France is represented at the 23rd edition of the Milan Triennial Exhibition of Decorative Arts and Modern Architecture (15 July - 11 December 2022) by a project led by designers Pablo Bras, Juliette Gelli and Romain Guillet. Organised by the Institut français, the French section is entitled Situations. Stratégies pour habiter l’instable: phénomènes, événements, coïncidences

Updated on 25/08/2022

5 min

« Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries »

Curated by astrophysicist Ersilia Vaudo, the theme of this year's Milan Triennale is Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries. It is an invitation to get the arts and sciences talking, to turn our gaze away from anthropocentric certainties, to let ourselves be surprised and feel fragile faced with the immensity of the mysteries of the universe, of the oceans, of consciousness, but also of our bodies, of cities or even of forests. 

Situations #6
© Andrea Rossetti

A new generation of French designers

Formed around the designer Pablo Bras, the multidisciplinary team that won the competition launched by the Institut français for the French section of the Triennale is also made up of Juliette Gelli (graphic designer, visual artist and scenographer) and Romain Guillet (scenographer and designer). After sketching out a curatorial principle and a scenographic concept, Pablo Bras invited Juliette Gelli and Romain Guillet to formalise his initial thoughts with 'six hands'. 

The result is a space created by three people, which conveys the spirit of a new generation of French designers for whom design goes beyond the object and allows us to question the world around us. 

Situations #7
© Andrea Rossetti

Situations. Stratégies pour habiter l’instable: phénomènes, événements, coïncidences.

In response to the theme of the 23rd edition of the Milan Triennial, the project presented by the French section aims to find ways to inhabit the unstable. For Pablo Bras, Juliette Gelli and Romain Guillet, it is necessary above all to observe the present in order to exhaust all possible combinations rather than turning towards the unknown or inventing new worlds.

Situations is interested in the interactions between objects. What happens when they are combined? While it is easy to know what an object is - its shape, its colour, its weight - it is much more difficult to determine what happens when it is next to something else. This uncertainty is made visible by the French section by showing objects as strategies, whereas design usually shows them as products that are supposed to solve identified problems.

The objects were selected according to various criteria: firstly, their usefulness within the exhibition, secondly, the economy of material or gesture that they represent, and thirdly, their origin from French companies, whether individual (independent designers) or collective (companies). 

This selection is based on two strong desires: 

  • To bring together anonymous industrial pieces and so-called "auteur" pieces, in order to reconcile two types of design that are rarely seen together; 
  • To put natural elements and industrial objects on the same level. 

The exhibition is structured around three main sections. The introduction is above all an invitation to consider the idea of "situations". The second part, itself composed of several sub-spaces, presents objects arranged on a brick setting. Finally, the third part documents the production of the scenography and some of the pieces. 

Situations #8
© Andrea Rossetti

A responsible exhibition

The entire exhibition, from its procurement to its dismantling, has been considered in a reflective and economical manner. It is a moment of convergence, where objects awaiting their future lives come together at a given moment. 

The exhibition includes a lemon tree, which, if it grows properly, will enable the installation to become carbon neutral. The energy expenditure is recorded in a carbon footprint, which closes the exhibition. 

L'institut français, LAB