From the sixties until quite recently, design was
regarded as a dirty word among communities of
artisans – nowhere more so than in France, which is
currently hosting the exhibition Design Contre Design
at Paris's Grand Palais. Blame has been laid upon
contemporary designers, as artisans fear that
craftsmanship has come to play second fiddle next to
the hype that fuels today's design industry.
Household furniture and objects, from the Industrial
Revolution to the present, are juxtaposed and create
striking parallels, sparking dialogue. Through the
pieces shown, the visitor uncovers formal
comparisons; straight lines and geometry; curves and
biomorphism; as well as extreme experimentation,
which makes for interesting discussions.
The influence of context on industrial design also
comes under discussion as the show's curators
question how much surrounding influences, such as
nature and humans, dictate the form and the revival
of design from found objects. Architectural influence
comes into question, as well, from Piero Fornasetti's
Trumeau cabinets of the 1950s to the present with
the Bouroullec brothers' Lit Clos and Zaha Hadid's
Iceberg bench.