Since French archivist Hervé Lemoine took over the reins of the organization in 2018, Mobilier National has sought to engage with a wider audience and give greater visibility to the national contemporary design scene. Now in the second year of an active acquisitions campaign, it has lined up potential new nominations from 232 designers for just over 50 coveted spots in the national collection.
If the question is: What is French design in 2022?the resounding answer seems to be: Not necessarily what you expect.
“We did a lot of publicity on this initiative to interest designers and creators who may not have been aware of this type of acquisition program,” explains Lemoine. “There was no age limit, only that they worked in France, French or not. We were looking for original, already existing pieces that had been produced entirely under their control.
Variety among these starters was paramount. “We need tables, desks, chairs, usable rooms,” explains Lemoine. “The question is: how do you create original pieces today with a strong presence and personality? There was such a diversity of styles, shapes and colors.
The biggest surprise of the campaign came, Lemoine says, when the majority of nominations came from areas outside the nation’s capital. “Seventy percent of the selected designers work outside of Paris,” he specifies. “Having so many candidates from workshops that we didn’t know was a breakthrough for us, and now we will follow them and see what they continue to do.”