Julien Carretero first came to our attention last year with his To be continued bench, a fabulous piece of work that is composed of many layers of coloured polyurethane composite, resulting in a striped rainbow that starts out as a straight chair form and gradually morphs into a much more organic shape. It looks great in pictures, but is even more spectacular in real life. This year it was the Drag series that impressed us with its mass and mess: these hefty vases, stools and lamps are bold in their lack of perfection. Lately we heard tell of his new This is a fan. It didn't take long for us to tell him that we are fans.
The processes I created for To be continued and Drag did not come from a will to make things with my hands or use old techniques. They came as steps of what I would call a kind of 'research' (even though I find this word a lot too pompous) in finding methods, or processes that would then design by themselves each singular pieces. It is just a transfer of the decision making from 'how to design a definite object' to 'how to make a recipe that designs objects'.
To be continued - process
Colour plays an important role in your designs. Is this because colour better highlights the process? Are some colours better than others for the work you are doing and what you are trying to express?
When I was a student I actually do not remember designing anything with colours. It just came naturally when I was developing To be continued as a way to highlight the steps of the process, consisting of casting layers of material on top of each others. In the Drag project colour is there to highlight the roughness of the object. The pieces are so brightly white before being lacquered that you cannot really focus on those imperfect details. I wanted the object to look as if the material was still wet and just frozen in its process. I also designed the process so that it would bring this roughness. Plaster has the potential to reach perfection but also has the potential to fix an instant. I would personally not find the point of using plaster and make it look like ceramic. I believe colours allow you as a designer to really choose what feelings or what emotions you want to transmit. I would compare the colour of an object to music in a film, when appropriately used, the effect can be really strong.
This is a fan is quite different in that the element of craftsmanship is not present. How does this project fit in with the others?
I designed This is a fan for the Design Parade competition of the Villa Noailles (France). The assignment was basically to 're-design' an electric appliance for Seb. The context is something important in design and I believe that the approach for an industrial project cannot be the same as for a project you produce yourself in your own workshop. I think that it fits with my other works because of its roughness. I decided to just take the naked engine and strap it in the cage ,which is a really spontaneous action, not something you can really design, so every fan gets its own personality. To come back to the question of the colour, here again the colour is only used on the straps to highlight this random spontaneous pattern.
Drag - process
Your work has most recently been in Milan, New York and Paris. What is next for you?
Next will be holidays! And after holidays will then be ExperimentaDesign in Lisbon. I will be part of the exhibition Lapse In Time curated by German designer Hans Maier-Aichen which will present a lot of very interesting works from established and emerging designers working in various areas of design. Fernandio Brizio is taking care of the exhibition design. It will be really good !
This is a fan