« Artisans achieve that which could be achieved with industry, were it only in a healthy condition ».
François Azambourg’s quote resonates particularly now, at the moment he has decided to launch his own line of furniture and objects, in association with business partners Stéphanie Failloux and Tamer Amr. Many of François’s objects have remained as prototypes, due to the complexity (read « unprofitable ») that their manufacture represents for today’s industrial manufacturers. It is therefore tempting to search for an original economic model which would make these pieces more accessible.
Beginning early in his career to research into means of improving the saxophone’s ergonomics, François Azambourg began the fabrication of numerous prototypes for this project. He then equipped his atelier with a host of conventional machines and sculptor tools : a wood-lathe, a milling machine etc. Naturally evolving in this setting, he has built his prototypes in-house, beginning with the Lamp Inga. Made from a single block of turned maple, this object marks the launch of his own collection.
The pieces presented in this self-produced collection follow the evolution of François Azambourg’s career, without detracting from the vast body of projects edited by the many prestigious editors he habitually works with. One can only be struck by the abundance of what we are seeing, as well as the variety of methods employed, which bear witness to an approach anchored in an ongoing interest in the ever-changing world of techniques and savoir-faire.
In effect, the work of François Azambourg is a tireless exploration of technique - craftsmanship and methods of production - which he defines as a « world before the signs » : « Technique may be the bridge between the living and the universe ».
Hence, even if based on a primitive world preceding signs, this approach is authentically contemporary, in that it brings up to date those themes which profoundly mark our human sensitivities. For each object, its movement and form are pre-existent ; its mechanisms and fabrication are merely temporary solutions, hence the search for and interest in archetypes. The mechanical is only a means to resolving a technical problem, and not an end in itself. Therefore, to François Azambourg, the objective of design should be the embodiment of the object… sometimes merely the possibility of the object.
Living « normally » makes no sense, since life itself contradicts norms. Harkening back to infancy, the toy or plaything according to François Azambourg should be seen as the first opportunity for « production ». Not production with the contemporary commercial implications of consumption, but rather production to create, by means of the game, of experimentation and imagination, the very conditions of work itself. It is in this context, via his intellectual and creative engagement, that launching his own line today is particularly meaningful to François Azambourg.
* based upon the French text of Philippe Louguet