CV of Patrick Jouin
It’s no fluke that Patrick Jouin was born on June 5, 1967 in Nantes, a city with the motto, “May Neptune favour those who sail.” After graduating from the École Nationale de la Création Industrielle (ENSCI) in 1992, the designer founded his own agency in 1998 in the 11th arrondissement in Paris. Since then it has grown into a reference on the international stage. Patrick Jouin stands out through his refined and sometimes bold designs, mentally joining the mortises and tenons of his productions as elegantly and skilfully as he organises their material layout.Patrick Jouin’s designs have never been about making a statement: they are not allegorical and do not herald a new era embodied in objects or a space. Yet he is not an artist in a position of withdrawal or humility that would put his production at a distance. He conveys an aesthetic, a story, in a process that refuses to cast into oblivion the forms which the 20th century invented.It might seem unusual to claim that at the height of modernity—the nerve centre of consumer society that is design—lies a melancholic sensitivity. Yet we must accept that modernity generates its own tales and myths. The more it progresses and develops its implacable logic, the more it provokes an inward-looking vision of a bygone industrial world, one that bore the utopia of mechanical mastery, a happy and vitalist world. Patrick Jouin does not try to create manifest forms—massive yet seemingly invisible, because decontextualised then reinterpreted—for a very different world: the luxury sector. This is an aesthetic that brings back incongruous forms to create a play on discord, thereby moving away from the flat, prosaic reality of the contemporary world where everything merges in immediate non-differentiation.Patrick Jouin deploys an industrial formal sensitivity that intervenes in other fields in small doses. He is a designer who selects mass-industrial machinery forms—blast furnaces, turbines, chimney stacks, modules, moulds, series, forges—to integrate them into the world of chic luxury in sometimes monstrous, sometimes discreet, sometimes ghostly fragments. His trademark style aims to spread beyond this world to become a separate institutionalised or decorative activity. It allows the mass-industrial space to be contemplated as a source of strange beauty. The meaning and beauty of this work must thus be sought at the point of tension between two worlds—factories and luxury—in the dynamic of mirror images reflected between them. These spaces must be read as a close combat between two worlds. Times and worlds seem contracted, an overlap between work and leisure time, factory forms and luxury aesthetic. The myth of a golden industrial age thus becomes a contemplative system. This work exploits the imagination of the 20th century via the fragment, as a form serving the nostalgia of a lost unity.