words Anna Bates
Design Parade is like a summer camp for designers. Housed in French modernist Robert Mallet-Stevens’ Villa Noailles at Hyères in the south of France, this annual event comprises a “play space”, in which an established designer is invited to experiment with their work, and a design competition for recent graduates.
Now in its fourth year, Design Parade invited the Berlin-based designer Jerszy Seymour to come up with a playful intervention at the Villa. He was given the squash court, swimming pool and two weeks in which to make something. He made his journey to Hyères part of the design process, driving over with his team, a few of his products and collecting found objects along the way. On arrival, the van was off-loaded into the swimming pool – a stark contrast to the clean modernist surroundings. In the squash courts, Seymour invited visitors to play with his favourite material, molten plastic, usually dripped by the designer over forms to make furniture. Here, its destination was the wall.
The international young design showcase took place inside the vaulted rooms of the Villa, and featured work by nine recent graduates. Most of them were French with one exception, Spanish designer Oscar Diaz. He was favourite to win, entering an ingenious lighting system that allows you to clip lights to an overhead electric ribbon whenever you need to – but he lost out to French designer Antoine Boudin, who created an extremely pared-down tubular steel garden chair, inspired by the Villa’s original furniture. Maybe not such a surprising choice, given that Jasper Morrison was head judge.