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Juliette and Charlotte Castay: Design Parade Toulon 2018

Juliette and Charlotte Castay at Design Parade 2018: the Belgian duo in the Design Parade Toulon finals

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Text by Marie Honnay

Graduates of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre – Charlotte in 2017 and Juliette in 2018 – these sisters from Brussels are amongst the 10 finalists of the 3rd edition of Design Parade Toulon, an interior design competition presided over by Pierre Yovanovitch, which brings together candidates from all around the world. Organised in parallel with the design-focussed competition of the Villa Noailles in Hyères, this event is the first of its kind in Europe. A few days before the finals, we met with these fusional and complementary twin sisters.

TLmag: Do you think you were in some way destined for interior design?
Charlotte Castay: We certainly grew up in an artistic environment. Our parents are well-known at La Cambre. Our father studied photography and our mother studied advertising. Our uncle is an architect. Since our childhood, our dream was to open a design firm together, especially as we are quite complementary. I am more structured, Juliette is more rooted in the practice.

Juliette Castay: What interests us in this profession is that it combines several disciplines: architecture, creation, the design of interiors and objects.

TLmag: At 21 years old, what are your perspectives for this job?
JC: Charlotte has been continuing her training in Paris, where she is interning at Louis Vuitton in the department that deals with the design concept for stores. This separation has brought about a sort of emancipation that can be very beneficial when two people are as close as we are. Next September it will be my turn, when I spend six months in Taiwan studying ceramics design.

TLmag: Is this a way to perfect your academic knowledge?
CC: What makes the visual arts curriculum at La Cambre unique, is that it is not solely academic. Before starting at the school, you think of the field as being very structural, whereas in fact it pushed us to find our own identities, to create our own universes.

TLmag: You succeeded in integrating your respective universes into a shared project that impressed the jury at Hyères. Can you give us a brief explanation of it?
JC: Our starting point was to use our five senses as builders of our vision of the world. Our visual and olfactory memories of the Mediterranean inspired us towards a fig-scented kitchen. The wattle screen projects pretty shadows and creates a transition towards the outside. It’s an ephemeral project that is also infused with a musical dimension. Our installation will only last for the period of the exhibition.

TLmag: When you spoke with other candidates, what similarities did you find in your approaches?
CC: We felt that we were integrated into a very gentle bubble of artists. I think that one thing we had in common was this desire to return to the fundamentals of the field, to escape the boredom that comes from an overly-formatted project.  We are interested in creating emotions that are accessible by everyone.

TLmag: And those emotions are created through craftmanship?
JC: Absolutely, and also by exploring new disciplines that complement our education.

CC: After my experience in the world of retail, I want to explore scenography and light. We are at a pivotal place in our journey.

JC: I think that before you are 30 or 40 years old, you can’t really call yourself an interior designer. Until then, you need to build up as many things as possible, learn how to sharpen your eye.

TLmag: For this particular project, what were your sources of inspiration?
CC: The sculpture of Jean Arp, but also the approach of Marseillais fashion designer Jacquemus. We love the atmosphere he has created around brand. His work goes far beyond the basic concept of clothing.

TLmag: Besides the possibility of winning an award, why did you take part in the Design Parade Toulon?
JC: When you tend to spend a lot of time in front of a computer developing projects, this type of competition gives you the opportunity to try out things in practice. From the sketch to the final mosaic, we designed and oversaw everything. The competition also makes you very aware of the importance of working hand in hand with the trade. In Toulon, we discovered the power of a collective working together on a multidisciplinary project.

CC: This competition also enabled us to push our research on the topic even further, and to prevent certain manual trades from disappearing over time.

Design Parade Hyères Toulon, exhibition through 30 September.

Juliette & Charlotte Castay, installation for Design Parade, Villa Noailles, 2018
Juliette & Charlotte Castay, installation for Design Parade, Villa Noailles, 2018
Juliette & Charlotte Castay, installation for Design Parade, Villa Noailles, 2018

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