One of DP03’s exhibition Sèvres…a shape is the work of Pierre Charpin at the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres. Here, he tells us a little bit more about his project and what it was like to step into one of the oldest french manufactures.
New designs for the Sevres Manufactory.
It would not be giving away any secret or being indiscreet to say that to work for the Sevres National Manufactory, you need to be patient, and not be afraid (especially if you are a designer) of facing up to techniques, expertise, methods and ways of working that are more evocative of the pre-industrial era than the industrial or post-industrial age.
Personally, that suits me just fine. Basically, I’m not in such a hurry, although I haven’t got time to waste, obviously. It was during 2005, after some initial contact, that the new management of the Sevres National Manufactory gave me what was quite a specific commission: to work on the creation of new shapes (vases, bowls, dishes, plates…) that were intended to enter the rich heritage of shapes that the Manufactory makes available to artists or designers who are invited and are keen to produce a new design on a form that already exists.
Such a commission had not been given since the mid-1950’s. It was therefore a case of picking up where others had left off, carrying the story on to a new chapter.
Producing a form that was to be given a hypothetical future decor by a hypothetical future designer was like, to use the terms of the Manufactory and its traditions, producing an “unfinished” work.
This was precisely what attracted me…
Pierre Charpin. 2008
Display project for these new shapes for Design Parade 2008, villa Noailles, salon rose
© Pierre Charpin, 2008