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Since 1979, VIA has earned a solid reputation world-wide for revealing young talents and enabling many designers who now have international standing to do design work in habitat and furnishing. This activity of stimulation is open to creators of all origins and cultures and contributes to making France – and Paris in particular – a platform for the expression of international creation in design for living space and environments.
‘VIA Labels' are given to products or product ranges that result from co-operation between a French manufacturer and a designer. They are attributed each year during the professional trade fairs by a jury of professionals composed of manufacturers, designers, experts and journalists. They concern products launched on the market and which apply - in an original and relevant manner - an approach that is innovative in terms of materials, technology, function or style. Products that have received a VIA Label benefit from the following promotion assistance :
- a trophy award at a VIA event,
- an exhibition at the VIA gallery,
- specific press promotion directed by VIA,
- permission to include the ‘VIA Label' in business documents. Manufacturers and producers may also submit requests for VIA labels.
‘Domovision' was launched at the Paris Furniture Fair in 2006 as an instrument for prospective investigation of trends in view of elaborating strategies. It aims at tracking the changing behaviour patterns of contemporary people in the places where they live and work, as well as currents in creation. By presenting an exploratory image of society and projecting future trends, Domovision helps professionals to synthesize global currents in society and to anticipate developments.
This exclusive training programme proposed by AFPIA/ Adéquation is based on the results of surveys and proceeds by modules that combine phases of investigation with the elaboration of concrete actions. AFPIA : (Association for Professional Training in the French Furniture Industries) – www.afpia.fr
VIA offers firms tailor-made consulting skills for design strategy and management: ways of structuring or optimising collections, of updating existing products, of defining colour ranges or of enhancing the presentation of products at trade fairs or in catalogues. VIA also proposes an eco-design programme.
Individualized consulting also concerns:
- diagnoses of products, extending of ranges, price positioning, communication, sales forces, distribution circuits,...
- definition of identity/territory,
- strategic redeployment,
- elaboration of concept charts,
- definition of product specifications,
- selecting and presenting of designers, follow-up of prototypes, critical tests,
- enhancement: product promotion, catalogue, packaging.
VIA assists manufacturers who want to undertake a creation programme by helping them draw up precise specifications, by choosing and introducing likely designers, and by conducting surveys. By advising firms and accompanying their thought, VIA enables projects to be launched in conditions that favour their success. All operations are carried out in strict confidentiality.
References : Chevillotte, Eurosit, Hardy Roux, B Marly, Girardeau, Mace, Confort DS, Motard, Mobalpa, Arthur Bonnet
Regional programmesIndustries in French regions have characteristics and development potential that is best promoted in group operations, to foster awareness, training and on-target actions. These operations vary: they may aim at facilitating innovation in working technologies (Aramis), at fostering alliances between firms (Créaouest), at consolidating specific skills (Lorraine, chair-makers in the Landes), or at regional dynamism (Brittany).
In 2003 VIA helped to initiate a programme for encouraging sustainable development among manufacturers, suppliers, designers, distributors, technical centres and schools of the Loire region. The initiative gave rise to the elaboration of a user manual published on the Internet. Action continues in the form of project assistance.
VIA initiated this programme for APROVALBOIS, which represents the timber industry in Burgundy, with the UNIFA (French Furniture Industries). Its aim is to promote the use of timber produced in eco-friendly forests.
This operation aims at promoting awareness of craftsman and manufacturing know-how in the timber and furniture-making industries of the Lorraine region, in particular for hotel fit-outs. The group of firms involved takes part in major trade fairs under this heading.
Actions with specialist groups
The French Furniture Industries are structured in specialist groups to enable manufacturers working in the same sector to concert their efforts for prospective surveys. VIA has assisted the following actions :
- with office furniture manufacturers, the Actineo programme (www.actineo.fr), which aims at improving the quality of life in office environments.
- with kitchen furniture manufacturers, a research programme in collaboration with creation schools on themes such as sustainable development, ergonomics, innovation, space planning and new eating habits.
- with hotel and restaurant furniture manufacturers, a designconscious approach for adapting to new hospitality concepts.