Fabien Cappello’s colorful patterns and vernacular design at Design Parade Hyères

Fabien Cappello’s colorful patterns and vernacular design at Design Parade Hyères
Fabien Cappello’s colorful patterns and vernacular design at Design Parade Hyères

It’s a storm of wallpaper swirling on the walls of the squash court. An optical hurricane of patterns, geometries and multicoloured pixels from floor to ceiling that envelop us to better vibrate with their multiplied visual waves. A feast for the eyes that the brain struggles to analyse, hence the almost hallucinatory but delightful effects. No furniture, there has never been any in squash, on the other hand, a laying of the strips that respects the exterior lines and the service lines of the court. It’s a good start to understand the work of Fabien Cappello, a French designer based in Guadalajara, Mexico, for whom it is a question of creating “sustainable and culturally significant objects in keeping with places and people.” Objects, here wallpapers, interest the designer less than their potential to generate moments, and that includes moments, places, the public and, above all, the people who make them. “In the squash class we created what I consider a kind of ‘design archive’ of surface patterns that we have used in different projects over the last five years, the different patterns have been enlarged and applied to the walls.” So, surface coverings are just paper, they are infinitely modifiable, yet they define the entire space.

LUC BERTRAND

Rather than working with traditional weavers or ceramicists—totemic figures of Mexico’s mythical material identity—Cappello seeks out the cottage industries that form the basis of countless urban microeconomies. The key is unexpected applications of materials so quotidian that most people don’t even include them in design conversations. That means imagining acidic surface patterns to print on durable polyester velvet, produced in the industrial city of Lerma by a company that specializes in, among other things, upholstery fabrics for passenger buses, and that will be seen on the sofas and armchairs in the furniture displayed in the pool. They could just as easily be used in airports or hospital waiting rooms. The furniture pieces displayed in the pool, then, combine rolls of fabric made 10,000 km away with pieces loaned, donated, found here and there in and around Hyères and assembled at the Villa. “These are not collectibles, this is not an exhibition. This is a collective living room, a place to sit, talk and think.” Objects are the catalysts, we are invited to share a moment there. They are called to another life later.

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