Cultural Exchange

A collaborative program called Oui Design sparks innovative work by American and French designers and manufacturers.


Last year, Oui Design launched with a lofty vision in mind: to unite the creative forces of France and the United States by selecting talented designers and manufacturers from both nations to collaborate on groundbreaking new projects. Created by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, in partnership with a network of American partners, this program enables design professionals from both nations to engage in an exciting foreign exchange with a shared mission: to explore new techniques, shift paradigms, and create original objects.

The program returns to New York Design Week this year with robust cultural programming, including workshops, talks, and exhibitions, which will now span an entire season, from April 25 to September 3, with a widened focus that includes other parts of the world. At WantedDesign Brooklyn, in addition to works by French-American teams of the Transatlantic Creative Exchange, Oui Design will showcase for the first time the works of Hors Pistes, a creative residency that combines the talents of European creatives with the artisans and craftspeople of Burkina Faso. The Noguchi Museum is also hosting “Solid Doubts,” an exhibition that juxtaposes the late modernist icon’s works with those of Paris-based Austrian designer Robert Stadler. As with its inaugural edition, Oui Design continues to push boundaries, both those between nations and those of the imagination.

Transatlantic Creative Exchange

The Transatlantic Creative Exchange takes a hands-on approach to creating inspired new work. The project features five French- American duos from various backgrounds, brought together on the basis of their mutual interest and desire to collaborate. “We paired designers, artisans, fabricators, and manufacturers from France and the U.S., all of whom were free to contribute their personal perspectives, interweaving their own experiences into expressions of sublime design. The result is an expression of human encounters, and that’s the beauty of it.” —Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, cofounders of WantedDesign

Pauline Deltour / Corning Museum of Glass

Paris-based product designer Pauline Deltour came to the Corning Museum of Glass and worked closely with hot-glass expert Chris Rochelle to develop decorative pieces with a distinct vertical texture. The two turned out to be a great match. “Pauline brought very specific computer drawings with her, complete with precise dimensions and shapes,” says Rochelle. “My style of work paired up nicely—I tend to be very technical in terms of measurements, and I try to make very precise, clean shapes and edges.”

La Manufacture Cogolin / Jason Miller

Historic French carpet weavers La Manufacture Cogolin and American designer Jason Miller have developed a series of graphic wool rugs inspired by Navajo blankets. “My hope was to find a way to make something that feels contemporary and handmade from machinery that uses technology from the nineteenth century,” Miller says. “The zigzagging lines of the designs highlight the couture artisanship and signature construction of the workshop,” says Cogolin director Sarah Henry.

DH McNabb / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès / Cristallerie Saint-Louis

DH McNabb was a guest artist at Cristallerie Saint-Louis, in Saint- Louis-lés-Bitche, France, where he was invited to conceive a new set of works at the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. The experience had a profound effect on the American designer, resulting in a suite of exquisite geometric objects and lighting fixtures. “They were conceived in homage to the rich culture and environment of making crystal in Saint-Louis,” he says. “It was an experience unlike any I have had in eighteen years of glassmaking.”

David Weeks / Ateliers Pinton

Before his residency at Les Ateliers Pinton, David Weeks was completely unfamiliar with tapestry-making. The historic French workshop, though, has been mastering this craft for 150 years. “After a one-week immersion, he understood the warps and wefts,” Pinton’s Laurence Abbasi says of Weeks. “We then forged a drawing David made specially for this project, an exciting exchange between this passioned creator, our highly skilled workers, and our master cartoonist.”

Constance Guisset / Uhuru

In their first experience collaborating with a transatlantic partner, Brooklyn based furniture maker Uhuru and French multidisciplinary designer Constance Guisset merged bold organic materials: wood and cast metal in a table design that conveys softness, harmony, and elegance. “The idea was to join our strengths—soft organic forms with Uhuru’s know-how in rough wood and metal techniques,” Guisset says.

Exhibitions and Events

Solid Doubts: Robert Stadler at The Noguchi Museum, curated by Dakin Hart in collaboration with Stadler
Through Sept. 3, 2017
The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard)
Long Island City, NY

Weight Class: Robert Stadler April 27-June 17, 2017
Carpenters Workshop Gallery 693 Fifth Avenue, New York

In Conversation: Robert Stadler May 1, 2017, 6-8 p.m. With Robert Stadler, designer; Dakin Hart, senior curator, The Noguchi Museum; Julien Lombrail and Loïc Le Gaillard, cofounders, Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Moderated by Sarah Medford
RSVP required: RobertStadler@ Hotel Americano 518 West 27th Street, New York

Waiting Room: Noguchi/Stadler, curated by Dakin Hart in collaboration with Robert Stadler May 2-7, 2017
Collective Design Skylight Clarkson Square
550 Washington Street, New York

Transatlantic Creative Exchange, curated by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, founders of WantedDesign May 17-23, 2017 WantedDesign Brooklyn Industry City
238 36th Street, Brooklyn

Hors Pistes, curated by designers Marie Douel and Amandine David May 17-23, 2017
WantedDesign Brooklyn Industry City
238 36th Street, Brooklyn

Art by Friends x Opinel May 17-23, 2017
WantedDesign Brooklyn Industry City
238 36th Street, Brooklyn

Diplorama#3 by ENSCI-Les Ateliers, graduate students’ thesis projects May 17-23, 2017
WantedDesign Brooklyn Industry City
238 36th Street, Brooklyn

Mos(KIT)o by ENSCI-Les Ateliers, “Design and biolog” research program, conducted by Guillian Graves May 17-23, 2017
WantedDesign Brooklyn Industry City
238 36th Street, Brooklyn

Design Schools Workshop: “HyperHybrid” / Participants: Pratt Institute, Art Center College of Design, ENSCI-Les Ateliers, Centro, Aalto University May 17-23, 2017
WantedDesign Brooklyn Industry City
238 36th Street, Brooklyn

French Pavilion Business France with Binome, Chevillotte, Cinier, Evolution, KLD Design, and Lafuma May 20-23, 2017 WantedDesign Manhattan Terminal Stores 269 11th Avenue, New York

French Pavilion, organized by L’Ameublement français (the French furniture industry association), with Ardamez, Atelier Alain Ellouz, Fermob, Lafuma, Moissonnier, Muquet, Objet de Curiosité, Petite Friture and Sifas May 21-24, 2017
ICFF, Javits Center, booths 1817-1915 655 West 34th Street, New York

See All of Our NYCxDesign 2017 Coverage

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