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hlow https://hlow.paris Surroundings are central Fri, 07 Jun 2019 12:56:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.18 https://hlow.paris/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cropped-petitlogo2-32x32.jpg hlow https://hlow.paris 32 32 Anniina Koivu, about the Process of Making https://hlow.paris/anniina-koivu-about-the-process-of-making Sat, 01 Jun 2019 15:39:41 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1762 The post Anniina Koivu, about the Process of Making appeared first on hlow.



Anniina Koivu works both in Lausanne and Milan: in Lausanne at ECAL / the University of Art & Design as the Head of Master Theory, and then as a freelance writer (she was one of the coautors of the first monograph on the complete works of design studio Industrial Facility, for Phaidon), curator and consultant with international clients, designers and brands. She is also one of the three curators of the Fiskars Village Biennale that has just started in Southern Finland. Anniina, you do so many things, could you tell us a bit about yourself, I mean your story and how did you decide to become a design curator?

What is great about this diversity of projects is that I get the chance to see today’s design industry from different sides: inside the university I am discussing with future designers about ideas and preparing them for the design world, with the manufacturers we develop new projects and publishing gives the space for reflecting on design’s bigger picture. It is holistic.

How I got here is a chain of events and lucky coincidences.

I lived my first six years in Finland until my family moved to Germany. Later on, I came back to Helsinki for my studies. I wanted to study something design-related, but was uncertain whether it should be product, graphic design or architecture. Finally, I opted for architecture at the Aalto University, thanks to what my grandfather used to say, “Start big, you’ll be able to downsize but the other way will be more difficult.”

And as it happens, today I have downsized to the immaterial. I don’t create anything myself, but show, write and talk about others’ work.

From Helsinki I went for my final year to Venice and things took a new turn. After graduating I was offered a job in Milan as the Design Editor of Abitare magazine by Stefano Boeri, who had just taken over the direction of the magazine. In those years, 2007–2011, Abitare had a real momentum: we were reintroducing criticism into design journalism, experimenting with all kinds of different new formats. For example, we had new products by emerging designers reviewed by their design heroes in the SOS Design series, or we put design objects on public trial in The Design Trial series, where we invited experts and makers to discuss their own products critically and in public.

Then, in 2011, I got a job offer from Vitra to become the company’s Director of Research. So, that was the introduction onto the other side of the industry, which was a fantastic learning ground.

Many different kinds of projects have followed ever since. Books and essays, and a series of exhibitions, the latest ones being U-JOINTS or FACTORY.

What is your link to this place and venue of Fiskars Village Biennale? What is the link between past and present there?

The FACTORY exhibition for the Fiskars Village Biennale is the first project I’m doing in Finland, so for me personally it’s very exciting.

Founded in the 17th century, as Finland’s first manufacture of cast iron and forged products, the village of Fiskars and its history go back a long time. Today, Fiskars deserves attention more than ever.

The village is most known for the orange scissors, but still only few know about the story behind its art and design culture. When the last factories were closed down in the 1980s, the village was about to die out. In order to bring people back to the village, artists and craftsmen were given privileged access to ateliers and workshop spaces. Some of the original settlers, such as Karin Widnäs and Kari Virtanen, still live and work in Fiskars.

The new residents founded the Cooperative of Artisans, Designers and Artists (ONOMA)which today has about 120 members and the situation in the village has been reversed, so that there is now a waiting list to become a member and to find work and living space. The village was brought back to life through craftsmanship and art! This is not only a fascinating story, but also an example how other international realities and design districts could be revitalized. Of course, similar stories are already happening too. For example, the Arita area, which is the birthplace of Japanese porcelain, is being reinvigorated through international collaborations, such as the Arita 2016/ project. Or, on the other side of the globe, on the island of Fogo in Newfoundland, Canada, local furniture production is part of a project to bring sustainable life to a population whose livelihood in the fishing industry has been threatened. We also tell these stories in FACTORY.

Arita collection by Studio Wieki Somers

Arita collection by Ingegerd Råman

Arita collection by Jewellery designer Saskia Diez

Arita collection by Scholten & Baijings

Stool by Glass Hill (Markus Bergström & Joe Nunn) and Armchair by Ineke Hans for the Shorefast Foundation in Fogo

The Economic Nutrition label was invented by Fogo-based foundation Shorefast, who is behind all the great work on the island, including the woodshop

Back to Fiskars, I think it is very important to be aware of the current as well as future steps. On one hand it is fantastic to see the attention that Fiskars is getting since tourism accelerates local life and indirectly also production. On the other side, one needs to remain determined not to give in to new market demands. The danger of producing basic souvenirs for the in-coming crowds can be tempting, but it should not happen at the cost of excellent quality work.

To your point of view, why is your exhibition, « Factory », separated from the exhibition called «Design» (curated by one of the most important living designers Jasper Morrison)? What kind of principle does it underline? Local manufacturing? Including the process of making within the creation of the object? 

The Biennale’s distinction between “Art”, “Design” and “Crafts” was more a way to distinguish between three different projects and three different curators. Nevertheless, the idea to focus on crafts and the making of things makes much sense for the FACTORY exhibition. It both relates to Fiskars’ past and present as well as the international design scene. So, our idea is to invite people to step into a factory and see how objects are made and to show them the diversity of design manufacturing. Many people think of factories as dusty and noisy spaces, but not many know that there are all different kinds of factories. There are workshops, large plants but also more silent ones, and some even resemble laboratories. On the other hand, a craftsman’s workshop is often related to a rather romantic image, one who also fights the factory. In this scenario, it is the craftsmen who are the first to experiment with new tools and apply new technologies. After all, progress is about maintaining and improving the quality of work. The show also tries to reset some of the controversial discussion of “man versus machine”. Today, we are beyond such a simple polarization.

What is your point of view on industry in general? Is there a clear distinction between industry and crafts?

First, a quote by sociologist Richard Sennett comes into mind. In The Craftsman, he redefines the intellectual framework of craftsmanship and writes how it “may suggest a way of life that waned with the advent of industrial society, but this is misleading. Craftsmanship names an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake.” So, craftsmanship speaks, first and foremost, to a desire for quality. It is a way of making things that is based on dedication, and thrives on a sense of pride in one’s own work. Craftsmanship is an attitude. I like to believe this exhibition is a good reminder what it actually takes to make things – the multiple ways, processes, places and people that are involved on the way and how quality is reached thanks to excellent craftsmanship.

Could you tell us a bit about the exhibited projects and the story behind this selection.

The exhibition showcases 45 different stories. These are the stories of 45 selected projects, each of which speak of the people who created them, the objects’ places of origin and just how many different ways there are of making things. The starting point is the factory, the place where design is being made. A factory is a place to create: typically, a workshop or large-scale plant, today’s design production can also be found in high-tech laboratories, bio-reactors or even outdoors, at the beach. Factories are as diverse as the roles that go into production. Here, craftsman, designer and producer are in constant dialogue. Sometimes their roles intertwine, overlap or even merge. There are tinkerers and makers, explorers and inventors, scientists and story-tellers, rationalists and functionalists. A factory combines history with progress. A guardian of memory and heritage, it is a place that preserves traditional manufacturing processes. But a factory is never stagnant. It is constantly evolving. An historical manufacturer reinvents itself as research center, and becomes a place of experimentation. A traditional carpentry workshop takes advantage of the most diverse modern tools. New technologies are not a threat to the craftsman’s livelihood. Rather, they are welcome tools for the craftsman who is constantly trying to improve his work. So, more precisely, we have examples of the work of Hella Jongerius, who often highlights how crafts and technology are both integral parts in design production. There are projects by the Self Assembly Lab of MIT, the ETH Zurich and the Korvaa research group, which all show how 3D printing and experimentation with new materials can generate new production methods and even open new kinds of production sites, such as laboratories or bio-reactors.

Then there are examples of more traditional design making, which are being preserved thanks to high-end luxury brands. But we also have those stories without a happy ending, such as the one told by design duo Com-pa-ny, in which a traditional leather maker goes out of business, cast out by its former client. It is a reminder to be on your toes about innovations and progress. To dodge extinction, makers from the Tajimi Custom Tiles project in Japan, enlarge their area of work from mainly architectural restauration to the manufacturer of new product lines.

Of course, the exhibition is rich in wood-making, being also an important area of production in Fiskars. Here we show the works of local cabinet makers such as Heikki Aska, who challenges lightness in wooden furniture. Kari Virtanen illustrates how a clever wooden joint can be the defining detail to move a table prototype into successful serialized production.

Industrial Facility for Mattiazzi and Kaksikko studio for Nikari created two projects that illustrate how different production techniques, ranging from handwork, machine work to latest CNC-milling, are all important parts in the making of a chair.

Another local cabinetmaker, Minja Kolehmainen, broke open the different steps in the making of a stool, indicating the time spent along the way to explain why a craftsman’s furniture piece has its costs – and value. Ironically, her project is called “I’m not a factory.”

To visit Fiskar’s biennale, check its website, and its accomodation page. Thank you very much Anniina.

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Superpoly: Finding the twist that transforms ugliness into beauty https://hlow.paris/superpoly-finding-the-twist-that-transforms-ugliness-into-beauty Thu, 09 May 2019 17:09:21 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1678 The post Superpoly: Finding the twist that transforms ugliness into beauty appeared first on hlow.


Courtesy Margaux Salarino

I met Superpoly, a duo of all-round designers who are renewing the genre of interior design, a duo of southerners (ie : South of France), who retain from their Var coast, images of the sea and colours made vivid by the sun, rather than the accent of the South. We were in a cafe in Paris on a Friday. The conversation started quickly, faster than the installation of my recorder, and crystallised on the fact that there is now a space in France for creators who do not create smooth things.

Antoine Grulier: At this moment there is a place for grabs for artists and designers, even for galleries, there’s no gallery in Paris which exhibits such things.

Thomas Defour: There really is a place for grabs in what you call  “Dirty Design*”. This expression is interesting but when we started… Antoine was very artistic, but could work with very poor materials while I had a more let’s say “straight” design training. And by mixing these two things, we really saw something really hyper positive: we could create with anything and everything and bring together a whole load of influences that were unique to us, that come from both contemporary art and what’s happening in a scene …

AG: contemporary art AND design in fact. We like music, architecture, we like fashion. We feel comfortable in all those places …

TD: it’s juggling all these influences. But also the South of France. We also have this thing about recycling materials.

Courtesy Etage Projects

Your image, really is that of Southern designers. You gave me appointment in Paris. I was surprised I was preparing a trip to Hyères for the next Design Parade, I wrote you in this context and I thought I would see you there. But where are you from? What has your path been so far?

AG: We simply happen to be living and working in Paris right now. But we are both from Hyeres.

TD: We’re really children of the Villa Noailles, it’s our artistic culture. The first things we did together were in my garden.

How old were you?

TD: It was in 2015.

AG: 23, 24 years old.

TD: The idea was just to have fun and create a bridge between our two ways of working; to use materials, to work with them in an artistic way, with paint and that sort of thing. Then there was the Toulon Design Parade. This was the first time that the city had proposed a festival of interior architecture. At first, we thought that we were not made for this discipline but…

AG: We were quickly at our ease.

TD: We really saw the way to fully express our culture, this way of mixing design and colour.

It’s interesting that you started with interior architecture, which is a discipline that is, let’s  say, less free in France than elsewhere. And you’ve made a work of art out of it…

TD: We tried. We were not into the technicality of architecture, the technicality of someone trained in this field. We saw it as an installation. The Villa Noailles allowed for this freedom. There was also a supplier who helped us by providing us with tiles… these were things we never thought we would be working with. Looking through catalogues etc… But there are so many things you can do in this field …

AG: There is also a curatorial work. You see, for instance, we talked about tiles. It’s not just the choice of tiling, it’s the mix of colours and shapes which hook up in a certain vision.

TD: We also created a water mains inlet… so it was pretty technical in the end.

Courtesy Lothaire Hucky

It’s not just tiling, you alluded to a swimming pool, what memories did this bring to mind …

AG: It’s pretty funny because people often talk about this project, saying that it looks like a disused pool but in fact it was something completely different. We are used to go to a beach called Polynesia, in Hyères, in fact it is a beach with big rocks where the residents built concrete slabs to enable them to use those rocks as a beach.

TD: They built it right on the sea, it’s pretty awesome!

AG: With ladders going into the sea, proper swimming pool ladders.

TD: So we wanted to build a kind of transition space, to bring a wild space into an already installed interior. We made ceramic rocks and put tiles everywhere that allowed it to be watertight. Water is not an enemy in this room. We put a hose in the middle and some green plants. The idea was really to enable playfulness in this room.

AG: To be able to play, but essentially to be free. We wanted the freedom to say: we can sleep on the ground, we can sleep upstairs…

TD: Ladders, hammocks …

AG: You do not have to take off your shoes.

TD: Sand from the beach gets everywhere, but here it’s not a problem. It’s the way we live in the summer, we spend our time in the sea, in a swimsuit, not thinking about anything. We do not want to do housework and clean up all summer. Everything is much less complicated. You simply wash your feet in the middle of the room and water the plant. And the dampness remains in the room as a cooling ally for your sleep in the hammock. We were often told that it was a bathroom, but although we brought a lot of bathroom items into this room, it’s not a bathroom, but a play room.

Courtesy Lothaire Hucky

A room for everything, a room for whatever: anything’s cool.

AG: Yes, that’s it. People think it’s a bathroom, whereas I think it’s a bedroom. And maybe my grandmother will come and say it’s a kitchen. It’s also interesting that people imagine the spaces they want.

So what’s your thing about rooms? You made several while playing with the very stereotype of the room. You made a room for the hotel La Reine Jane, you made a room for the Moulin des Ribes (the project s called 5 Rooms)…

AG: It’s not really a hotel room, it’s a room for someone.

TD: It’s an artist’s residence. The festival, Design Parade, opened this door and gave ideas to other people… to agree to give us total freedom and leave us “carte blanche” for a particular space. The story of the Reine Jane hotel is one of a businessman searching for a strong concept for his hotel. He decided to have each room created by a different designer. It is the Villa Noailles who helped with the curating. There are many artists who come from Villa Noailles who participated in this. There are some super signatures. We really wanted to be part of this project when we saw that it was being realised.

AG: It’s also a building we’ve known for quite some time. It has a story, what with Godard filming Pierrot le Fou there, etc.

Courtesy La Reine Jane

The Villa Noailles is really more than a simple exhibition space, it really helps designers like yourselves, all along the process. In my opinion, your room is one of the most successful rooms…

TD: We spent a lot of time in this room, we were probably the ones who had the most time. We simply were there. We were the youngsters of the project, so we really concentrated on it.

AG: We destroyed part of the walls ourselves…

It seems that everyone did not perceive the exercise in the same way.

TD: The instructions could be read differently by established designers. Inga Sampe has an already huge catalogue of objects, so for her, it was perhaps more about the selection and the enhancement of things which were already created. Her universe is already present in her objects.

But apart from you, it was only object designers, right?

AG: Yes there was us, and Valentina Cameranesi.

Courtesy La Reine Jane

We also love the room of the OddMatter, with their cork material.

Courtesy La Reine Jane

They are part of this generation, which is not (or not much) represented in France and which is a little “Dirty* /Cool”.

TD: We thought the project was great because it was the first time we created something that lasted because … what we did for the Design Parade was destroyed after 6 months.

AG: Even earlier. But it was very good because it was very dense for us.

TD: I was still a student at that time.

AG: To get back to La Reine Jane, we knew exactly what we wanted …

Courtesy Lothaire Hucky

Weren’t there any decisions made on the spot, spontaneously?

TD: There were, some of the things were already planned, and some weren’t. We decided to work on small elements, we did this in collaboration with Salernes. It is a city in the Haut-Var that makes Provencal ceramics. This town was largely maintained by second homes in the area, especially in the 1990s. It was THE village for materials. Now people are going to big cities, to showrooms, or have their selection made by architects. So we decided to work with Salernes, to stay local and support this “savoir-faire”, and we made a fresco in painted tiles. Our idea was Atlantis, where everything was enshrouded by the sea, all the volumes were a little eaten-up, nothing really remained apart from the ceramics. This is something that we still see quite often on the coast, these faïences that are half-buried…

AG: In Hyères, there is this archaeological site called Olbia, which is partly submerged by the sea with treasures that could be summed up as small walls and terracotta. We wanted this kind of feel, like a promise that these sites tend to give off.

For 5 Rooms, you also use a special technique for the walls, which creates depth?

AG: It’s stucco, it’s lime with marble dust.

TD: Antoine’s first drawing was of layers of paint upon layers of paint scratched out a little with a knife. We tried to achieve the same result with stucco. It is a material that is layered…

AG: it works by transparency. That’s what they used in the Italian-style palaces. This is a historic technique of the most beautiful palaces in the world.

Courtesy Giulio Boem

On your website, your images seem to have a specific lexicon of characters with a starfish always as the hero…

AG: Yes it’s like we have our own cartoon. We have our mascot.

TD: It has become a kind of logo, and we like to play with our image as if it was a brand of swimwear from the 1980s . It has that…

AG: solar and at the same time obsolete look…

TD: yes, but also regressive. We found that French design is something very serious, we did not want to go in that direction.

AG: …it’s all the codes of a brand, we have a brand name, a logo.

TD: …for the website, we thought we were going to do some kind of virtual tour of the superpoly house.

AG: Every time people go on the site, they will discover a new thing. It is this what is interesting : you have to really want something to be able to find it.

There’s something “pretty/ugly” that I love.

AG: It’s what our work is all about !

TD: Maybe this is the new French scene – the “beautiful ugliness”. It is true that there is this “entre-deux” of good and bad taste which is a delicate balance with which one tries to progress. We’re trying right now to see how to apply our universe to artistic direction.

I noticed that you Antoine, you worked with Sébastien Tellier.

AG: Yes, I’m also set designing for fashion.

Sebastien Tellier is someone who’s had a great career but you have this in common: he also played on this fringe between beauty and ugliness.

TD: Yes, that’s one of our great inspirations. He explores kitsch, hyper rococo influences, absurd things. But he brings a certain modernity, a twist to them that we always try to find.

AG: It’s risky.

TD: When we think of some of the 1980s designs, there is a whole load that has fallen into oblivion because it is said to be in bad taste. There are a lot of really interesting things to get from there.

AG: Even more so today when there is a globalisation of design. It is a way out of standardisation.

I remember when I was working for an international design gallery called kreo, which showed only the very best of global design, one of their exhibitions that really impressed me was a mini-show curated by Nicolas Trembley called Sgrafo vs Fat Lava.These are ceramics from West Germany during the post-war years. Fat Lava is a ceramic technique that explodes during cooking, while the Sgrafo is rough, usually white. Basically the forms are very free and Nicolas Trembley spoke of “pre-design”. He said that his father collected Japanese ceramics, that were immediately sublime, and that he had the need to go to something less immediate.

AG: Our ceramics are Vallauris. There are some very beautiful and some very ugly ones, but what is nice is that after the passage of Picasso, local ceramists allowed themselves to be free.

TD: It’s a popular art that’s really inspiring. It’s hyper punk in a way to come into a gallery and to show a fish, like thousands of people did in Vallauris.

You’re having fun when you create such objects?

AG: It often comes from a joke, yes. But it’s our job too, so even if it’s sometimes a big mess, we need to have control.

TD: The beginning may be funny, but as we want to achieve a precise image, it is inevitably less funny in the rest of the process. We work on things in a photographical way. There must be a balance.

AG: It is perhaps that what differentiates us from the amateur ceramists of Vallauris: making decisions and classifying them.

TD: We did it consciously when we started working with Etage Projects in Copenhagen. We had never done gallery design before. The universes we created were ones in which each object instinctively responded to a functional or aesthetic need of the final picture. There we had to think each object a little out of context.

AG: As a retrospective…

TD: we distanced ourselves a little from our work in order to recover something from each project. Before that, we saw each project as very different, if only in colours …

Courtesy Margaux Salarino

Courtesy Etage Projects

I think there is still a common thread going through all your projects. The tubular furniture is almost always the same colour (light turquoise/minty water) and we find this colour in touches in all your projects, right?

TD: Yes, but it’s not just that. It’s also removing an element that would become too obvious a signature. It’s creating small challenges.

How was the link made between Hyères and Copenhagen?

TD: We knew Sabine Marcelis who introduced us to this gallery. The name of the exhibition was “Postcard” because it’s like sending a three-dimensional postcard from the South of France. It was furniture – chests. Only boxes …

AG: As if we were sending a box of what the South of France is like – something very happy, to Copenhagen. Scandinavians also have a very beautiful furniture culture but it’s very straight, elegant and precise. “Etage Projects” shows designers from all walks of life that contrast with all this Scandinavian furniture culture. That’s why it’s pretty cool to have been part of this great selection.

Sources of inspiration?

TD: This culture of popular objects. These artists who have worked at the border of art and object, like Franz West, and this studio approach – it’s pretty straightforward in the way it’s produced.

AG: Support Surface, especially Claude Viallat. It’s a little like French Arte Povera.

TD: The materials he chose were blinds from Provence, fishing nets, for us it is really a current of the South. We like his way of assembling materials and colours.

Another one is Gaetano Peasce (great designer of objects – I put a photo of one of his rare projects of interior designer).

AG: In fashion, we are also fascinated by Margiela’s work. In music, I would like to talk about Bashung, both of us like his music, but it’s mostly his approach that I find interesting: his only rule when he rewrote an album was to go 180 degrees from what he had done previously. To do what he had never done before, not to reuse a sound that worked. I like this idea of constantly putting oneself back in danger.

To start from scratch each time, don’t  you suffer from the blank page syndrome, a sort of writer’s block ?

AG: We always have the blank page syndrome, but it’s the only thing that’s really exciting when we create. We criticise some designers for doing the same thing all the time, and we do not want that.

It’s complicated to have a signature but to reinvent yourselves at the same time…

AG: It takes twice as much effort but since we work as a duo, it’s just twice the battle.

TD: We would never do anything out of pure laziness, that would not bring something new. There is always the other to shake and challenge us. It’s a kind of ping pong.

What was the « Chez Bob » project?

TD: Bob tiling, which is a Var tile supplier and partner of Design Parade, gave us « carte blanche » to realise a sensory experience in his showroom. He provided us with his products and know-how to build something out of a 20 meters long container. We chose to occupy this space by creating a “Superpoly” Spa. We had fun to transform the codes of this type of place, in a space that in theory shouldn’t fit at all. The project is visible for 1 years.

Courtesy Lothaire Hucky

Your name comes from a super Monopoly?

AG: Ha ha! It’s the name of the Italian or Mexican Monopoly I can’t remember which.

TD: Our first project was called “little Polynesia”, we mentioned it earlier. The name came from this: super-poly(-nesia) project. There was something in “superpoly” that sounded like a brand …

AG: It’s the use of Super!

TD: The other thing is that we try to try many types of handmade creations, there was the poly thing (in French polyvalence means versatility)

AG: And then it’s a great play on words too because we’re super polite (in French Superpoly sounds like super polis = super polite).

TD: It’s pretty light like the rest of our work and it sounded good.

Your latest news?

TD: We’re right now working on private orders with our gallery and on new pieces of furniture in our workshop.

Many thanks guys for this enlightening interview, that I simply could not bring myself to cut. I think we got something balanced between seriousness and fun about the balance between ugliness and its sublimation.



* This expression comes from the Dirty Art Department of the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, from which Clémence Seilles-Stromboli Associates (already mentioned in hlow) is graduated.

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2013 – The Callas https://hlow.paris/2013-the-callas Thu, 21 Feb 2019 13:01:11 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1668 The post 2013 – The Callas appeared first on hlow.


Five years ago, I came across the unclassiffiable work made by an artistic duo called The Callas. I realised that what I was seeing (incredible punkishly vibrant needlepoint) was only the tip of the iceberg. In fact it’s an artistic factory producing music, films, artworks, magazines, events, art shows initiated by the brothers Lakis & Aris Ionas.

For the past 10 years they have been publishing significant magazines for the Athenian underground music/art/film scene such as Velvet magazine and Lust magazine. Their studio space is one of the most active cultural spaces in Athens. Going by the name Velvet Room, they organise art shows combined with music gigs and DJ sets involving some of the best new bands and artists in Athens.

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stArter Helps Bosses to Become Patrons https://hlow.paris/starter-helps-bosses-to-become-patrons Tue, 12 Feb 2019 15:00:11 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1650 The post stArter Helps Bosses to Become Patrons appeared first on hlow.


stArter promotes the work of numerous artists among which the drawings of Claire Trotignon:

Aurélie Dablanc & Anne-Marine Guiberteau met in the Metz Centre Pompidou, when it opened ten years ago. Following the Guggenheim Museum in New York which created an “annexe” in Bilbao (in the Basque region of Spain) and contributed to the rebirth of the city, it was decided to create for the Centre Pompidou (the famous French national modern art museum located since 1977 in the Rogers and Piano building made of colourful tubes and wires, in the heart of Paris), more than an extension, an independent second self designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gatine. To this “new Pompidou” was given the ability to use the incredible stocks of the Pompidou mother institution. Aurélie and Anne-Marine were part of this adventure (and let’s not hide it, so was I). Since then they both have done a lot of incredible things: working for several other prestigious cultural institutions and on exhibitions curatoring for all kinds of audiences.

But they wanted to do more. As the pioneers they are, they wanted to be part of a process of cultural democratisation, to bring arts (& also crafts in a near future) to places usually devoid of anything cultural, or even only visual. stArter was born from this idea of “Frontier”, of virgin territories to conquer. Their concept was to bring arts to businesses, to ease the process of coupling economics and culture and to transform business owners into involved patrons, thanks to a witty program, gathering art acquisition, art rental, art & design masterclasses, art events indoors and outdoors, art seminaries and team-buildings, and last but not least, redesigning of the spaces.

Why this enigmatic name: stArter? It’s a compression of :

  • the energy of the economical world: starting blocks, start ups…
  • the word Art with a big A: let’s not be afraid of it.

The frescos of Valentina Canseco:

The paintings of Yann Lacroix:

The visual experiments on matter of Capucine Vandebrouck:

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Firminy, the Place to Be https://hlow.paris/firminy-the-place-to-be Tue, 12 Feb 2019 11:04:23 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1618 The post Firminy, the Place to Be appeared first on hlow.


Firminy is Europe’s largest Le Corbusier site, the world’s first site being Chandigarh in India. Firminy is the second best, and is clearly a  less carbon intensive destination. Firminy is in the outskirts of Saint-Etienne, a French industrial city which is reinventing itself through design (there is a great Cité du Design to visit). It gathers a stadium, a church, a “house of culture” and one of his Cités Radieuses (literally Radiant Cities) which  are tall and wide buildings imagined like vertical villages (each corridor is a street, there usually is a school, and sometimes, although not in Firminy, some shops). The other Cités Radieuses are in Briey, Marseilles, Rezé near Nantes in France & Berlin in Germany. Firminy was actually on our way back from our meditative holidays in the French region of Ardèche. The church left us the most durable impression but here are the images of the whole journey.

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A New Floor for an Extra Room https://hlow.paris/a-new-floor-for-an-extra-room Mon, 11 Feb 2019 17:06:31 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1608 The post A New Floor for an Extra Room appeared first on hlow.


Juul De Bruijn has taken advantage of each square centimetre of her room. How? By burying every function under walking level.

Juul, how did you get the idea of MoreFloor?
I designed the MoreFloor to solve my own problem I have with living in a small apartment in Eindhoven. I really needed an extra room to work and got frustrated that I only used the bedroom for the minority of the time. Therefore using the square meters that my bed and closet take, would give me the extra room I needed.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself? what’s your story?

I graduated at the Design Academy Eindhoven at the department “Man and Mobility” in January 2018. When I was a child, I loved to work with my hands, which I still do. My parents have always supported me in this, there was always enough material to work with. I loved to play by myself in the garden or the attic. I created different fantasy worlds and I could entertain myself for hours like that. When I became older I still liked to play. I played with my classmates. The whole story we played, was based on our fantasy. It was amazing to just go with that feeling, not thinking about yesterday or about tomorrow. If I think back about this time I remember the wonderful feeling of losing yourself in fantasy. Unfortunately a lot of people lose it, when they grow up. In my work I show my own fantasy and combine it with my taste for crafts and DIY.

Congratulations Juul for this lesson of “anything is possible” design.

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A Weekend in Warsaw https://hlow.paris/a-weekend-in-warsaw Mon, 11 Feb 2019 15:39:14 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1173 The post A Weekend in Warsaw appeared first on hlow.


This is actually an old post. I recovered the draft. We spent at one point a very short weekend in Warsaw. I often go there (since my mother is Polish) so I do not really do touristy things. This post is not about the “must see” and “must do” in the city, as for us these were already seen and done long ago, and we just fly there without the pressure of checking all the boxes. This post is more about what we felt like doing and discovering the summer of 2017 (yes I know…a long time ago…).

A few great spots:

Autor rooms by mamastudio

The institution in Polish fashion: Ania Kuczynska

The locally sourced Warsaw & Tel Aviv based sister brands Elementy & Balagan

We discovered a Danish jewelry brand in the street of Mokotow Anni Lu

I usually go to Miedzy Nami for lunch or simply to meet my friends. They have a tiny lifestyle shop adjoining, and have recently opened a great bohemian chic b&b.The place has a great terrasse in the summer and generally the atmosphere and the food is full of soul and feels like home, essentially thanks to their charismatic owner Ewa & Beata. The have just opened their new bnb.

Two new places to hang out : Hala Koszyki and Wisła Warszawa

Finally, cross the Wisła to Saska Kępa, you will find there an incredible restaurant, Biała, that will make you travel back to the age of modernism.

Concerning Polish design, the great Maria Jeglinska and her incredible work was being shown at the Design Parade in Hyere (remember this post is from 2017). Just so you know, Maria is a former student of the ECAL and the ESAD Reims. She has been working for the gallery kreo and for Konstantin Grcic, before starting her own practice in 2010. She, since then, has been commissionned for numerous industrial projects especially for the editor Ligne Roset and is part of several research projects such as The Wire and EESTT. Here are a few glimpses of the show:

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Clay Club, Of Friendship & Ceramics https://hlow.paris/clay-club-of-friendship-and-ceramics Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:17:29 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1572 The post Clay Club, Of Friendship & Ceramics appeared first on hlow.


On your website, your bio doesn’t say much about you (Clay Club is the ceramics studio of Joke Leonare & Sigrid Volders, founded in 2016. With a focus on one of a kind, handmade and sustainable ceramic pieces), nore does your picture show much either. Do you wish to keep things rather private ? Could you tell us a bit about your story ?

Here is a more detailed bio by Barbara Serulus :

Clay Club is the ceramics studio of artists Joke Leonare and Sigrid Volders. Joke is a graphic designer and runs the record label Jj funhouseSigrid is a make-up artist and part of creative collectives Earth Rope Pot Plant and Nine Islands.

Since 2016, they’ve been working together with clay and glazes in their shared workshop. They both focus on unique pieces, embrace imperfection and favour small series over large quantities. Their forms are organic, their colour palette quirky.

During her training, Sigrid developed a fascination for glazes and their chemistry, which lead her to create an ever growing archive of colour glazes. Joke is self-taught and creates idiosyncratic pieces that fit nicely with the work of Sigrid.


You work in Antwerp, is this where you come from? Why do you appreciate this city ? What kind of synergy can you find there ?

Sigrid: Yes. It is such an inspiring environment here. Many artists are living or working here, partly because you can still find big ateliers to rent at a rather decent price, although this is changing. Our atelier for example is in an old furniture store, a little outside of the center, enclosed by a huge garden, we share the building with other designers (textile, interior and jewelry) and besides having cosy lunches together we inspire each other : )

Joke: Yes, raised in Antwerp and sticked around. It sometimes feels like living in a village, there’s a close community of creatives on all sorts of practices, supporting each other. Belgium also has a really good music scene going on, I take that for granted but it’s actually rather special.

Your pieces are incredibly beautiful. What are your visual reference ?

Sigrid: Thank you! Working with clay, it is such a nice material, it feels very natural, intuitive. Most of the time I have no idea what the end result will be – to create in complete poetic freedom gives me so much joy!

Joke: It’s very nice to get away from the screen and ‘play’ with the clay. I know it’s a cheesy thing to say, but it really does make you peaceful, and the product is usually a result from that, without having clear visual references at first.

How can clay club be so coherent, so consistent, even though there are two of you ? What is your creative process ?

Sigrid: I have more free time than Joke and can therefore spend more time in the atelier. Naturally that leads into making more things. And I photograph both of our works. Probably that’s why it’s coherent? Anyway we have a similar taste, sometimes we arrive in the atelier dressed in the same sweater 🙂 Joke’s creations fit perfectly in that atmosphere and as a graphic designer she makes sure our logo, cards and online store is on point!

Joke: I also like to see the studio as a way of meeting each other. Instead of going for coffee, we go for a cup of clay. We chitchat while we produce, each in our own way, but whenever we put some of our pieces together, it fits. We have a same love for certain colours, grains and shapes.

You work in Antwerp, is this where you come from? Why do you appreciate this city ? What kind of synergy can you find there ?

Sigrid: Yes. It is such an inspiring environment here. Many artists are living or working here, partly because you can still find big ateliers to rent at a rather decent price, although this is changing. Our atelier for example is in an old furniture store, a little outside of the center, enclosed by a huge garden, we share the building with other designers (textile, interior and jewelry) and besides having cosy lunches together we inspire each other : )

Joke: Yes, raised in Antwerp and sticked around. It sometimes feels like living in a village, there’s a close community of creatives on all sorts of practices, supporting each other. Belgium also has a really good music scene going on, I take that for granted but it’s actually rather special.

Your pieces are incredibly beautiful. What are your visual reference ?

Sigrid: Thank you! Working with clay, it is such a nice material, it feels very natural, intuitive. Most of the time I have no idea what the end result will be – to create in complete poetic freedom gives me so much joy!

Joke: It’s very nice to get away from the screen and ‘play’ with the clay. I know it’s a cheesy thing to say, but it really does make you peaceful, and the product is usually a result from that, without having clear visual references at first.

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Ellande Jaureguiberry, the art of indeterminacy https://hlow.paris/ellande-jaureguiberry-the-art-of-indeterminacy Fri, 18 Jan 2019 11:44:26 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1550 The post Ellande Jaureguiberry, the art of indeterminacy appeared first on hlow.


What’s your story Ellande Jaureguiberry? Where do you come from? Could you tell us something that could make us understand who you are and what are your artistic obsessions?

I grew up between the suburbs of Paris and the Basque Region (i.e. in the South West of France, near the Atlantic ocean and the Spanish border), where part of my family still lives. So I am often considered as a Parisian by my Basque family and as a Basque by my Parisian suburban family. Moreover, my name is Basque, and “female-sounding” in French. My arrival usually surprises people that I meet for the first time, who usually are expecting to meet a girl. I am neither one nor the other, neither from here nor from elsewhere; today these indeterminacies are amusing and nourishing for me.

On your website you have texts about your work by others, but no text by you, does it mean you have troubles defining yourself?

Who does not have a problem to define himself ! In my practice, my intention is to disrupt the limits of the object, its aesthetic function or its potential utility, to free it from whatever ties it to a space, a genre or a thought.

What is your relation to ceramics? Why do you use this medium a lot?

For me the practice of ceramics and modelling is above all a moment of exchange between my body and the earth, from which we emerge and in which we will all return. This relationship can be sometimes sensual and fluid, but can also be difficult. It is from this ambiguous relationship that my forms and objects emerge.

There is a picture that caught my attention on you Instagram account. It is titled “Kaolin Show in Jingdezhe”. I tried to google it with no success. You seemed to have been working on a series of porn ceramics. Could you tell us/show us more about it?
This group exhibition is the result of a three-month research residency around Chinese porcelain. I have thus proposed works that evoke this sensual relationship resulting from my experimental practice of porcelain. Each of us can question his own relationship to eroticism.

Your exhibition Les fruits de la terre (Fruits of Earth) at the ESADHaR of Rouen (France) is also about ceramics but linked with surrealism (especially in the images)? is that it?

Surrealism but also Art Brut, Mannerism and Art Nouveau are part of my references. I am also sensitive to the work of the Brazilian artist Tunga and the Mexican Frida Kahlo, whose work inspired me the title of this exhibition at ESADHaR, “Les Fruits de la terre”. What brings them together, perhaps, is this organic conception of the form in which the a priori antinomic categories of the feminine and the masculine, the vegetable, the animal and the human are merged.

Untitled – Tunga :

Fruits of the Earth – Frida Kahlo:

Your last piece for the Glassbox gallery in Paris, the preciously decorated peepshow screen called « adorable bouclier » (literally « cute shield »), what is it about, what does it protect from? What’s your link to pink?

The idea was above all to propose a piece responding to the theme of “light”. This “adorable shield” (the meaning of the screen in Chinese) has this paradoxical function of protecting our privacy but also, to reveal. Through it, it is therefore the idea of ​​social light that I wish to question in a deliberately playful and polysemic way. From this can arise other questions: what are the practices of resistance / acceptance of the glare of the other, the customisation of a common space, separation public life / private life.

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Henri Guerin’s tapestry and stained glass https://hlow.paris/henri-guerins-tapestry-and-stained-glass Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:46:59 +0000 http://hlow.paris/?p=1522 The post Henri Guerin’s tapestry and stained glass appeared first on hlow.


I have discovered recently in an exhibition in Le Corbusier’s church in Firminy, next to Saint Etienne in France, the protean work of Henri Guérin, an artist/craftsman who revolutionised the art of stained glass (using slabs of glass and ciment) as well as the one of tapestry (creating amazing shadings, colour and light effects) in the 70s. I can hear you, I know you are telling yourself that I have got a thing right now for anything coming from the seventies. But I feel the excitement of a gold digger. None of these artists are famous yet, even though they are brilliant.

Stained Glass

His considerable stained glass body of work contains more than 600 references, located in religious buildings, civil buildings, private homes and public places. It can be found mainly in France but also abroad (Switzerland, Canada, United States, Japan, Cameroon, etc.) Henri Guérin uses a technique of broken glass slabs joint with cement. He used glass slabs of all shades, mostly from the furnaces of the Albertini factory in Montigny-les-Cormeilles (France). The size and the thickness of the slabs create subtle shading of tones (that are also in his tapestry). He uses a very fine mass-coloured cement joint.


Drawings and tapestries

His work also includes an important set of works on paper (gouaches and drawings in Indian ink) and fifty or so Aubusson tapestries made by the Pinton workshops in Felletin (France).

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