French flair on show

Mr Jean-Paul Bath (above) is chief executive of le French Design by VIA, which created the exhibition. The show highlights French design, including the Break stool by Singaporean industrial designer Nathan Yong, which was picked up by French label Ligne R
Mr Jean-Paul Bath (above) is chief executive of le French Design by VIA, which created the exhibition. The show highlights French design, including the Break stool by Singaporean industrial designer Nathan Yong, which was picked up by French label Ligne Roset in 2008.ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY
Mr Jean-Paul Bath is chief executive of le French Design by VIA, which created the exhibition. The show highlights French design, including the Break stool (above) by Singaporean industrial designer Nathan Yong, which was picked up by French label Ligne R
Mr Jean-Paul Bath is chief executive of le French Design by VIA, which created the exhibition. The show highlights French design, including the Break stool (above) by Singaporean industrial designer Nathan Yong, which was picked up by French label Ligne Roset in 2008.ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY

Forty iconic French design masterpieces by notable names are on display at the National Design Centre

Most exhibitions have barriers to prevent visitors from touching the items on exhibit.

But at No Taste For Bad Taste, So Starck, So Bouroullec... So Le French Design, visitors are welcome to touch, sit and use the furniture pieces as they are intended.

The exhibition, which celebrates French design, is part of the annual Voilah! France Singapore Festival, which celebrates all things French. It runs until Nov 16 at the National Design Centre.

Created by French design association le French Design by VIA, the show debuted in Milan in 2017 and has travelled to more than 10 cities. Singapore is its only South-east Asian stop and it will be heading to Taiwan in March next year.

A total of 40 iconic French design masterpieces, designed by notable names such as Philippe Starck, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, are on showcase.

These are selected by a team of 40 celebrated French and international figures in the design scene, including French designers Christian Liaigre and Matali Crasset.

At the media preview last Friday, Mr Jean-Paul Bath, 59, chief executive of le French Design by VIA, says: "Good design is universal. It surpasses language and cultural differences and can be appreciated no matter the context. French design has found a place for itself here in Singapore and French design brands such as Pierre Frey and Ligne Roset have been increasingly well-received in recent years."

  • VIEW IT /NO TASTE FOR BAD TASTE, SO STARCK, SO BOUROULLEC... SO LE FRENCH DESIGN

  • WHERE: National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road

    WHEN: Till Nov 16, 9am to 9pm daily

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: bit.ly/2OXo9sa

The objects are housed in 10 tents, each with a poetic scenography done by French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. Each tent represents a different value of French design, such as heritage, cultural openness and sustainable innovation.

A red sofa called Ploum, designed by brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Ligne Roset, is a favourite among visitors.

Mr Bath says the couch is so comfortable, when it was displayed at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, visitors once fell asleep in it and the staff had to wake them up at closing time.

The sofa is housed in the Art de Vivre tent, which celebrates the French way of life.

Singaporean industrial designer Nathan Yong's work for Ligne Roset is also on display. The Break stool, which is designed to look like it is about to break, was picked up by the label in 2008. The stool, along with a Pebble coffee table, propelled Yong's career internationally.

The 48-year-old says: "French design is naughty and fresh with a small dose of humour that teases, but does it so effortlessly. That is part of who I am as a Singaporean too."


Forty iconic French design masterpieces by notable names are on display at the National Design Centre

THREE EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS

Ploum sofa


PHOTO: LIGNE ROSET

French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec designed the sofa for French furniture brand Ligne Roset in 2011. Its design is asymmetrical, with the right-hand seat slightly deeper than the left-hand one, which enables the user to sit, stretch out and even lie down comfortably on the couch.

Vertigo lamp


PHOTO: PETITE FRITURE

Created by French designer Constance Guisset for French furniture brand Petite Friture in 2010, the lightweight Vertigo lamp turns slowly when lit and projects a graphic shadow pattern on the surrounding walls.

Ange chair


PHOTO: LIGNE ROSET

French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac designed the Ange chair, which comes in a variety of colours, for French outdoor furniture company Fermob in 2008. The backrest of the metal chair is formed by a kiss between two cherubs while their wings serve as the armrests.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'French flair on show'. Print Edition | Subscribe