VIA Design 3.0 : 1979-2009 : 30 years of furniture design
VIA Design 3.0
1979-2009 : 30 years of furniture design
Pauline Lacoste, December 28, 2009
VIA (Valorisation of innovation in furnishing) will celebrate its 30th anniversary in January 2010. For this special occasion, VIA and the Pompidou Centre will be presenting an exhibition “VIA Design 3.0”, which is to be held through 1st February 2010.

Quéridon Dé Lumineux by Esla Frances & Jean-Michel Policar_Ligne Roset
Quéridon Dé Lumineux by Esla Frances & Jean-Michel Policar_Ligne Roset

As such, around forty prototypes is exhibited, which together constitute pieces which are the most highly representative of French design applied to the living environment, created over the past thirty years. Of particular interest will be the chance to discover the very first creations from Philippe Starck, Martin Szekely, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Matali Crasset, Mathieu Lehanneur, François Azambourg, Philippe Rahm, etc… as well as some pieces from Gaetano Pesce and even Andrée Putman. In their time such projects were financed by the VIA within the scope of its annual Aid to Creation programme. In order to highlight the constancy of this approach, the young talent of today and tomorrow, recently revealed by VIA, will represent a large part of this exhibition. Videos (reports about the trends in creation, the importance of innovation, interviews, etc) will also be shown.

Eléments O_Mathieu Lehanneur_V. Huygue
Eléments O_Mathieu Lehanneur_V. Huygue

A selection of pieces from this unique collection of prototypes will be given to the Pompidou Centre, thus enriching a design collection which already comprises some 3,000 pieces.

This event is the consecration of VIA’s business policy over the past 30 years:

• Promoting creation and innovation in the sector of laying out the living environment;
• Revealing and supporting tomorrow’s talent;
• Favouring exchanges between designers, artistic directors, manufacturers and distributors;
• Detecting trends in the evolution of the living space over the medium and long term.

It is worth noting that the VIA was created in 1979 on the initiative of the CODIFAB (Committee for the development of French furniture industries), with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry.
It has been managed since 1995 by Gérard Laizé.

chaise "Hiro-Hito_Elisabeth Garouste & Mattia Bonetti_Edition Fourniture


Projecting, experimenting, demonstrating, creating

The history of VIA unfolds coincidentally with the advent and development of an economy based on the power of what is immaterial. What this new economy says - among other things – is that the thing that makes a difference in any firm is not so much production, as was the case in the post-WW II period, as R&D, brand policy, financial participation, etc… The break with former values unsettled many companies that had based their social policy and growth strategy on them.

VIA was set up at at a time when furniture industrialists became aware of the shift, and its agenda - what with 'the growing demand for everyday aesthetics in the mass consumer market' (1) - was to accompany the move and to anticipate the increasingly important role of design and creation skills in the industrial process. At the present time, this economic model is also experiencing crisis. While the economy has moved substantially towards immateriality, firms must still produce material everyday goods, the majority of which lack qualities. This proliferation encumbers space to the point of creating a 'throw-away economy' that forces us to look at 'the trajectory of frontal collision with the geological limits of the planet' (2).

Lit Clos_Erwan Bouroullec_Galerie Kreo_M. le Gall
Lit Clos_Erwan Bouroullec_Galerie Kreo_M. le Gall

In the framework of the VIA 30-year anniversary exhibition at the Pompidou Centre, a seminar will be held to address issues concerning the blueprint for the world today, confronting contemporary contexts to examine whether actions launched in recent times remain valid for the 21st century as we now see it shaping up. Figures from the spheres of economics, human & technical sciences, culture and design will take part in debates.

(1) Yves Michaud « La beauté contemporaine » - University of Rouen - CNRS
(2) Daniel Cohen « La prospérité du Vice » - Editions Albin Michel

Wanet light by Louis Frechin_M. Flores
Wanet light by Louis Frechin_M. Flores

The list of participants includes

Andrea Branzi (architect, designer)
Claire Brunet (co-directress design department ENS Cachan, psychoanalyst)
Matali Crasset (designer)
Hugues de Jouvenel (Chief Executive of the group Futuribles)
Grégoire de Villmorin (Green Factory)
Faltazi (Laurent Lebot & Victor Massip - designers)
Jean-Louis Frechin (designer)
Jac Fol (architect, PhD in aesthetics, Sciences of art & philosophy)
Yves Gradelet (in charge of exhibitions VIA)
Raymond Guidot (design historian)
Armand Hatchuel (civil engineer Ecole des Mines)
Gérard Laizé (Chief Executive of VIA)
Frédéric Loeb (Consultant Loeb Innovation , co-editor Domovision)
Frédéric Morand (DCS)
Yann Moulier-Boutang (economist, essayist, professor of economics)
Robert Stadler (designer)
Chris Younes (philosopher, professor of human & social sciences in schools of architecture).