Photo © Gianluca Di Loia, 2019


The installation reconnects with a spirit: both to take back and reclaim, belonging simultaneously to a certain French spirit and to design as a discipline: linking thought to formatting.
Each proposal identifies transmission as an essential virtue of vigilance and hope. Each project is related to a major human sciences theory that is incarnated by a figure from French humanities: these discrete “whistleblowers” upheave “concrete thought”.


When tackling complex projects that deal with environmental and human issues, design research needs to operate on different timescales in order to consider prospective transformations. This doesn’t change the nature of the discipline but rather expands its missions, its imperatives and its process. The resulting practice no longer supplies the marketplace, it provides food for thought for future design approaches.

In these new dimensions, France advantageously holds its theory and roots in the alliance of applied arts and human sciences. A rich descent of thinkers distinguished themselves though these issues, from Deleuze and Guattari to Philippe Descola or Bruno Latour. The young generations addressing these topics today, from Emanuele Coccia, Samir Boumediene to Tristan Garcia, converse with creators. Designers are reading them.


The reflective surface of textes and projects extends and houses design. It is of course because the built or planned surfaces of our towns and countryside are constantly bent to our thoughts, our projects and our power of imagination, that they instruct us to pay attention to their fragility.

Case study days



Study day, March 18th at the Triennale, Milano, Italy [10:30 AM – 9 PM] 


Program of the day


Design research, which handles complex projects dealing with ecological and human issues, requires different operating times to think about the transformations to come. There is a broad range of practices in the discipline: they become textual, experimental, anthropological, media-based, film-based and digital and can be set out in situ or in the laboratory.

France has the advantage of its thinking and roots in the alliance of applied arts and human sciences. A rich lineage of philosophers have distinguished themselves on these issues, from Deleuze and Guattari to Philippe Descola or Bruno Latour. The youngest generations who speak about these topics today and whose work is read by the creators, from Emanuele Coccia and Samir Boumediene to Tristan Garcia, discuss with the designers.

The day at the Triennale, or meeting formats in other French institutes, hopes to give an account by giving the floor and the possibility of dialogue to these philosophers of text, form, etc.




Nature, knowledge and meanings


Based on knowledge and a history that places plants at the centre of various transfers and mediations, this part looks at the historical and contemporary issues of knowledge, its economic implications, its “management”, its powers and the possibilities of opposing powers that have developed from their knowledge.


  • Introduction Catherine Geel

  • Emanuele Coccia, philosopher (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) The life of plants. Symmetric Agriculture. How each species cultivates the others.







  • Astrid de la Chapelle, designer and developer and Pauline Briand, environmental consultant. 163km2



Book signing at the bookshop between 14:00 and 15:00:

  • Extended French Theory and the Design Field on Nature and Ecology.
    With Emanuele Coccia, Anthony Masure, Clément Gaillard and Catherine Geel.
  • Design. From Nature to Environment
    With Marie-Sarah Adenis, Astrid de La Chapelle, Pauline Briand, Justinien Tribillon, David Enon.



Ecology, system and network


If you consider or compare the systemic abilities of nature and artificial ones put together by human groups, you must ask how the researcher, the philosopher or the creator can determine their possible contributions to an understanding or projects that are not “managers” of nature? factories, dreams, knowledge, reflection, etc.


  • Introduction Clément Gaillard


  • Marie-Sarah Adenis, designer and biologist (PILI). From factory cells to cell factories


  • David Enon, designer. Mineral Accretion Factory



  • Justinien Tribillon, urbanist, writer, editor, and co-founder of Migrant Journal. Migrant Journal
  • Discussion overseen by Olivier Peyricot



Performance (20:00)


Performance in English with French subtitles 


Matters (Duncan Evennou, Clémence Hallé, Benoît Verjat)
Matters is a solo performance which, in a polyphonic assemblage, gives form and body to the archives of the inaugural meeting of the Anthropocene Working Group, which took place in 2014 in Berlin. The actor situates and then transforms the historical, scientific and political voices of the members of the group, playing with the sensitivity of their words, and shifting from their narratives to their hesitations, their silences or their mockery. He makes light of the frictions of thinking that occur when the sciences get up on stage.
The performance benefited from a residency during the Théâtre de l’Anthropocène at the La Fabrique de Théâtre in Belgium (with Yes Men and Franck Bauchard) and in spring 2018 at the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers.




TO REPAIR : SPECIAL « TRIENNALE FRENCH SECTION » Design as a large ring to begin the Ecologies Series


Case study, March 20th at La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris [19:00]


The evening will attend to the question of repairing, as an act of caregiving and a response to environmental crimes, ecocides even cosmocides, the destruction of living environments. Inviting artists, theorists and practitioners to report on their research on these topics.




Researcher and architect Nabil Ahmed has developed a forensic ecology in order to produce tangible evidence of invisible contaminations, and is conducting a transdisciplinary research project on ecocides in the Pacific region.


The artist Maria Lucia Cruz Correia created the show Voice of nature: the trial, a set of artistic and speculative proposals around environmental justice and climate crimes.


Anthropologue, Head of research and silver medal of the CNRS 2018, Barbara Glowczewski leads researchs about Australian land since 1979.


Notre affaire à tous is one of the N.G.O wich want to take a legal action against the French State about the « inaction »in front of climates changes. Co-founded by the activist Marie Toussaint et the legal expert Valérie Cabanes, the association is a reference regarding climatic and environmental justice.

Books published

Extended French Theory & the Design Field… On Nature and Ecology. A Reader.
Eds: C. Geel & Clément Gaillard
Graphic designer: Building Paris
352 Pages



Through an anthology composed of French authors translated into English,   constitutes a panorama of references on nature, ecology and the relationship between environments and individuals. These readings are used in the field of research in or on design. This unprecedented exercise in the discipline seems, to the group of researchers gathered around this work, useful both to a wider circle of disciplines and the curious. If thought born and developed in France always distinguishes itself by its specificity and influence, its thematic gathering in a Reader is an academic exercise that is less successful than in the Anglo-Saxon world.


The Triennale di Milano (1st March – 1st September 2019) highlights in particular in 2019 the national pavilion tradition. Allowing therefore, through the circulation of texts and projects, a particular vision of the French spirit that defends and feeds this anthology for purposes of French representation. The edition of Extended French Theory & the Design Field… On Nature and Ecology supports and complements a dimension of design as a reflective discipline, by the printed distribution of its sources in the Humanities. It reveals, by gathering and diffusing this selection of fundamental written work, their indispensability for projects and a necessary exigency in order to consider reflectively the complexity or our environments. The selection of writings grouped in this anthology is the result of a reflexion initiated by a group of young researchers, practitioners and theorists from French research units. The juxtaposition of texts by some thirty authors, philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, psychoanalysts, whose written language is French, is guided through thematic partitioning that offers an initial key input to the publication. The anthology proposes 8 unpublished texts and is divided into 5 sections, each of which is introduced by members of the group of researchers.




I. Ecology and Nature


Alain Badiou I 2000-2001 (Published for the first time)
Quentin Meillassoux I 2018 (translated for the first time in English)
Philippe Descola I 2013
Claude Imbert I 2008 (translated for the first time in English)
Gilles Deleuze I 1953 (translated for the first time in English)


II. General Economy


Georges Bataille I 1949
André Gorz I 2008
Jean-Baptiste Vidalou I 2017 (translated for the first time in English)
Tristan Garcia I 2016
Michel Serres I 1997


III. Field, places, in situ


Vinciane Despret I 2012
Emanuele Coccia I 2016
Barabara Glowczewski I 1999
Henri Lefebvre I 1963 I
Bruno Latour I 1993
André Corboz I 1983


IV. Overall Technology


Vilém Flusser I 1984 I (translated for the first time in English)
Pierre-Damien Huyghe I 2011 (translated for the first time in English)
André Leroi-Gourhan I 1964
Gilbert Simondon I 1958
Bernard Stiegler I 1996


V. Ecology and Violence


Grégoire Chamayou I 2010
Mathieu K. Abonnenc I 2014 (translated for the first time in English)
Samir Boumediene I 2016 I (translated for the first time in English)
Antoinettre Rouvroy and Thomas Berns I 2013
Édouard Glissant I 1981












Design. De la nature à l’environnement. Nouvelles Définitions.
Design. From Nature to Environment. New Definitions.
Eds : C; Geel &Elizabeth Hale
Layout : Karl Nawrot assisted by Thomas Hanus
300 Pages



Numerous thinkers, from Philippe Descola to Bruno Latour, to Jean-Baptiste Vidalou have observed that Nature is a concept that has gone bankrupt, that the “science of the concrete” (Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind, 1962) is perhaps more important.
Through 9 projects, this publication explores how design as a discipline, when seeking to consider nature, ecology and environments, shifts the boundaries of practices: from field to thought, from scientific facts to their representation or activation, metropolitan France to Réunion, from France to Asia, South America …


Like the anthropologist in a sense, the designer, the architect or the urban planner goes from the field to the lab bench, the workshop or the computer desk in order to develop forms. All these movements affirm the identity of designers who are concerned about the ongoing of the World: who observe, bear witness, transform. Who produce, but differently. These modest adventurers look at the heterogeneity of situations, as no place resembles another but each place teaches something that will be carried forward. This is what is called experience, not the one that “lives” for a given time in a shop, a package tour or an amusement park, but one that grows over time and is reinvested in each journey. Making it possible to establish new definitions from where they are evolving…


The architects, urbanists and designers present have collaborated actively with sufficient confidence in the editorial project and pavilion to search, sort and entrust the elements that document their project. The book is thus an organised archive.


Design School exhibitions



In the world today, repairing Nature is a major concern for the world of design that the Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature, has chosen to explore. Around the world, the current generation of students are investigating, experimenting, testing, speculating and proposing projects on this major issue.


The commissioner of the French section of this Triennale “De la pensée au visible. Design As A Large Ring” suggested that the subject reaches beyond the pavilion and that texts, words and projects are taken outside. In connection with the French Ministry of Culture, the Institut français in Milan has chosen to host the most remarkable projects from three French schools* on the major theme of Nature and ecology from 1st March to 15th April 2019, like an echo, an escape, a future already here, carrying contemporary and specific forms beyond the Triennale.
With such an urgent and sometimes also quite politically correct theme, the line on which these projects are developed is narrow. But design forms a large circle capable of encompassing some of the complexities at work on these topics. The discipline amplifies these issues and the ways of doing things evolve. Designers develop other practices which are supported by the schools: based on collection, exploring the sensitive circulation of materials, energies of the living and speculations. They change the paradigms of production. The projects do not just supply the goods market, they also feed the reflection on critical methods for future ways of designing.


* L’École nationale supérieure des Arts décoratifs – EnsAD (Paris) L’École nationale supérieure de Création industrielle – ENSCI-Les Ateliers (Paris) L’École supérieure d’Art et de design Saint-Étienne (ESADSE, Saint-Étienne)


MATTER MATTERS – Matière(s) à pEnser/pAnser


Towards a design of material ecology: from matter to material.

*A selection of student-designer projects, created between 2016 and 2018 from the École nationale supérieure de création industrielle, l’Ensci-Les Ateliers:


Calcaires, Léo Sexer, project for a degree in Industrial Design, 2018.
Data Grass Project, Barbara Cerlesi, project completed as part of the Design and Research Workshop.
Au fil de l’eau : matières marines, Axelle Gisserot, project for a degree in Textile Design, 2018.
Terre de Paris, Andreane Vallot, project completed as part of the “Formless” Workshop, 2016.
Substances salines, Annelise Légaré, project for a degree in Industrial Design, 2017.
Explorations galalithiques, Marion Seignan, project for a degree in Industrial Design, 2018.
Poudres aux yeux, Xavier Montoy, project for a degree in Industrial Design, 2018.
The Coconut Alternatives, Guillemette de Brabant, project for a degree in Industrial Design, 2018.


Curator: Elena Tosi Brandi, designer and teacher, Ph.D ENSCI-Les Ateliers 

Artistic direction and graphic conception : Elena Tosi Brandi, Barabra Cerlesi 
Set design: Under direction of Léo Sexer -Ensci and Audrey Brugnoli-ENSAD

#mattermatters #enscimattermatters #enscibrokennature




BEYOND DESIGN. Questioning Design for Human Survival


*A selection of student-designer projects, created between 2016 and 2018 from the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs de Paris:


In Ficto Silico, Audrey Brugnoli and Eléonore Geissler, project for a degree in Product Design and Printed Image, 2018.
Alter objets – faire l’expérience de l’artificiel, Erwan Peron, project for a degree in Product Design, 2018.
Alma, matière algorithmique, Louis Charron, project for a degree in Product Design, 2018.
Pearling, Émile De Visscher, PhD SACRE ENSADlab project, 2018.
Curator: Anna Bernagozzi, teacher





*A selection of student-designer projects, from the École supérieure d’art et de design de St Étienne.


L’Orgue de Larsen – Thomas Barbé (DNSEP design média 2018)

Présentation du 1er au 9 mars

Potagia – Martin Sauvadet (DNSEP design objet 2018)

Présentation pendant le Salone del Mobile du 9 au 14 avril

Graal – Thomas Larbain (DNSEP design objet 2018)

Présentation pendant le Salone del Mobile du 9 au 14 avril.


Curator: Claire Peillot, Head, ESADSE


MARCH 1 –APRIL 14  2019


Opening Hours :


Till April 6, tuesday- saturday  [12:00- 19:00]

From April 8 to April 14 (Design Week) [10:00-20:00]


Institut Français Milano

Corso Magenta, 63 – 20123 Milano



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