A SEASON OUT OF THE RESERVES
© Centre Pompidou, Direction de l’action éducative et des publics, mars 2010 (cartel image)
The French designer Patrick Jouin studied at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris, graduating in 1992. He began his career in Thomson Multimedia’s Tim Thom team. Directed by the designer Philippe Starck (born in 1949) from 1993 to 1997, Tim Thom made its mark on the history of French design, with its fresh approach to the aesthetics of electronic objects and its role in shaping the careers of such famous figures as matali crasset (born in 1965). He then continued his professional activities in the agency founded by Philippe Starck. In 1999, backed by that experience and motivated by the personal projects that were beginning to make his name, he created his own agency.
Patrick Jouin’s agency is characterised by the wide diversity of its design projects and its versatility. In addition to interior architecture − a prominent feature of his activities − he is involved with scenography, transport, and, of course, product design. As well as pieces of furniture, kitchen utensils and tableware, his product designs include electronic objects and communication devices, musical instruments and street furniture − for example, he designed the rental bike terminals in Paris.
Although artisanal skills and the notion of “craftsmanship” play important roles in Patrick Jouin’s work, his designs also make use of cutting-edge technology, drawing on the creative potential it offers. Perhaps the most significant example of this is the Solid series, developed in 2004. This furniture collection, which was created at the designer’s expense and produced by Materialise, resulted from his reappropriation of rapid prototyping techniques using stereolithography, commonly used to produce models.
The laser is used to create a three-dimensional object from a computer-generated image. This opens up a whole range of creative possibilities. Patrick Jouin uses it not only to make models, but also as a direct means of producing items of furniture, thereby freeing himself from the constraints of manufacturing processes. This system eliminates the need for machinery, moulds and assembly, the object being produced as a single piece from a vat of epoxy resin or polyamide powder, which the laser gradually solidifies, following the details obtained from the 3D model. These pieces are therefore monoblocs, which guarantees that they are resistant and cost-effective in terms of both material and means. Moreover, this method also allows designers a certain creative freedom, and stimulates their powers of invention.
The Solid series concluded with the ONE SHOT.MGX stool in 2006. Although this is a folding stool, and is therefore hinged, there is no assembling involved in its production, due to this use of rapid prototyping technology enhanced with design software, ensuring that the various elements (rods, hinges and feet) move easily and fluidly. A dozen stools may be made at the same time in a vat filled with polyamide powder, in just 53 hours.