Design Diary

A personal review of design creations.

Révélations 2019: The World of Fine Craft in Paris

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Révélations is set to open from May 23rd until 26th at the Grand Palais in Paris. 450 artists from 30 countries will be showcased with new sections and Luxembourg as Guest of Honour.

The fourth edition of the international fine crafts and contemporary creation biennial Révélations is returning to Paris, hosting over 40,000 visitors with an even greater focus on showcasing its international dimension and cultural programme both inside the venue and out, Révélations 2019 is pushing its boundaries and aspirations a little further afield.

Nathalie Massenet Dollfus: 2 Butterflies, handblown glass © Nathalie Massenet Dollfus

Nathalie Massenet Dollfus: 2 Butterflies, handblown glass © Nathalie Massenet Dollfus

Révélations has been run by Ateliers d’Art de France since its inception in 2013, and is attended by an illustrious steadily-growing audience. The scenography by Adrien Gardère offers an equal staging to the 450 creators, removing any hierarchy or gimmicks allowing these exceptional works forge a strong connection between creator and visitor.

L. Andrighetto & J-C MIOT - BUOYS (glass & hemp)

L. Andrighetto & J-C MIOT - BUOYS (glass & hemp)

The Biennal welcomes 33 countries represented, doubling the total of the previous edition. Following on from Chile, Luxembourg is this year’s featured country: a combination of tradition and innovation, the Grand Duchy is home to a myriad of crafts and will be showcasing them in all their glory. The selection of 15 artists has been curated by Jean-Marc Dimanche and the staging is made by Gilles Gardula under the patronage of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Guillaume, the crown Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Princess Stéphanie, the crown Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

The artists are Ellen van der Woude (ceramic), Camille Jacobs (master stained glass), Jeitz & Calliste, Sarah Meyers & Laura Fügmann (textile and ceramic), Pascale Seil (master glass-blower), Doris Becker (ceramic), Marie-Isabelle Callier (encaustic painter), Tom Flick (sculpture), Sandy Kahlich (milliner), Ezri Kahn (artisan couturier), Carine Mertes (felt designer), Claude Schmitz (jewellery), Léa Schroeder and Marianne Steinmetzer (ceramic), and Kim-Jung Vu (jewellery).

Artists below are Wouter van der Vlugt & Roxanne Flick + Michael Nätscher.

As for the backbone of the event, the ‘Le Banquet' international exhibition will continue its world tour, inviting nine other countries (Thailand, Romania, India, Iran, Cameroon, South Africa, Spain, Chile, Luxembourg,  to stand alongside France and the featured country. In doing so, the biennial puts its international dimension firmly in the spotlight, supported even further by the number of European and international visitors in attendance. Here are some creations from:

South Africa: Artists featured below: Marisa Fick Jordan (Ukhamba Zulu basket; 2018; Telephone wire) & Chuma Maweni (Painted Ceramic; 2018)

Cameroon: Artists featured below: Beya Gille Gacha (Orant; 2017; pearls embellisched sculpture) & Edith Tialeu (Nubie: 2018; Ceramic)

Iran: Artists featured below: Kourosh Arish (Threshold; 2018; Ceramic, earthenware, alkaline glaze, hand painting) & Behzad Ajdari (Passing; 2018; Ceramic & metal)

India: Artists featured below: Om Prakash Galav (Kagzi pottery; 2018) & Prithviraj Singh Deo (Kangan; 2013; Ceramic)

Finally, the Norwegian designer, Hanne Friis created a piece that embodies the identity of Révélations 2019. ‘Nuances in Blue and Black’ (pictures courtesy of Oystein Thorvaldsen) is a huge sculpture made from blue and black jeans, and is the result of tremendous sewing effort transforming loose fabrics into a compact mass.

Hero picture: Somdulyawat Chalermkiat (Thailand) Bua; 2016; Metal flower pot

The ‘Ocean’ pendant light

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Taiwan is not only the world’s leader in plastic production, it embraces, supports and creates products from traditional crafts.

I like projects that support local craftsmanship and traditions. Here is Kamaro’an whose name originates from Pangcah, an indigenous language in Taiwan, meaning ‘the place to live’.

Launched during Taiwan Designers’Week in 2015, directed by Ben Chiu, Kamaro’an was awarded ‘Rising Asian Talent’ by Maison & Objet in 2017.

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The brand is inspired by Taiwanese indigenous culture, using natural materials and employing indigenous weavers. They devoted to provide culturally-related employments in Hualien to welcome youths to come home. Kamaro’an has also opened a space in the capital last year. Located in Huashan 1914 Creative Park, it showcases their creations with various materials such as banana fabrics, betel nut, driftwood and more.

The ‘Riyar’ pendant light (or ocean in the Pangcah language) is part of the Umbrella Sedge Series. The sedge takes 4 to 6 months to harvest and it grows in crystal-clear water. By separating the skin from the inner fibers, craftsman Sumi Dongi avoids mildew problems, and makes the mats more delicate in nature.

The next step is the weaving of the umbrella sedge on structural metal frames to create lightings with a contemporary shape. This enables the craft to produce in a small but scaled system.

Each Riyar pendant light looks unique in every angle. Dimensions: 58 x 58 x 60 (cm). 

Poème Brut - an Homage to Craft


Is there a renewed interest in craft? ‘Poème Brut’, the new exhibition opening this week at the Design Museum in Gent, answers with a clear and loud YES !

In recent years, designers focus has shifted to manufacturing processes and materiality as a counterpoint to globalisation and dematerialisation. A central theme in the exhibition is the outcome of this research into materials and techniques. Some designs use old, forgotten materials and new techniques or technology to process them, while others are the result of an old craft in combination with a new material. 


All the design objects are tactile, with a poetic undercurrent and a largely ‘rough’ and ‘unfinished’ design idiom. ‘Poème Brut’ zooms in on the designer as a maker, as an alchemist who is inspired by the special properties of matter and innovative ways for processing it, as well as its potential in a contemporary context.

The curators Siegrid Demyttenaere and atelier lachaert dhanis selected international iconic designers, as well as emerging young talent. The ensembles show surprising combinations, atypical confrontations and new insights.

Designers: Anne Marie Laureys Ceramics; Atelier NL; BELéN; Ben Storms; Bram Vanderbeke; Carlo Lorenzetti; David Huycke; Dirk Vander Kooij; DWA; Ferréol Babin; Formafantasma; Hans Henning Pedersen; Jólan van der Wiel; Jonathan Muecke; Kwangho Lee; Lisa Ertel; Matthias Kaiser; Max Lamb; MdSt; Michael Young; Nendo; Olivier van Herpt; Roxane Lahidji; Rudolf Bott; Sigve Knutson; Sophie Rowley; Studio Furthermore; Studio Mumbai; Studio Swine; Tamara Orjola; Thomas Ballouhey; Tom Price.

Pictures courtesy of Filip Dujardin.

Make Works - The UAE Chapter

Al Fakher pottery - Picture by Sami Sasso

Al Fakher pottery - Picture by Sami Sasso

Launched several years ago in the UK, Make Works (MW) is launched today by its official representative in the UAE, Tashkeel.

MW are factory finders, on a mission to make local manufacturing openly accessible. The platform allows designers and makers to find manufacturers, material suppliers and workshop facilities in their local area. Something of an open library for finding production. 

Al Ghadeer (Abu Dhabi) - Picture by Sami Sasso

Al Ghadeer (Abu Dhabi) - Picture by Sami Sasso

MW want to support small scale, local manufacturing, or distributed manufacturing, as an alternative to the consumption of mass manufactured products. 

The information they are gathering should be open and accessible, connecting people directly to making and repairing things, democratising access to production and investing in local economies and skill. 

How Make Works works

They realised that if it is easier to find and better to understand local manufacturers, people would start to make work with them. Make Works is an open access directory of fabricators, material suppliers, workshops and manufacturers. It is free to use, and free to be listed.