06 June 2014
Welcome to a fortnight of playing catch-up: until 15th June, the 5.5 Studio of the Atelier Renault showcases its classic French icons, forever uniting design and tradition. Five pieces from the collection are up for sale…a (hardly) mandatory digression.
When the ultimate French car manufacturer asks a new French design team to reinterpret certain cult objects from France’s collection memory, the result is a collection that is…100% blue-white-and-red and verrrrrry funny.
To make an impact, Studio 5.5 stops at no cliché: turning the good old Duralex glass into a mini dome, creating Charentais racing car slippers that are available to purchase, transforming the unmistakable beret into a fashion minaudière…
A roaring success, but what is the intention behind it all? To spotlight French savoir-faire. For these self-proclaimed bargain-hunters of popular creations, the challenge was to reconcile once and for all the deeply rooted past and eternally shifting design. All this, whilst upholding one simple charter: to create every piece with expert and lawful care.
In summary, the Charentais slippers are fabricated as if produced in Charente, greatly respecting forgotten techniques. The pétanque boule, which leaves tread marks in its wake, is certainly the oldest work under the name ‘La Boule Bleue’ which has stuck. The beret-handbag was made by the Laulhère house, which has eternalized the tradition of this iconic hat, producing them for 170 years.
Now to the driving star of the exhibition – the VF 5.5 -, which is the mascot of this capsule collection, equipped with striped seat and cockade-like wheels. Made by Transformeurs & Partenaires. Studio 5.5 – formerly 5.5 Designers – are anything but learners, having enjoyed distorting ordinary objects from the word go. Their first big bang was the Reanim collection, the fruit of their work surrounding ‘The Medicine of Objects’. Fiercely opposed to wastage and in the midst of the ecological crisis, this collective demonstrated how to ‘heal’ lame ducks by giving them a new burst of life. A smash hit of bistrot chairs with plexiglass seats and fluorescent feet.
2010 was a year of recognition as the group was voted Designers of the Year in the NOW Salon of Maison & Objet. Since then, the incredible talent of these three musketeers has been widely recognised in the world of luxury – Veuve Cliquot, Baccarat, ACCOR – but it doesn’t stop there. Their pragmatic wisdom is never far away: after a Moulinex pressed juice, they sign onto universal smartphone giant, Mayamax.
‘So French by 5.5’ is showing until 15th June at the Atelier Renault, 53 avenue des Champs-Elysées 75008 Paris.