Design Oracles

Design Oracles

A look at the collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques

“Design can be seen as an oracle that reveals our fate to us. It is lightweight for easy travel, plump so as to protect us, bourgeois to provide reassurance, intimate to better entice us. It is meditative to appease us, figurative to delight us, absurd to challenge us, natural so that we form attachments. It is virtual so as to transport us.”
Lidewij Edelkoort, curator of the exhibition

10 themes, 10 narratives to tell the story of these objects-oracles

Each story communicates a lifestyle
and a desire for self-expression :
Simple • Humble • Curious • Inflated • Abstract • Naïve • Nomadic • Mutant • Organic • Archaic

Our world is changing, our lifestyles are evolving, technology is disrupting our daily life. What could possibly embody the metamorphoses of our epoque better than contemporary design?

Behind a chair, a table or a vase, there always hides an object filled with stories and symbols. Some become oracles, messengers capable of shedding light on our moods and our relationship to the world.
What if we were to lend an ear to these messengers of a new genre?  “Ever since the dawn of time, people have been consulting oracles to make sense of the changes in their lives, to understand what is about to happen to them” says Lidewij Edelkoort. “And the CNAP’s design collection, because it brings together a great number of iconic works in the field of design, of objects that have achieved cult-like status, is perfectly able to play just such a role. The objects in the exhibit were born out of desire, progress or need. As such, they represent a small fragment of culture, part of an era.”

La Gaîté lyrique and the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) collaborate and invite Lidewij Edelkoort, trend forecaster, to take a unique and original look at the CNAP’s collection of design and decorative arts.

© Thirza Schaap

Lidewij Edelkoort

Lidewij Edelkoort is one of the world’s most renowned trend forecasters. Her predictions highlight concepts that will be essential in the coming years for industries as diverse as fashion and graphic design.

The former director of the Design Academy Eindhoven (1998-2008) and the founder of the School of Form in Poland (since 2011), she is a major influence in the design world. As a curator, Lidewij Edelkoort has designed exhibitions for international institutions., her online platform, invites audiences to discover how trends and lifestyles are constantly evolving.


A non-exhaustive list of designers in the exhibition :

5.5 Designers, Ron Arad, Maarten Baas, Erwan & Ronan BouroullecAndrea Branzi, Garouste & Bonetti, Konstantin Grcic, Richard HuttenHella Jongerius, Rei Kawakubo, Enzo Mari, Issey Miyake, Jasper Morrison, Scholten & Baijings, Wieki Somers, Robert Stadler, Philippe StarckStudio Job, Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders...

Centre national des arts plastiques 

The design collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques, one of the largest in Europe, reflects the diversity and transformation of the contemporary world. Lidewij Edelkoort’s prospective and eclectic approach is in keeping with the spirit of this collection, which reflects the attention devoted to the most contemporary forms of artistic expression over the past thirty years, be they French or international, in order to build the cultural heritage of tomorrow.

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