VIA@Milan 2008

From 16 to 21 April, the VIA will be at the Triennale di Milano on the fringe of the Milan Furniture Fair, with an exhibition called “Design France” which presents all the prototypes from its Design Grant scheme as well as the VIA awards for 2008. To celebrate his 80th birthday, the VIA will pay tribute to Pierre Paulin, elected the Designer of the Year award at the Paris Furniture Fair 2008.
Triennale di Milano – Viale Alemagna, 6 – 20121 Milano / 10.30am – 10.30pm

 The VIA Gallery: MOBI Junior

From 5 April to 18 May 2008, the VIA presents the exhibition “MOBI Junior”, a selection of more than 50 items of children’s furniture. These products are to be found alongside prototypes that have been dreamed up by primary school children and made during the first seasons of “MOBIDécouverte – Child Designers”, an original educational project led by teachers from partner schools and accompanied by designers.

 Talent Spotting Contest

This year once more, the VIA is supporting the contest organised by Cinna and Maison Française. Designers are asked to think up accessories for the home that take account of contemporary lifestyles and new materials. The award-winning projects (lights, small items of furniture, decorative objects and seats) will be produced by Cinna. Projects to be submitted before 18 April.

 Audi Talents Awards

Sophistication, avant-garde ideas and sportsmanship are the keywords for the second edition of the competition organised by Audi for young designers working in contemporary art, music, sports innovation and industrial design. The 4 winners will receive a € 10,000 grant and special support from Audi and its partners, as well as a fitting promotional campaign. Projects to be submitted before 30 April. or (+33) (0)1 53 23 01 62

 Soft Materials, Multiform Materials

The Institute for Soft Materials, part of the Association Ouvrière des Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France, is organising a technical day for professionals (manufacturers, retailers, designers,…) about design and production using soft materials.
23 May 2008 – Palais des Congrès of Le Mans
Registration and information:

« Planète Durable », Paris – France (10-13 April)

International Furniture Fair, Milan – Italy (16-21 April)

“Eurocucina”, Milan – Italy (16-21 April)

Madrid Furniture Fair, Spain (22-27 April)

Foire de Paris, Porte de Versailles – France (30 April-12 May)

“Interzum” Fair, Cologne - Germany (13-16 May)

SFF/Scandinavian Furniture Fair, Copenhagen – Denmark (15-18 May)

COSMIT, New York – USA (16-19 May)

ICFF, New York - USA (17-20 May)

SIDIM, Montreal - Canada (22-24 May)

“Designmai 2008”, Berlin - Germany (22-31 May)

“International Home Decor & Design 2008”, Shanghai – China (26-28 June)

“France, des maisons à vivre”, Shanghai – China (26-28 June) rubrique Agenda

International Furniture and Home Furnishing Trade Fair, Cairo – Egypt (2-6 June)

“Design Miami/Bâle 08”, Basle - Switzerland ( 3-5 June 2008)

European Research & Innovation Exhibition, Porte de Versailles, Paris – France (5-7 June)

“Ambiente – Interior Lifestyle”, Tokyo – Japan (11-13 June)

“Designer’s Days”, Paris – France ( 12-16 June)

“Design Parade 03”, Villa Noailles, Hyères - France (4-6 July)

“Tendence Lifestyle”, Frankfurt - Germany (4-8 July)

 Reminder - the “Growing Materials” catalogue

This book of 180 pages in colour brings together the 66 material and process references shown as part of the “Growing Materials” exhibition presented by the Innovathèque at the FCBA Technological Institute. Each reference is accompanied by a bilingual explanatory text, photos of how the material is used and the contact details of the manufacturer or supplier.
It also contains a glossary that is intended to give a better understanding of specific terms used in eco-design. This catalogue is available from the FCBA’s Innovathèque (information on 01 40 19 48 94) and in specialist bookshops (Artazart, La Hune, Le Moniteur…) priced at 45 euros inclusive of all taxes.

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Soizick Berthelot
Marie-Catherine Dolhun
Gérard Laizé
Stéphane Sarie


FCBA / Innovathèque

Julien Barthelat
Pascal Gentil
Brice Tual

Agence e-Mazarine
2, square Villaret de Joyeuse
75017 Paris
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“My tailor is rich” – as the first line of a famous French manual to teach English goes.
Before the arrival of mass production that lead to a standardisation of everything that can be manufactured, our morphologies and our activities determined the shape and uses of objects, which were then made to measure by artists and artisans.
Since the post-war boom years, the industrial age has provided us with everything that is “essential for life”. That’s fine, but the uniform nature of products from the assembly line very quickly resulted in a need for personalisation, pace Henry Ford.
Nowadays, we above all require reliable and practical products that are affordable on a tight budget. When this need is translated into an economic and industrial logic, it will result in a vast array of solid or virtual tools that are designed to satisfy the majority of people. Slightly frustrating, isn’t it? So how are we to breathe a little soul into these impersonal molecules, and how – and at what price – are we to get access to the objects that suit us best?
The more consumers there are, the more manufacturers can diversify their products and present us with huge shelves full of objects that are almost identical in practical terms but look very different and create the impression that there is an abundance of choice. In principle, most consumers will find a boot that fits, but all the same there are about 30% of the most demanding among them who insist on the product having a personal touch, something unique about it.
As long as the market is receptive and therefore profitable, marketing and industrial challenges mean that products are brought to market more and more quickly. For this to happen, each actor in the chain of development needs to have access to quick means of prototyping, duplicating and machining.
Computer technology lies at the heart of the system and the common notion is of a single virtual model that can be adjusted and parametered to continuously adapt to the changing nature of the different development stages.
From clothes designers through to tool-makers, a single three-dimensional digital representation of the object gets round all the problems of interpretation and means that the tools used to put the material into production can be piloted by subtraction and addition.
Substractive processes were the first to be implemented and have now evolved into HSC (high speed cutting). Additive processes, which normally use lasers, make it possible to produce a wider range of shapes that are not possible by subtraction for example and use a simpler programming interface – lamination.
As far as personalising objects goes, customised inscriptions already figure on clothing and fine leather goods. Sublimation colour printing covers the curves of our mobile telephone with the image of our choice.
Additionally, the creative hobbies sector, from art to DIY, is booming and, using current information technology, this can easily lead to rapid prototyping and personalising processes. You still have to be as skilled as the “rich tailor” though.

Pascal Gentil
Technical Manager Innovathèque FCBA


IMM Cologne

14-20 January 2008.

Despite the number of extra square metres and the efforts made by the organisers to make it more comfortable for visitors, the 2008 edition of this show reflected the sluggishness of the local market. There were few new products presented by German manufacturers compared with the array of foreign items on display, for example from Italian manufacturers who have been launching their products here for some years now without waiting for Milan…

Meuble Paris and Maison & Objet

Paris Le Bourget, 24-28 January 2008 –
Paris Nord Villepinte, 25-29 January 2008 –

Held at almost exactly the same time and in almost exactly the same place, the Paris shows provided an intensive and profitable meeting-place. Born of the merger of the Paris Furniture Show and Planète Meuble, the event in Le Bourget is based around the mid- to top-of-the-range. The offer has profited from the arrival of some exhibitors who have switched from Maison&Objet. At the same time, Now! design à vivre asserts its continuing relevance to contemporary design. New foreign exhibitors (especially Dutch and Italian) decided to have a stand here, sometimes after having been “pressurised” by their French agent. Their objective was to come to meet French retailers who were not (in the case of a considerable number of them) going to make the trip to Milan. Moreover, some other operators realised that they were not – or no longer – deriving any benefit from going to Cologne. Paris is regarded as an attractive place for a show…

Ideo Bain

5-10 February 2008 – Paris Porte de Versailles

If one considers the bathroom as the room that will change the most in the future, then it is easy to see the raison d’être of Ideo Bain. The growth of notions of hygiene and of keeping one’s body in trim due to increasing life expectancy, and the development of cosmetic treatments and body care are all factors that provide an explanation for women and men’s interest in this place where it is possible to regain one’s energy in private. And yet the restrained feel to this show is surprising…

Stockholm Furniture Fair

6-10 February 2008

Despite its size (740 exhibitors, 40,000 visitors), which is nothing like that of its major European rivals like Cologne, Paris or Milan, this fair reflects that very particular Scandinavian style very well. However, this year, there is a noticeable influence of international trends, especially on young designers and particularly with a return to ornamentation, which is paradoxical in a region where the dominant style has always been minimalist…

Consumers in an age of personalisation

Affluent, mature and better and better educated, the Western consumer is asserting his identity by choosing products that have been designed in his image and/or carry a strong social connotation. Design, edition, manufacturing, retail – all these actors are called upon to act and they have already started to adapt…

Personalised comfort

Today’s consumer is developing a desire to personalise the goods he buys so that they match his needs perfectly. This desire to acquire personalised objects reflects a search for identity and differentiation in the context of mass production, strong competition and globalisation in which products are designed for a large and varied population.

From rapid prototyping to personalised production

The industrialisation of a product, whatever it may be, needs in most cases to be validated by a prototype. This makes it possible to apprehend the object as a whole, its formal appearance and the surface condition, as well as its weight and mechanical properties in certain cases. The designer, the manufacturer and the retailer can thus test whether its viability, fine-tune the production chain and finalise the sales strategy.


Principle: Plastic objects containing Magicolor® change colour thanks to special colouring agents which turn transparent revealing the colour underneath when they go above the pre-set critical temperature for the particular application. The micro-encapsulation of the colouring agents protects them during moulding and stabilises the reaction.
Surfaces: Compatible with all usual plastics produced by injection or extrusion such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, ABS, etc.
Uses: toys, cutlery, packing material,…


Laques de Bourgogne continues the ancestral lacquering traditions of the Far East. The lacquered panels are decorated by hand and each of them is a unique work. They are made by applying several alternate layers of lacquer and varnish. Each layer is sanded and polished before the next layer is applied.
Uses: These lacquers are used to cover kitchen and bathroom furniture. They can also be used for the front of counters or reception desks, as fittings in shops, entrance halls or desks.
Dimensions: Allulaq can be realised on 2,000 x 1,000 mm or 2,500 x 1,250 mm aluminium sheets. The other decorations can be done on 2,440 x 1,220 mm laminated boards.

SentryGlass Expression

SentryGlass is a decorative safety glass from Dupont de Nemours. This technology makes it possible to create images, drawings, texts, logos and photographs and to integrate them into laminated safety glass. SentryGlass is made up of a plastic sheet printed digitally in high-resolution ink-jet (1440 dpi) that is inserted between two sheets of glass.  This insert can be transparent or white with two degrees of translucence and can therefore serve as a light filter. Should the glass be broken accidentally, it does not shatter but remains stuck to the insert. It is weather-resistant, as well as resistant to UV rays and fading.
Sectors of use: architecture, the car industry
Composition: PVB (polyvinyl butyral) insert sheet + glass
Quantitative technical specifications: The largest standard size of image is 239 x 427 cm but larger formats can be developed on request.


Varaform is a produced by the company RUNLITE. It is a thermomoulded textile. It can be shaped by heating and its structure then becomes stiff.
Manufacturing process: natural cotton impregnated with a thermoplastic resin.
Sectors of use: mainly structural (film decors).
Properties: light, stiff, remodelable (self-adhesive), hydrophobic.
Composition: coton/ thermoplastic resin.
Quantitative technical specifications: weight: 0.7 – 0.9 kg/m2
Processing methods: stick, heat, mould, decorate.

Personalisation is proponed by various IT, advertising and clothing industries and also affects the design world and objects in particular.
AXIATEC is part of this movement and offers a range of solutions to obtain, model and produce 3D digital data combined with new materials. The result is greater flexibility in the market, lower costs of production and items of matchless quality.