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Philippe Apeloig for Sèvres

Three of French graphic master Philippe Apeloig’s peerless motifs now adorn Sèvres’s Diane service, on show during D’Days and beyond, until July 29.

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Text by Nadine Botha

“There is a duality – a dialectic – that exists between what is visible and what is invisible,” French typographer and graphic artist Philippe Apeloig once told Creative Review. “When you are aware of the mechanics of perception, you understand that you have to use the invisible, ‘contra’ shape, the negative space. You have the letter and you have what’s inside, what’s around it.

Particularly renowned for working extensively with art and culture museums across the world, from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, including being art director of the Louvre from 1997 to 2008, Apeloig has shown how communication design can benefit from an artistic flair. His 1987 poster for the Musee D’Orsay is hailed as a contemporary masterwork for its pioneering use of CAD to give typography a sense of the architectural. Apeloig traces his creative origins in his new memoir, Chroniques Graphiques, published in 2016.

Extending his oeuvre of bringing type to life in unusual applications yet again, Apeloig has now designed a porcelain series for Sèvres. By amassing, repeating and superimposing three typographic punctuation marks with framing qualities – ‘Galaxie’, ‘Tourbillon’ and ‘Straw’ – Apeloig has imbued the invisible, flat surface of the ceramics with depth.

The constellations, waves, spirals and scatterings are applied in gold on either white or the distinctive Sèvres blue. To obtain the precision required for Tourbillon, photosensitive printing was used. The density of Galaxie and Straw was achieved with direct engraving, encouraging a vibrant and radiant play of light on the surface. Apeloig’s designs have been applied to Diane, an emblematic Sèvres service.

An exhibition celebrating the collaboration was launched during D’Days Paris, and runs at Galerie de Sèvres until July 29.

Back of Diane service with Galaxie motif
Back of Diane service with Galaxie motif
Diane service with Galaxie motif
Diane service with Galaxie motif
Diane service with Galaxie motif
Diane service with Galaxie motif
Galaxie
Galaxie
Tourbillon
Tourbillon
Straw
Straw
WBDM
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