objects with a soul


”Simple“ theme: AtFAB, 5-30 Minute Chair, 2011 / 2013 (left); Konstantin Grcic, Step Ladder, 1995 (right); Hella Jongerius, T-Set, 2003 (on the ground); Sabine Meyer, Vogeldach Just for Birds, 2001

The Gaîté lyrique in Paris and the Centre national des arts plastiques (French National Centre for Visual Arts - CNAP) have invited Edelkoort Exhibitions to take a unique and original look at the CNAP’s design and decorative arts collection in a new exhibition. As Lidewij Edelkoort explains, “Design can be seen as an oracle that reveals our times. It can be ultra-light when we’re travelling easy, plump when we need protection, conventional to provide reassurance, intimate to better cuddle us. It is meditative to appease us, figurative to delight us, absurd to challenge us and natural so that we form attachments. It can also become virtual so as to transport us.”


The design collection of the CNAP, one of the largest in Europe, reflects the diversity and transformation of the contemporary world. Edelkoort’s prospective and eclectic approach is in keeping with the spirit of this collection, acquiring the most important forms of artistic expression from the past thirty years, be they French or international, in order to build the cultural heritage of tomorrow. While objects in dialogue and new manufacturing methods open up fresh perspectives of society, Design Oracles brings together objects embedded with a prophetic power to anticipate or reveal our key lifestyles and the domestic landscape at large. Edelkoort’s approach draws from the CNAP‘s rich collection and seeks to reflect the trends and changes that bridge our two centuries. Questioning the notion of an object in an age of flux and information is more important than ever before to better understand the challenges our constantly evolving world faces.

To accompany the Design Oracles exhibition, la Gaîté lyrique and the CNAP have collaborated with Pyramyd Éditions and Edelkoort to publish a new and visual book on contemporary design; illustrating how these objects are embedded with a soul and possess the ability to come to life (27.50 EUR). As part of public programming, ARTE is taking part by presenting films curated by Edelkoort from its Design collection, narrating the twentieth century through the industrial objects that have left their mark upon it. Also presented is a selection of portraits from the ”L’Art et la Manière“ (Art and Methods) series, taking place on Sunday afternoons during the exhibition.


DESIGN ORACLES is on show at the Gaîté lyrique in Paris from April 3 to August 16, 2015


Purchase the Design Oracles Book (27.50 € - French)
Download the English Press Release
International Press Requests & Images

All images taken from the CNAP’s permanent collection - styling: Sergio Machado - photos © Lisa Klappe / CNAP


”Inflated“ theme: 5.5 Designers, Weight Cloning cushion, 2008 (left); Jurgen Bey, Vacuum Cleaner chair, 2004 (right); Quasar, Chesterfield, 1967 (background)


”Mutant“ theme: Patrick Jouin, Solid C2 chair, 2004; Cédric Ragot, Flight 815, 2006 – 2007 (centre); Vogt + Weizenegger, Sinterchair, 2002 (right)


”Naive“ theme: Philippe Starck, Attila, 1999 (left); Studio Job, Wheelbarrow, 2001 (right); Maarten Baas, Clay Floor Fan, 2006 (background)


”Abstract“ theme: matali crasset, Nature morte à habiter: (chaise longue) #3, 2007 (left); Atelier Van Lieshout, AVL Bar Stool, 2003 (centre); Marc Newson, Orgone II armchair, 1998 (right)