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“Being a good interior designer is a matter of context”

This year, Intramuros joined forces with the Camondo School for an unprecedented collaboration: giving the opportunity to selected students to work on projects which will be published. For this phase 3, the young graduates chosen by Sunbrella, Lafuma Mobilier and Moore Design received the brief from their sponsors and are in the realization phase. Progress report with René-Jacques Mayer director of the Camondo School, while waiting to find the full article in the next issue of Intramuros (out December 22).

How did this end of diplomas go in the very specific conditions that we live in?

René-Jacques Mayer : Being a good interior designer is a matter of context. That of the design, production and invention of the diplomas for this class of 2020 has been profoundly changed. To do without would have been so contrary to the principle so stated during their five years of study of doing with the existing to better transform it that we have chosen, collectively, to go to the end of this logic of distance. Project management, defense and exhibition of diplomas have collectively moved into the virtual space.

Beyond the constraint imposed on all, it was a daring educational choice, particularly in a school of creation, where materiality, collective exchange, the emergence of an idea through a simple glance or a gesture, constitute the palette of possible expressions of what they are. Accompanied by their directors and diploma directors, our students were however often alone in front of imaginary horizons which produced beautiful free escapes. The conceptual strength and the deepening of a committed narrative deeply mark the work of these young graduates who collectively form an exceptional class.

For them, we have created a digital exhibition platform for their work: Designed as a real alumni network, this platform allows you to discover in three stages (an imposed subject, a thesis, a free subject) and in a lasting way the singular identity of each of the 60 students who make up this 2020 promotion, Cynthia promotion Fleury. It is a tremendous milestone for their career which reveals the great diversity of the approaches they may have of their future profession and the societal issues that drive them.

René Jacques Mayer directeur de l'école Camondo © DR

How were the auditions organized with the teams from Lafuma Mobilier, Moore Design and Sunbrella?

R.-JM : Still in the context of confinement, the meetings took place remotely in the form of videoconferences. From the summer, when they were invited and because it was possible, the winners went to the brands’ production sites to discover their know-how and their production tools. Since the start of the school year, discussions have continued and great projects are taking shape. We are all eager to learn more.


A striking feature for each of the three diploma projects selected?

R.-JM: I would say that, like the values carried by the Camondo School, they respond to important issues such as sustainable development, social and sharing values, a creative and original research process.
Thomas Carlier’s project, Duo, is a set of experiments around biofabrication highlighting the collaboration between the designer and the living organism. The results of these experiments allow him to develop a range of salt and mycelium furniture. Working on biomaterials for a designer means offering an alternative to non-renewable resources. And this is rather good news since they aim to leave a minimal ecological footprint and sometimes benefit from properties that are at the very least astonishing.
Zeina Sleiman’s project proposes to integrate sensoriality into our everyday furniture. The intention of the project is to design a range that combines both aspects: formal and sensory. Finally, that of Juliette Drgez, in a movement of deceleration of material production, delivers a collection of mental objects, which will never exist and which are not made to exist. They are only there to open our imaginations, to question us, and so that the frustration of not being able to acquire them is replaced by the beauty of having them in a corner of his memory.

What does it mean for the Camondo School to be a partner in this competition with Intramuros?

R.-JM: After the time for free and creative learning, being able to work directly with partner companies is a tremendous opportunity for young graduates. Promoting and supporting the work of young interior designers through a major media specialist in design is a strong signal of the porosity and complementarity of these two disciplines. Doing it as if they were a collective also sends a strong address to the vast community of applied arts students so that they work together, beyond the individual valuation of each person’s career. A partnership and three strong signals, therefore.