Design Parade: France’s latest ideas and talents

contre soiree, rodolphe parente, dining room

The dining room interpreted by Rodolphe Parente in his personal Contre-soirée in Toulon © Grégoire Couvert

The dual festivals devoted to design and interior design have made their return to Hyères and Toulon. All you need to know about the Design Parade, as played out in meetings, exhibitions and the Design Prize scene

Design Parade has aced it again. The 16th edition of the International Design Festival in Hyères, the beating heart of which is the magnificent Villa Noailles, designed in 1923 by the brilliant Robert Mallet-Stevens, and the 6th edition of the International Interior Design Festival held around the city of Toulon got the summer season off to a fine start in the name of peerless design, with a packed and original calendar of events, channelling past and present design innovation for the delectation of a host of experienced professionals and the simply curious.  

Villa noailles, boutique, françois Champsaur

Villa Noailles boutique designed by François Champsaur © Luc Bertrand

The twin festivals boast a packed programme of events, starting with the awards for the two competitions – for product  design and interior design. Two juries made up of famous international figures and members of the visiting public are given an opportunity to vote on the 20 projects displayed in the two main venues – Villa Noailles in Hyères and the Ancien Évêché in Toulon.


The jury sessions are opportunities for analytical and critical contemporary design evaluation, their comments providing insights of rare intensity and comparison. The award-winning object at  Hyères is pure poetry: Anima, by designers Claire Pondard (Switzerland) and Léa Pereyre (France), forges a connection between the digital age we’re living in and the physical vibrations of a mobile reminiscent of Alexander Calder, a suspended element activated by a sensor that picks up the movements of passers-by.


The interior installation, Sardine Sardine, from the French Madeleine Oltra and Angelo de Taisne, which offers pause for reflection and has gathered more plaudits, is in actual fact a camping tent designed down to the very last detail and boasting every possible comfort (with the support of excellent producers such as the Verrerie de Biot). Did the amazing aesthetics reminiscent of Wes Anderson's films prevail or the need to experiment with new solutions for tomorrow's living?

anima, Claire Pondard, Léa Pereyre, design parade

Anima by Claire Pondard and Léa Pereyre, winner of the Grand Prix of the Design Parade 2022 in Hyères © Grégoire Couvert

Of the many stand-out events, the writer has chosen to single out three in particular. During a conversation en plein air, the Dutch designer Ineke Hans, chair of the jury and guest of honour at Hyères with an extremely interesting solo exhibition, stressed the need for real commitment in regard to sustainability. Her response to questions from the public was perhaps the only possible one: “I don’t compromise anymore.”


At the Hôtel des Arts in Toulon, the exhibition Modern Interiors,1920-1930 draws on the Centre Pompidou design collection. The breath-taking pieces are given an extraordinary re-reading also thanks to the brilliant display of the designer, who brings colours, geometries and their own attention to the tiniest details to fashion one of the most interesting museum narratives of recent times. It is worth remembering that the façade of the historic building was revamped by another talented designer who really took off at this festival - Alexandre Benjamin Navet.


Lastly, few people will forget their taste of the apartment designed by the Parisian Rodolphe Parente, chairman of the jury and guest of honour in Toulon. His solo show, entitled Contre-Soirée, leveraged his personal and visionary approach, with industrial pieces and cold materials side by side with objects of affection, works of art and natural elements. Visitors would be advised to take it slowly in order to savour all his sometimes small or unexpected interventions, a source of huge inspiration.

Intérieurs Modernes, Hôtel des Arts, Toulon, design parade

Intérieurs Modernes,1920-1930, Hôtel des Arts in Toulon © Luc Bertrand

There’s also no shortage of sectoral brands – the design company cc-tapis is presenting one of its latest rugs in the Odd Matter studio exhibition. Barbara Minetto, Director of Marketing and Communication at the Veneto-based company Magis, is one of the members of the Hyères Design Parade jury, along with designers such as Ineke Hans and Inga Sempé, Jana Zielinski, Director of the Prague Designblok Festival, Tulga Beyerle, Director of the Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe and many other prominent figures on the international object and interior design scene.


The Festival of  Design in Hyères is open to the public until 4th September, while the Festival of Interior Design in Toulon closes at the end of October. An unmissable opportunity to organise a summer trip to the wonderful South of France, increasingly lively from a cultural point of view.  

sardine sardine, Madeleine Oltra, Angelo de Taisne, design parade

Sardine Sardine, by Madeleine Oltra and Angelo de Taisne, winning project of the Toulon Design Parade © Luc Bertrand

cc-tapis, odd matter, exhibition, solo show, design parade

Odd Matter's solo show presented at Villa Noailles. Among the pieces, the carpet made for cc-tapis © Gregoire Couvert

Ineke Hans, personal exhibition, solo show, design parade

A detail of the solo show by designer Ineke Hans, president of the Hyères Design Parade jury © Gregoire Couvert

Camille Chapuis, Céline Déprez, villa noailles, design parade

The staging of the finalist projects at the Villa Noailles. In the foreground, the work of Camille Chapuis and Céline Déprez © Grégoire Couvert

Atelier François Passolunghi, rattan, design parade

The Atelier François Passolunghi, specialized in rattan processing © Guillaume Ombreux

Thomas Morineau Barthelemy, toulon, interior design, festival

Among the finalists of the Toulon interior design festival, Thomas Morineau Barthelemy © Luc Bertrand

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25 July 2022