The portfolio of young designer Ariane Prin recently caught our eye with its variety, and carefully documented processes. A graduate of ENSAD; the National Superior School of Decorative Arts in Paris, she's spent time honing her art in Japan and is currently pursuing her Design Product Masters degree at the RCA inLondon.
Curious to find out more about her work, we asked Ariane a few questions...
Your work covers a number of disciplines. Product design; graphic design; arts installation; and it also ranges from practical improvements and everyday solutions to more abstract concepts. Do you lean more towards one discipline, or do you see your research and projects as a mixture of all of these? Is there a separation for you?
I think the behavior of being a designer is to have an open mind. I cannot limit myself to a very strict and constant way of thinking design. Our world is changing very fast and designers should follow these developments. For me, all disciplines influence each other whether they are on the arts or the science side. This is what gives richness to projects.
Your research also seems fantastically varied - from collecting kitsch bakery bags to latex and resin experiments. Does an idea for a project or product come out of these experiments, or do you conduct the research to refine an idea?
All my projects come from preliminary experiments. The collection of bakery bags dates from the time of the Ornamental Dishes project. I was interested in the concept of legitimacy through functionality of the decor. For Yourban Garden, I spent several months mistreating plants and trying to grow seeds everywhere in my apartment. For the Air Hair Machine, there were more than twenty forms that I tried in volume. I ended with three final shapes, but for me, it is still a work in progress.
I think that experimentations are the best way to understand how things work by yourself. If we do not even try out things, we just think that we know how something works
You've spent time studying in France, you're now at the RCA in the UK, but you've also spent time at the DECOBI Art and Craft School of Fugimi in Japan - what kind of work did you do there? Did you get a different perspective on design whilst you were in Japan?
My experience in Japan happened four years ago, and it still influences me today. I only stayed five months there but it was very intense. I went to open an educational exchange between DECOBI Art and Craft School and the National Superior School of Decorative Arts of Paris. I came to learn glass and ceramics techniques but I was older than the students on site so they suggested that I held my own exhibition inside the school.
They were the first to have trusted my work to give me my chance to have carte blanche, and to offer me the help of students and teachers to succeed in this project. The students learned more traditional and ancestral craft techniques than being creative, and I have used this fact as a studding subject for the Atarashii Koto exhibition I did there.
You seem to enjoy exploring unlikely pairings. You've bound literature to cake, and also, explored the layers of a meal via the idea of a Russian doll...
I think that a design project is rich when it is paired with something outside the design world. Design by design for design does not interest me. In my projects I had the opportunity to work with Japanese craftsmen, bakers, a biologist, hairdressers, acrobats and I am currently working with a psychologist.
I like to be where nobody expects me, and learn from the others. My role is then to filter their information and to keep what I think is essential for the project.
Your freelance work has seen you work with some major companies; Cartier, Cassina, Glemorangie... How were these experiences?
In the "freelance" part of my web site, there are projects for which I have been contacted, and others where I worked for designers such as Mathieu Lehanneur, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Eric Benqué or Claudio Colucci who was called by those brands.
Unfortunately it is difficult for a young designer to work directly for famous brands. Usually they prefer to rely on the reputation of a recognized designer. But how can we become recognized if nobody trusts us? I have the feeling that firms take less and less risk, especially in this time of economic crisis. I will gladly work for major companies, because most of them support historical values and particular techniques of production in a search for contemporaneity.
In 2011 you'll be set to graduate from the RCA. What's next for you?
Ideally I would love to have my own studio or to share one, but I do not know where yet. It will depend on the opportunities I have. It is never easy to start from a financial point of view, but I hope that my venturing out is worth the risk.