Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity: French Design from the 1940s to Today / The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity is the title of an exhibition at The Wolfsonian-FIU design museum in Miami Beach that has a look at French design from the 1940s to today. On display are furniture, industrial design, and craft by some of the most celebrated French designers. The show presents models, prototypes and mass-produced designs by Philippe Starck, Pierre Charpin, Laurent Massaloux, Jérôme Olivet, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Piere Paulin, Michel Ducaroy, Martin Szekely, Jean Royère, Serge Mouille, Jean Prouvé, and Roger Tallon, among others.

In this video, Marianne Lamonaca talks about how this exibition came about, the concept of the show, the collaboration between the curators, characteristics of French design, and the future of design. The video above is an excerpt. The video in full-length (11:56 min.) and more information are available after the break.

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity: French Design from the 1940s to Today / The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach. Interview with Marianne Lamonaca (Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and Education, The Wolfsonian-FIU). Miami Beach, December 2, 2011.

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Complete Interview (11:56 Min.):

The show borrows its title from the French national motto Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and investigates how French design embodies the ideas that have defined French public life. It explores French design and its relationship to national identity. For the exhibition design the curatorial team conceived a system of wood units that are painted in the colors of the French flag. They serve as stools, pedestals, and other display elements, and are based on Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier’s Modulor, a measuring system derived from the proportions of the human body.

The exhibition Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity is based on the design objects of the Centre national des arts plastiques in Paris. It has been realized in a collaboration between The Wolfsonian’s Marianne Lamonaca, and France-based design professionals Matali Crasset, M/M (Paris) (Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak), and Alexandra Midal.

Philippe Starck is one of the best-known French designers. In the 1990s, Starck as artistic director developed a series of consumer electronics prototypes for Tim Thom, the research and development department of the French electronics company Thomson. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity presents several prototypes of this Dream Products series, such as the Perso portable videophone or the Krazy Jacket personal stereo.

Another section is dedicated to the work of Roger Tallon (1929-2011), one of the most important French industrial designers. Tallon gave form to hundreds of products as diverse as silverware, chairs, typewriters, tv sets, watches, refrigerators, industrial robots, and trains. On display at The Wolfsonian are his TS folding chair (1967), the Pin Spot floor lamp (1972), and the Portavia P111 portable television (1963), among others.

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