François Azambourg, Légèretés Manifestes (Manifest Lightnesses) - MAD Paris, 2023

19 April 2023

  • Linen
  • Tech

The designer François Azambourg experiments with new ways of shaping materials and seeks to bring together craft and industry in his creations. As much an inventor as a poet, MAD Paris has highlighted the designer's personality in the Légèretés Manifestes (Manifest Lightnesses) exhibition.

A leading figure in French design, François Azambourg has been making a name for himself in the field since the 1980s. When he is not questioning traditional manufacturing processes, he is striving to subtract the material. 

From the 9th of march to the 2nd  of july 2023, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD Paris) presented the Légèretés manifestes exhibition, highlighting some of François Azambourg's work. This monograph was staged using an eco-responsible, low-environmental-cost scenography that made it possible to upcycle materials in situ. As the works unfolded before visitors' eyes, François Azambourg's various projects and creations revealed an extraordinary creative fibre.

Recognised as one of the great names in French design, François Azambourg is as much an inventor as he is a poet. His work emanates simplicity and an obvious joie de vivre, but there is also a rigour and a certain determination that contribute to making his creations a world apart. The designer's creations wouldn't be so light-hearted if he didn't refer so much to his childhood. He returns to them again and again, building imaginary worlds explored through his youthful passions such as music and aviation. François Azambourg is a designer who acts with truth. His design questions and challenges. 

The "Légèretés manifestes" exhibition showcased almost 200 pieces, including furniture, lighting and vases - objects from the designer's own studio, as well as from the collections of the museum, the Centre Pompidou, Le Cap, publishing houses and private collections. All invited visitors to enter the creative world of François Azambourg. Thematically, the exhibition explored the very essence of the designer's work, from the origins of his creations, through plastic expression, to industrial production.

The Lin 94 chair in the Légèretés manifestes exhibition

In the MAD album 05, published as part of the exhibition, the designer describes the process of creating this composite linen chair:

"A car equipment manufacturer, Design Composite Solution (DCS), called me one day to ask me to design a collection of furniture in Kevlar/carbon. It seemed more urgent to me to invent a plant-based composite. I explained my point of view to DCS, who agreed. But which plant to choose? After a fortnight's consideration, we opted for linen, a long-lasting, light, resistant and locally produced fibre. For the resin, we took advantage of the plant-based resins recently available on the market. Unfortunately, only the catalyst for the resin remained petroleum-based, limiting us in our quest for an all-plant composite. We ended up with a chair moulded in flax, 94% plant-based, which gave it its name and gives an indication of the virtuous path we still have to take towards 100% ecological design."

Since the beginning of his career, the designer has been concerned with nature and aware of environmental issues, and has continually sought to achieve lightness - a concept he has been working on for over thirty years - while at the same time working on the notions of economy of means and sobriety. Through his projects, waste no longer exists; each element has its virtues, none is a reject. He allows us to see beyond the work, to the point of making the very structure of the object legible. As a designer of transparency, he hides nothing. Everything is said. Everything is shown.

Légèretés manifestes exhibition, François Azambourg designer, Musée des Arts décoratifs - MAD Paris, 2023.
Loan of the Lin 94 chair and the Linen Matrix model by the Alliance.
Exhibition curator: Chloé Pitiot, curator in the modern and contemporary department, assisted by Louise Curtis and Joffrey Picq.

*François Azambourg was born in 1963. After studying at the École régionale des beaux-arts in Caen, he went on to enrol at the École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués et des métiers d'art - Ensaama. He went on to set up his own design studio in Paris, and has since collaborated extensively with the CIAV (Centre International d'Art Verrier). 
François Azambourg won the Musée des Arts Décoratifs competition in 1985, the Fondation de France in 1988, the Fondation de la Vocation in 1993, the Villa Médicis hors les murs in 2003, the Grand Prix du Design de la Ville de Paris in 2004 and the Villa Kujoyama in 2015.
His work can be found in the public collections of prestigious institutions.
The designer also works with Hermès, Ligne Roset, Manufacture de Sèvres, Louis Vuitton, Cappellini, Poltrona Frau and Galerie Kreo.

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