THE CELEBRATED DESIGNER CREATED STUNNING PLATE DESIGNS FOR LA MANUFACTURE DE SÈVRES:
Philippe Apeloig once designed a scarf for Hermès in 2014, using the page layout of “Fragments d’un discours amoureux” (A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments” by Roland Barthes, arriving at a brilliant geometrical pattern. Thus, he is well acquainted with the abstraction and reimagination of references that are both esoteric and ordinary.
If you are familiar with Apeloig’s dynamic posters and typography created over the span of several decades, you might be surprised to learn that his designs for La Manufacture de Sèvres don’t bear any lettering. Instead, he used the slashes and punctuation marks often present in his typefaces to produce three superb rhythmic motifs that mirror the fluidity of his art.
Apeloig was inspired by the porcelain maker’s iconic “Diane” service plate when he considered how the circular shape would dictate the placement of his patterns.
“Tourbillon”, for example, features 24-carat gold slashes that spread outward and curve like a cresting wave, while the pointillist array growing from the blue surface of “Galaxie” demonstrates how grammatical dots can be arranged as cosmic scenery. Meanwhile, “Paille” presents itself with elongated hyphens that resemble a fine sprinkle of sprigs.
In a conversation with Wallpaper* Magazine, Philippe Apeloig explained that parameters such as kerning (or spacing) became essential in the process of achieving a kinetic impression with each creation.
“It’s like frozen motion,” he said. “It’s interesting to limit yourself to one element and see all that you can do. This is typography as well; I just didn’t want to write something in words”.
Romane Sarfati, the general director of the Cité de la céramique Sèvres et Limoges extended this collaborative invitation to Apeloig after she saw his drawings and watercolours in a Galerie de Multiples show in Paris in the spring of 2016. According to Yves Mirande, the porcelain manufacturer’s director of culture and communication, Ms Sarfati recognised the synergy inherent to Apeloig’s work, noting that he is the first graphic designer to create an entire series.
These superb plates are also a gentle nod to famed Japanese artist Hokusai, not just in the wave but also in the broad arrangement of minimalist patterns.
There are also very interesting production aspects to take into consideration when looking at these beautiful plates. For “Tourbillon”, the gold slashes continue around the downward edge of the plates, as a result of photosensitive printing. “Galaxie” and “Paille”, on the other hand, were engraved to enhance the depth of the precious gold detail.
High-gloss and slightly concave in all five sizes available, these three plates manage to absorb Apeloig’s serene markings into their own self-contained volumes.
Philippe Apeloig didn’t design the set just for the sake of art – on the contrary, they are meant to be used for food of a similar high standard. He intentionally avoided concentrating the pattern activity at the centre of the plates, for example, making sure they’re not “over-designed”.
His reproduced signature is present on the reverse side, complementing the Sèvres branding. The new designs are exhibited as part of “Typography: Apeloig à Sèvres”, on view until 29th July. For more information, visit the Galerie de Sèvres’ website. These beautiful plates have surely made it at the top of our wish list for sure.
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