Josephine Choquet, Designer
As longtime talent scouts in the field of design, we can say this with absolute confidence: There are only a handful of schools out there whose students consistently produce well-resolved, magazine-ready work. ECAL, of course, is one of them, and you’ll see several of its recent grads on Sight Unseen in the coming months, starting with today’s interview with Joséphine Choquet. We featured one of the French talent’s projects just before the holidays — a line of acetate sunglasses made in collaboration with another ECAL up-and-comer, Virgile Thévoz — but wanted to come back and finish the job with a short profile cementing her status as one to watch. Like many young designers these days, Choquet is particularly interested in old craft techniques and simple materials, which she then marries with her love of line, pattern, and contemporary art. Check out some of her past and present work below.Describe your most recent project and how it was made.
“This series of lamps, created for my diploma project, channels the ancestral know-how of glasses-makers. One gesture in particular fascinated me: They used to compare different kinds of tortoise shells under the light to find the exact color and pattern they were looking for. I made this object with acetate — which is replacing real tortoise, since it’s banned nowadays — that plays with modular elements to compare, as the craftsmen did, various tortoise-style motifs. You can use them to sculpt the light and the atmosphere according to your mood.”
Describe your next project and how you’re currently making it.
“I’m working with Virgile Thévoz again for this project, since it worked out pretty well the last time! We’re currently fascinated by a treatment applied to titanium, often regarded as a rainbow effect. This effect is a good starting point to make a range of mirrors, and we always wanted to work on mirrors. We’re also trying to work differently than we were taught to, in a more spontaneous way — like drawing shapes just for the sake of it, or using color just for the visual appeal. In fact, ‘visceral’ would describe our approach. The idea is to come up with a family of mirrors which explore this idea of colorful reflection.”
Tell us one thing that’s been inspiring you lately and why.
“I’m always inspired by contemporary art, especially minimal art such as (pictured above, from top) the installations of Keith Sonnier, the resins of Peter Alexander, the material treatments of Alicja Kwade, Becky Beasley’s use of wood, l’élégance de…? In fact, I’m rarely interested in industrial design, I always prefer interventions that are more focused on experimentation and offer another point of view.”
Name your favorite piece of design from the last 50 years, and tell us why you like it.
“Undeniably, the work of Donald Judd. He’s got a keen eye for proportions. I feel a righteousness I can’t describe when I’m looking at one of his pieces, whether it’s a piece of furniture or an installation. It’s this hidden simplicity which I really admire with his work, at least that’s how I interpret his work.”
Model for a display system Choquet proposed for Hérmès as part of a project at ECAL
Choquet’s Tense lamp, also designed at ECAL