Saint-Étienne design biennale 2019

Saint-Étienne Design Biennale 2019

“ME YOU NOUS” is the name of the 11th Design Biennale of Saint-Étienne in France. This year’s topic was about designing common ground. The biennale showcased the role of a more collaborative and inclusive design in this fast changing world.

“ME YOU NOUS” highlights

This year’s edition was curated by Lisa White. Through a total of seven exhibitions including her own “Carte blanche”, she composed a colourful and enthusiastic vision of the future, to showcase a more inclusive design. With China as guest country, the aim of this biennale was, above all, to explain design and its potential to a large and non-specialist public. Here are four highlights covering the different exhibitions of the show.

Exhibition “Systems not Stuff” by Lisa White

Exhibition “Systems not Stuff” by Lisa White

The role of colours

Colours were the visual signature of the biennale. Lisa White asked the artiste François Dumas to create a piece characterising this 11th edition. He chose to work with the ribbon company Neyret and to create a big and colourful ribbons installation called “Gateway to inclusion”. These ribbons were following the visitors all along the show, unfolding a specific colour palette created by Lisa White and her team. She also dedicated a whole part of her exhibition “Systems not stuff” to the evolution of colour systems in time and their increased importance now a days.

“Grow your own couture” by Piero D’Angelo

“Grow your own couture” by Piero D’Angelo

“Edwardes Chair” by Gavin Munroe from Full Grown Ltd.

“Edwardes Chair” by Gavin Munroe from Full Grown Ltd.

COLLABORATE WITH NATURE

The highlight was also put on the potential of a collaboration between design and biology. Lichen cloths, tree chairs and human gills were showing us how to create a symbiosis with natural systems to engineer a more sustainable future. The exhibition “Resurrecting the sublime” was paying a tribute to the Nature we have already destroyed displaying scents of extinct flowers.

«Stefania» garden

«Stefania» garden

«Stefania» city concept by ESADSE, photo by Olivier Lellouche

«Stefania» city concept by ESADSE, photo by Olivier Lellouche

CHINA

China was the guest country of the biennale. The students of the ESADSE, school part of the Cité du Design, put the spotlight on their collaboration with Chinese schools. They created from scratch a micro-city inside the show called “Stefania”. The city was mixing Chinese and European cultures in a humoristic and creative way evolving and interacting with visitors the time of the biennale.

Vaas by Roderick Vos & Oswin, Social Label

Vaas by Roderick Vos & Oswin, Social Label

«The negotiating table» exhibition, photo by S. Binoux

«The negotiating table» exhibition, photo by S. Binoux

ALL INCLUSIVE DESIGN

With “Inclusion” as the leading concept, the biennale was showcasing design projects which will make the world look more like everyone, and less like no-one. A “Negotiating table”, designed for the show, was also reflecting the absence of those who are not invited to defend their interests. In this world full of division and inequalities, collaboration is the key to a more successful future.

In the end the important topics remain the same but at the biennale they are tackled with positive energy, this way showing hope in what design can do for a more colourful, united and sustainable future. It is definitely worth visiting and you can also get a chance to discover an underestimated part of France.

The 11th edition of the Design Biennale will take place from the 21st of March until the 22nd of April 2019 at the Cité du Design in Saint Etienne. Known for its coal mining industry, the French city was established as “design capital” by UNESCO in 2010. More information on the Biennale can be found here.

Charline Ronzon-Jaricot visited the Design Biennale of Saint Etienne for Oltmans van Niekerk

Top image “Gateway to Inclusion” by François Dumas, photo by Jacob