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Mobilier National / New Acquisitions 2022

A peak at the ingenious and upcycled designs now part of France's national furniture collection.

By Anna Sansom / 28th February 2022
Anne Xiradakis, 'Boucle' console, 2021 COURTESY: Anne Xiradakis / PHOTOGRAPH: © Sophie Larger

Anne Xiradakis, ‘Boucle’ console, 2021
COURTESY: Anne Xiradakis / PHOTOGRAPH: © Sophie Larger

UPCYCLED FURNITURE MADE from waste materials features among the new acquisitions to enter the Mobilier National, France’s furniture collection. A total of 53 works by 31 French designers have been acquired in a bid to support the design scene during the pandemic. “We realised that all the professional design fairs stopped during the health crisis and it seemed urgent to help young designers overcome this difficult period,” Hervé Lemoine, president of the Mobilier National, says.

Arnaud Lapierre, 'Cuts' side table, 2021 COURTESY: Arnaud Lapierre / PHOTOGRAPH: © Aybar Gallery

Arnaud Lapierre, ‘Cuts’ side table, 2021
COURTESY: Arnaud Lapierre / PHOTOGRAPH: © Aybar Gallery

The Mobilier National, which is part of the French culture ministry, had an acquisitions budget of €300,000, up from €250,000 in 2020. Following a call for applications last spring, around 300 applications were received and evaluated by a jury. “Our criteria were originality, technical aspects and eco-responsibility,” Lemoine says. “We wanted a large panorama of creation.”

Mobilier National new acquisitions 2021 COURTESY: Mobilier National / PHOTOGRAPH: © DA Spela Lenarcic / IIIRD MAN

Mobilier National new acquisitions 2021
COURTESY: Mobilier National / PHOTOGRAPH: © DA Spela Lenarcic / IIIRD MAN

Several of the acquisitions – soon to furnish embassies and ministerial buildings – have been made through upcycling. Arnaud Lapierre used household waste such as yoghurt pots to make the marble-like side-tables from his ‘Cuts’ series. Mr. & Mr. (Alexis Lautier and Pierre Talagrand) layered bubble wrap, metal and blue velvet to make the ‘Millefeuille’ bench.

Mr & Mr, 'Millefeuille' bench, 2021 COURTESY: Mr & Mr

Mr & Mr, ‘Millefeuille’ bench, 2021
COURTESY: Mr & Mr

Meanwhile, Anne Xiradakis fashioned throw-away decoration paper into the ‘Boucle’ console and Atelier Emmaüs, the studio of a French charity, upcycled school desks into cabinets.

Also among the highlights is the striking ‘Diplopoda’ buffet by Appartement2, founded in 2016 by Caroline Grondin and Guillaume Avarguez on La Réunion island, a French overseas department in the Indian Ocean. The duo drew inspiration, curiously enough, from the elongated silhouette of an insect to create the black curved-edge buffet with white crossings and lines serving as doorknobs.

Appartement2, 'Diplopoda' buffet, 2021 COURTESY: Appartement2

Appartement2, ‘Diplopoda’ buffet, 2021
COURTESY: Appartement2

Other pieces reveal how young designers are revisiting French savoir-faire. Dimitry Hlinka reunited three materials – copper, walnut and granite – from a mountainous region in central France to make the ‘Sidobre’ desk, while Clémentine Chambon collaborated with Adeline Sapin, artistic director of Solstiss lace in Caudry, northern France, to conceive the ultra-light ‘Doll’ table lamp.

Clémentine Chambon, 'Doll' lamp, 2021 COURTESY: Clémentine Chambon / PHOTOGRAPH: © Christel Sasso

Clémentine Chambon, ‘Doll’ lamp, 2021
COURTESY: Clémentine Chambon / PHOTOGRAPH: © Christel Sasso

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Article by Anna Sansom
Article by Anna Sansom
Anna Sansom is a British journalist, based in Paris, who writes about contemporary art, design and architecture. View all articles by Anna Sansom