Designing and manufacturing go hand in hand. This fundamental dexterity that links brains and hands is now available to the research sector, notably thanks to the reactivity and efficiency of design and digital production tools. Designing function and form are no longer two successive, potentially separate stages overseen by different teams, but the work of one single leadership in the same space and time: design is finally central to the company’s design process. A shining example with the i2R laboratory, IA incubator of innovation that marks a departure implemented by the EDF, the interior design of which has been entrusted to the French studio GGSV. When the French public sector breaks with received ideas to equip themselves with flexible and visionary research tools.
The i2R laboratory is a Fab Lab workshop (abbreviated form of fabrication + laboratory) piloted by in-house designers. It aims to establish new means of research within the R&D think tank at EDF: to generate and materialize hypotheses that anticipate future behavioural, technological, environmental and societal breakthroughs in the energy sector.
Studio GGSV has therefore maximized the spatial organization of the place around the different design/ manufacturing phases by choosing a central point, the table, to deliver workshops, “We have allocated a space to each phase of the creative process: contemplation; research; design; experimentation; production… to allow constant connections between the different project components– conceptual, technical, aesthetic. The creative process is not a linear mode of thinking. It changes course and veers of a tangent. The space therefore acts as a creative punch bag, a set of equipment to coerce the dialogue from the brain to the hand,” sum up Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard, the founding duo of Studio GGSV.
The creative design process is becoming visible. A design and demonstration space, the incubator of Innovation physically interprets the innovation process and the tools available. A central zone is dedicated to collective design then the space is structured into peripheral mini-workshops shaping the different project production phases: rapid prototyping; demo and assembly; digital measurements and tests; material resource centre and image processing. A wall of books provides technical and creative resources (books and materials), whilst the alcove houses a small modular room to relax and/or discuss.
The resulting space is designed to be the coherent support necessary for bustling and lively cerebral activity: “The design development process requires constant comings and goings between the conceptual, technical and aesthetical dimensions. A workspace where brainstorming, experimentation and production can be deployed on the same topography must be established,” according to GGSV. The incubator for innovation thus initiated and accelerated over thirty projects in 2014, ranging from the development of new technology systems using renewable energy, to deploying innovative services for the end customer, not forgetting the development of connected objects that enable the consumer to partake. Today it is mainly devoted to Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Territories.
Studio GGSV was founded by Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard in 2011. Their association offers an atypical approach from curatorship to research design, winning the VIA 2011 Carte Blanche with the project ‘Objet Trou Noir’ (Black Hole Object). ‘Our work oscillates between concrete proposals and distinct projects. We seek forms that offer several interpretations. The material is our main concern’. Distributors are Made in Design, Petite Friture and Galerie Catberro. They recently designed the interior of an art centre in Aix-en-Provence and La Commune, the Aubervilliers National Centre for Dramatic Art. Gaëlle Gabillet teaches design at the ESAD in Reims and Stéphane Villard directs the project workshop INFORME at ENSCI-Les Ateliers.
In 2014, Studio GGSV was honoured with the Paris Shop & Design Prize, awarded by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in the ‘Hotel’ category for their upgrade of the bar at the hotel Ibis Styles Bercy. The duo is furthermore guest curator for the next Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial, they will present an exhibition called ‘Form follows Information’ from 12th March to 12th April 2015.Designer: Studio GGSV [Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard]
Photographer: Samy Rio