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Galerie Poirel: Objects of Comfort

For an exhibition ‘Zone de Confort,’ Studio GGVS approached design objects of comfort as archaeologists. The exhibition at Galerie Poirel in Nancy, France, runs from 12 November 2015–17 April 2016.

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Text by Jean-Philippe Peynot
Photography by Michel Giesbrecht

Could Nancy be the birthplace of French design? Nancy, which is the city of art nouveau artist Émile Gallé and Antonin Daum, furniture designer Louis Majorelle, painter and sculptor Victor Prouvé and the École de Nancy, a symbol of the alliance of craft and industry – and the city of architect and designer Jean Prouvé, the child prodigy who took industrial design to such heights that today his furniture is displayed alongside sculptor Alexander Calder’s sculptures.

The sumptuous Galerie Poirel in Nancy presents a wide array of French design in an exhibition ‘Zones de Confort,’ which brings together a hodgepodge of objects indulging the design aficionados’ idea of ‘comfort’ from the 1950s to today. The display at the gallery, located in the heart of Nancy, just a stone’s throw from the elegant Place Stanislas, sets the objects on cosy carpets reminding those found in children’s bedrooms.

The disarray of objects in the exhibition matches a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a Jean Royère chair in real goat fur and a vigorous coffee maker by Gaetano Pesce with a disconcerting Pratone chair, a playfully mocking mobile by Studio Bless and a Philippe Starck-designed radio. These are complemented with a music room for a spaceship by Laurent Massaloux and Jean-Yves Leloup and some pretty 1970s stools designed by Roger Tallon.

All of these objects – around a hundred in total – come from the design collections of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques CNAP. The exhibition is curated by Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard of Studio GGVS in collaboration with CNAP’s Juliette Pollet, who is responsible for CNAP’s design collection.

“We surveyed the CNAP collections to extract a selection of well-known pieces that are either strange or unusual,” state the curators. “It’s been a pleasure to operate as we would have been searching the remains of an unknown civilization to question the material culture. We wanted to design a stage on which an archaeologist would look at the objects and wonder what they say about practices, aspirations and beliefs of a society.”

While the assembly of the object remind of a very chic shop, the objects make viewers reflect on their own ideas of comfort and create an excellent opportunity to take an impartial look at the goods-objects that surround us today. •

Zones of Confort at Galerie Poirel in Nancy, France, from 21 November 2015–17 April 2016.

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