Alexandre Humbert

Design is a tool for creating interaction between people and objects, both functional and emotional.

"Il est possible que ça fonctionne", a film by director and conceptual designer Alexandre Humbert, was conceived for the 2021 edition of France Design Week. This international, annual and global event aims to promote French design innovation and expertise in all its diversity, while raising public awareness in all fields of design. 

Following the interview, discover his film "Il est possible que ça fonctionne"!

Updated on 31/03/2022

2 min

Alexandre Humbert
© Alexandre Humbert

Can you tell us about your career path? 

I am an object designer by training, I obtained a DNAP at the ESAD (Ecole supérieure d'Art et de Design) in Reims in 2011 and a master's degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2013. It was during my graduation year that I made my first film, White Sheep Black Dream, where I explored a form of experimental narrative directly inspired by the construction of objects. For three years, I then trained in film theory and techniques, finally setting up my own studio in 2016 focusing on the production of cinematic objects. 

Between 2017 and 2019, I wrote and directed the film series Object Interview across Europe, in which I give a voice to all these objects, highlighting the emotional, verbal and non-verbal interaction that exists with all these functions that surround us, regardless of their forms. I have also constructed films by immersing myself in the collections of the Design Museum Gent (BE) in 2018, the Musée d'Art Moderne du Luxembourg (LU) in 2019 and more recently those of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, where I have been invited for a one-year residency during the 2020/2021 season. 

In parallel to my practice, I teach film construction at the ENSCI (Ecole nationale supérieure de création industrielle) Les Ateliers (FR) and at the Design Academy Eindhoven (NL), and lecture on this topic at many design schools in Europe.


Who are the actors in the film? 

In 2020, more than 350 models of objects, spaces, scenarios and services have been designed to animate and revive the European Metropolis of Lille. 

I have selected 10 of these projects, all very different from each other in terms of their function and concerns, to highlight a wealth of production that leads us to reflect on the future of our cities. Objects, services and architecture are both the main subjects and actors. The designers and creators of each project are the supporting cast in the film, subtly shedding light on how to read the images. 


The film was supposed to be presented for the first time at Bazaar St-So, how does this location embody the film's message?

Bazaar St-So is an actor in the film in its own right, so it was important to me that the film was anchored in its location, thus offering a different perspective on how its spaces can be approached, observed and used. To pass through the space before seeing the film and then pass through it again after having seen it allows us to play a game with the spectator. The presentation of the film could work just as well in other spaces, such as La Maison des Femmes or the Couvent des Clarisses in Roubaix, or the Décathlon headquarters and the Ecole Nationale des Arts et Métiers in Lille.


How does this project align with the aims of France Design Week? 

Il est possible que ca fonctionne is a film that immerses itself in a variety of contexts. As design varies according to the requirements, it was necessary to understand it though a diversity of approaches and forms. The research carried out in Lille in 2020 when the city was designated World Design Capital seemed to me to be an ideal context for setting up a narrative system directly defined by the 10 projects, the actors in the film. Design, through its cinematographic representation, thus becomes a tool that can be understood by as many people as possible. The resulting emotions generate different perspectives on the diversity and richness of local and national expertise, also in relation to research elsewhere in the world. 


In the field of design, when does the conceptual override the visual? 

One cannot exist without the other. A concept, when it works, can be applied to any form, be it an object, a poster, a poem, a performance or a film. Design is a tool for creating interaction between people and objects, both functional and emotional. It is this emotional relationship that interests me, which I explore through the format itself, the editing or filming techniques, thus reflecting on the way designers construct their images. The film has gone through a conceptual process to become an object. The beauty of the concept also lies in its capacity to subsequently fail, and the film is based around this tension between potential success or failure.

Il est possible que ça fonctionne - Alexandre Humbert
Il est possible que ça fonctionne - Alexandre Humbert

A film written and directed by Alexandre Humbert

Produced by Institut Français and Lille Design Capital

Original composition : Arnaud Pujol

Production assistance : Mercedes Klausner

The Institut français and the artist

Alexandre Humbert's film Il est possible que ça fonctionne is presented by WaaoDesign for Change and the Bazaar St So In partnership with the Institut français. 

L'institut français, LAB