Normal Studio design élémentaire / Les Arts Décoratifs museum 2010

The Normal Studio, Elemental Design exhibition clearly explains their way of conceiving design. The term “elemental”, meaning that which concerns a first or original element or that which is part of the original, inherent nature of substances or primordial forces, perfectly sums up their approach to design. The exhibition design the duo has devised aims to show the procedures they use to generate forms. The exhibition has three sections. The two-tier Rack in the middle of the room displays some twenty finished designs produced over the last three years. They include the pieces for Tolix (trestles, benches, furniture, etc.) and new designs such as their Passive Cooling project using terracotta for ENO, based on conservation techniques researched in Africa. There is also the office furniture they designed for the Danish manufacturer Hay, a technical tour de force via folded metal sheet with a sliding system replacing the door and drawer hinges. The ten metre-long wall opposite the Rack is devoted to production processes which, stripped down and analysed, provide a kind of x-ray and entry into the reality of the duo’s design work. The formal dimension they have given this wall helps illustrate the idea that fundamentals and form are inextricably linked in their work. La Nuée des possibles, at the end of the exhibition space is composed of a mass of images, exploratory drawings and the inspirational objects brought back from their travels which have nourished and enriched Normal Studio’s work. Normal Studio won several awards in 2009, including the Elle Déco design award, the Label VIA for their “Surfaces” collection for Tolix, and the Designer’s Days “Entreprise / Designer” award for the exemplarity of their work for Tolix. Normal Studio were one of the ten designers chosen by Starck, Maison&Objet Creator of the Year 2010, to answer the question: What are we lacking today? Their reply: “Nothing. One just has to learn how to look.”