Who is Messgewand and what do you do???
It’s a french collaborative practice based between Paris and Amsterdam and run by Romain Coppin and Alexis Bondoux.
We see ourselves as designers/researchers, who explore the concept of mental furniture, midway between functional sculpture and non functional design. We are interested in the way object design can influence the relationship we have to aesthetic appreciation.
Our experimentations are visualised using 3d, video, illustration, drawing, and sculpture. By doing so, we try to question the contemporary visual codes and rules used in the object design field. We search new aesthetic developments in order to take distance from formal conventions.
Each project is an opportunity to experiment and precise our personal design language. All these projects put together are determining a large research area located at the crossroads of many disciplines.
We use object design as a medium in order to answer to professional assignments as much as self-initiated projects with a critical approach toward modes of production and representation. Our objects can become a space, an image, a drawing, a painting, the main props of a music video, or a performance.
How did the Project Messgewand begin??
We met each other nine years ago in the applied arts school of Burgundy in France, where we spent three years studying. We got our master degree in the fine art school of Reims afterwards, in the object design department. From the beginning of our studies, we always considered them a bit too conventional.
It would always present design as an industrial tool, or a defined mental process to produce functional products. By doing objects, we were way more excited by questioning the aesthetics rules of design then answering a client’s functional need. That is why, it became really important and visceral for us to work on self-initiated projects in order to create our own radical world outside the school environment.
Three words to best describe your aesthetic?
Why the name Messgewand?
It’s a german word which relates to the outfit worn by the church priests. In french, it also translates to this kind of colourful and synthetics tank tops worn by sportsmen during their training. We have a fascination for aesthetic ambiguity, our work is trying to be constantly in between, always oscillating between sacred and cheap, where cheap is often a pedestal for the sacred. In our quest for radicality, this relation is helping us to mix mass culture and avant-garde in our projects.
Can you describe your artistic processes? How do you go about making these objects?
Most of the time our artistic approach is totally spontaneous. We build almost from nothing, just thanks to what we find around us. Often the only rule is to find a way to create something just from the chaos, from the leftover materials we get. We use our design background to hack the usual product design process of creating and making such as thinking - sketching - drawing - modelLing - making.
We see each step of it as a potential final proposal instead of having them linked in a global and closed production loop. For us, it is really more fulfilling to experiment all these mediums independently from each other by keeping them in an open relation, where they all have the same hierarchy regarding the notion of finality. One of our challenges is to display the results of our experimentations in some stages which are not the usual ones.
Experimenting seems to be a large stimulus for you guys? How important is experimentation in the process of designing?
Yes, it is probably one of the most fundamental founding principles of our collaboration. Because it was also something that was missing a lot in our education as objects designers. Experimentation was like a place where we could make whatever we wanted, far away from the product design constraints, and where we discovered our desires of radicality. Then it became more than a stage in our process of designing. It is rather something that embrace our entire practice. The part of experimentation in a project is an essential requirement to be satisfied or not by the final production. We need to feel it in each piece we make.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
You recently had a nice collaboration with Lente Kabinet Festival, what was your involvement there?
We were invited to take part in the art Programming of the festival. For the occasion, we designed a new installation in collaboration with two great artists Lou Buche and Kevin Bray, who are also very close friends of ours. This piece is the result of a discussion between flat images and real 3d objects which produces a powerful visual conversation. It is also a good illustration of the idea of maximalism that we all love. You can read some words from us here : https://glamcult.com/re-manipulate-to-re-engage/
One movie? One track? One book?
Mulholland drive - David Lynch - 2001
Neue Dimensionen - Techno Bert - 1990
La Chute - Albert Camus - 1956
Réalité - Mr.Oizo - 2014
Timbuktu - Ferrer & Sydenham - 2007
Notes on ‘Camp’ - Susan Sontag - 1964
Do you have any other fun collaborations coming up you can share with us?