Wit and Drama

Paris 1971: L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne


Soft power oblige, le 1er avril 1971 son Altesse royale, la princesse Margaret, inaugure « L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne » au musée du Louvre/Pavillon de Marsan. Vaste opération de propagande anglaise sur sol français et plus largement sur le territoire européen et ses marchés, la « scène moderne » du design anglais contribue à redessiner l’image de la « nouvelle Grande-Bretagne », notamment à travers le concept de la design consultancy. Co-organisée par le CCI et le Council of Industrial Design (CoID), L’idée et la forme est un événement structurant dans la quête épistémologique du jeune CCI. Pour le CoID elle est une ‘vitrine’ continentale des produits de l’industrie britannique conçus par le design industriel. Côté anglais, l’exposition affiche ce que déjà le philosophe Ralph Waldo Emerson avait remarqué chez les Anglais en 1833. Une vraie « passion pour l’utilitaire » et le fait qu’ils « ne représentent pas l’esprit moderne mais le constitue ». Côté français, l’exposition, dans toute sa dimension tutélaire, suscite auprès du design français, alors en pleine élaboration, un esprit d’émulation sans précédent, lequel proclamera son existence lors de l’exposition au titre éponyme Design français inaugurée six mois plus tard.

My thanks to Karine Bomel, director of the archives at the library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, for her commitment and helpfulness; to Géraldine Poels, in charge of scientific valorisation at INA Institut National de l’Audiovisuel; to Dennis Crompton, architect and member of Archigram Architects, for our discussions about the exhibition.

N.B.: Because of the health crisis prevailing throughout the preparation and writing of this essay, the Pentagram and Conran Design Group archives, as well as those of the Council of Industrial Design (kept at Brighton University) and the Royal College of Art, were inaccessible.


The exhibition L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne1 was put on at a moment when the unprecedented growth of the industrial countries (1945–1970) had reached its limits. The atmosphere following May 68 and the virulent questioning of consumer society inclined François Barré, director of the CCI, who had no doubt read and responded to Jean Baudrillard’s books The System of Objects (1968) and The Consumer Society (1970), to see the recurrent opening of design boutiques in Paris as a sign that French design – which he also felt was guilty of “parcellisation” – was going astray. As he saw it, this tended to reduce “the object of design to designing objects [which] obviously stems from an economic system founded […] on the accumulation of goods and the division of labour, competition between businesses and the deification of individuals.”2 To get out of this dead end, he stated quite clearly, it needed to follow the example of British design, “which has been prepared to sacrifice the spectacular in order to address more authentic problems: those of design as environment.”3 Indeed, where French design was struggling to get away from its individualist approach and lacked institutional support, the British State recognised design as an important lever of the national economy and supported it financially, notably through bodies such as the Council of Industrial Design (CoID). The eighth exhibition at the CCI, L’idée et la forme, offered a synthesis of this British model based on a multidisciplinary practice of design capable of bestowing coherence on an everyday environment conceived as modern, functional, communicative and civic, to such an extent that it became an export model.

Soft power and design

It so happens that 1 April 2021 marks the fortieth anniversary of the inauguration of L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne, which was opened by Princess Margaret on 1 April 1971 at the Musée du Louvre/Pavillon de Marsan.Fig. 1 At the time this royal presence dominated attention and, such is soft power, was the subject of a report on the eight o’clock news on the second TV channel of Frances’ ORTF.4 Her Royal Highness, who was greeted by the Minister for Cultural Affairs Jacques Duhamel and by Eugène Claudius-Petit, president of the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs (UCAD) and inspirer of the Centre de Création Industrielle (CCI)5, Fig. 2Fig. 3 read her speech – no less than an ode to the “modern scene” of English design – in perfect French before the flashes of the press photographers. She explained that because of the activities of her husband, Lord Snowdon,6 with the CoID in London, she had been frequenting the world of design for some ten years. It was therefore as a princess aware of its importance that she pointed out “[…] the very scope of the creative spirit to be found in design in Great Britain […].” She considered the exhibition “serious” and praised the “differences of style and atmosphere from one gallery to another.” She expected visitors to be impressed by the image of this “new Great Britain” but what really mattered was that they should buy the products on show in the shops, because “the industrial designer can only really play his role fully if the work he creates ends up for sale.”7 Just over a hundred and twenty years after the inauguration of the exhibition in the Crystal Palace, on 1 May 1851, the English maintained their approach: to promote the creations of British industry by means of design, under the symbolic and influential auspices of the Royal Family.

Entente cordiale. Reboot

The starting point of the exhibition L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne was a joint desire on the part of the French and the British to put on an exhibition of British design at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. First of all, François Mathey, the museum’s head curator, driven by a spirit of emulation, expressed the “great interest” felt in France for the actions of the Design Centre, which, he said, “deserve to be better known.” He expressed his preference for “the more original and […] less well known – because less commercial – paths of English design,” and in particular, “current researches and experiments.”8 The museum’s contact with Colin Hugues-Stanton, editor of the journal Design,9 itself almost a mouthpiece of the CoID,10 appears to have been one of the catalysts for this event. Michael Tree, director of exhibitions at the Design Centre in London, also expressed the desire to exhibit English design at the Louvre and travelled over to Paris.11 The prospect of an exhibition aroused such enthusiasm that Paul Reilly, director of CoID, said he “felt a real entente cordiale.”12 The exchanges between the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, often represented by Yolande Amic, the curator there, and the Council of Industrial Design, began in 1969,13 just before the CCI’s inaugural exhibition, Qu’est-ce que le design ?14

The possibility of an exhibition of French design in the UK was mentioned in the early stage of discussions. The upshot was an official invitation from Paul Reilly to François-Xavier Ortoli, Minister of Industrial and Scientific Development, to “organise an exhibition of modern French industrial design at the Design Centre [in] London.”15

Wit and drama: the genesis of the project

A vast propaganda operation, the exhibition L’idée et la forme was seen as an “important Franco-British encounter.”16 It was organised on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Relations Office, which at the time handled questions of international development, and by the Central Office for Information (COI),17 which was the British government’s marketing and communication agency.18

The CoID and the Department of Education and Science at the Ministry of Technology19 also collaborated. The first organised L’idée et la forme and was the main interlocutor of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. The second, responsible for encouraging and supervising education and civil society in the United Kingdom, completed this complex and politicised governmental conglomerate. Its strategy can be seen as having three prongs: promoting the UK through design; winning new customers in the Common Market; and demonstrating the value of using design as a way of connecting technology and individuals and therefore of educating the public towards this end.

L’idée et la forme must be representative of the admirable material and objects produced in England which combine technology and design [of] consumer goods and equipment such as APT 1 [aviation equipment], the Rolls Royce RB2 11 [jet engines designed by Rolls Royce] and the MacArthur microscope, polypropylene furniture and other knickknacks for teenagers. It must show not only the sources of this new creative energy but also the actions taken to support it (for example, the educational system, graduate and postgraduate, as supplied by […] the Royal College of Art and the CoID). […] In the same way, the exhibition must highlight the keen awareness of design on the part of several public institutions that are contributing to the considerable improvement of the contemporary English context conducive to modern life in England.20

This display of consumer goods, capital goods, transport systems and institutions thus embodied a well-rehearsed strategy for repositioning British design within the EEC and global marketplaces.

Design policy: from the CoID to the Design Council

L’idée et la forme should be seen as one of the many actions undertaken by the CoID, at a time when British society was undergoing profound changes, in order to regain “the ascendant it had after the Second World War.”21

Created in 1944 under the government of Winston Churchill,22 the CoID and its Scottish committee was non-profit organisation dedicated to “using all means possible to promote the improvement of design in British industrial products.”23

As Penny Sparke explains, when, in the late 1950s, the CoID undertook to enhance its image and to sell products resulting from the new production methods, the point of the enterprise was revealed by a consciousness of the considerable asset represented by design and designers in the structuring of this propagandistic project.24

We may suppose that the Parisian show was important to the CoID because, apart from its promotional action, it allowed it to gauge the image of the British design that it championed. Indeed, according to the recommendations of the Conway Report,25 which praised the CoID and its efficiency and quality, the benefits of which were felt in the everyday life of the entire nation,26 there was a need to create a “new council” in order to guide and intensify engineering design27 activity.

At the end of 1969, John Hoskyns & Co. Ltd. were mandated by the British government to produce a report for the creation of the new council, which came into being as the Design Council28 – basically, a re-designation of the CoID – in 1972.

The idea of affirming the position of English design on an increasingly competitive EEC and global market structured the CoID, which received considerable annual financing.29 Multiple actions were put in place: support for industry, recognition of the usefulness of good design, valorisation of training and employment of designers.

According to the CoID, the key thing was to maintain

[…] unity in the industrial process, the guiding idea that owes something to the creative spirit, something to the machine, and something to the consumer, and that connects all these factors. […] In the case of consumer goods, the council encourages manufacturers to produce well designed articles, retailers to sell them, and consumers to buy them; as regards products of civil engineering, its activities are designed to show industry the advantages of an integrated approach.30

L’idée et la forme: the “nuts and bolts”

With L’idée et la forme, the CoID was waging a charm offensive at the Pavillon de Marsan. The idea was not only to win over the Parisian public but also to show the products of British design to potential European clients. Nothing was left to chance. The dramaturgy of the exhibition was meticulously conceived:

the display mix [must be] both entertaining and instructive. There must be just the right dose of wit and drama to stimulate public discussion but there must be enough didactic details to prompt reflection. Modern technology must be used to enhance the display wherever relevant.31

Negotiations between the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the CoID proceeded apace. Regarding the exhibition area, Mathey proposed 200 square metres but Reilly was hoping for the museum’s central hall as well.32 Mathey diplomatically talked him round by pointing out that the six rooms “match [your] desire for rigour” and added, honourably, that, “a bigger space might lead […] to a proliferation of objects and deceive the public.” A museum was not a department store. With a view to giving the CCI a clearly identified space in the Pavillon de Marsan for 1971, Mathey wanted to “specialise the rooms on Rue de Rivoli in design and […] dedicate the hall to more generalist events […].” Reilly then expressed concern about a possible “conflict of interest.” Were the French planning an exhibition about French design at the same time as their own? Was it just a rumour? What was the reason for the manifest tension?33 The nascent idea of an exhibition about French design or a mistake over the one titled Pionniers du xxe siècle. Guimard, Horta, Van de Velde, programmed at the same time? Doubts remain.

Whatever the case, the British paid for the costs of the installation.34 And they planned to make the most of the terrain they had negotiated. The initial area of 200 square metres was increased to 300, with the museum offering the CoID four extra rooms on the first ground floor, “on either side of the CCI index.”35

The exhibition was set out over the ground floor (Grand Rez-de-chaussée and 1er Rez-de-chaussée).36

The title, L’idée et la forme – Design en Grande-Bretagne,37 was written in black serif script on a white ground.38 It formed, with a group of fifteen moulded bronze pointing hands on bases Fig. 4(these manicules were originally a typographic device), conceived by Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, a striking device for guiding visitors. Alan Fletcher and Theo Crosby39 were behind the graphic design of the three posters (with a print run of 500):40 a reworked fragment of the Union Jack together with the exhibition title in black on a white ground. This simple and effective motif was reproduced on other graphic supports such as the invitation41 and the leaflet L’idée et la forme. Fig. 5Fig. 6Fig. 7 The same approach was found in the corridors (screens and wall paintings) and other graphic reminders throughout the exhibition. This was enwrapped in a clever take on the Union Jack re-designed as a unifying, global visual tool perfectly in keeping with the design consultancy philosophy.42

The exhibition had eight sections, each designed by a team of designers ranging from pairs to a whole agency. The first, “L’aménagement de l’environnement” (Organising the Environment), was taken on by the overall designers and organisers of L’idée et la forme, that is, Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, working with the specialist journalist Tim Rock. The display in the second section, “Le design et les chemins de fer britanniques” (Design and British Rail) and the third section “Le designer dans l’industrie” (Designers in Industry) was conceived by Archigram Architects. The exuberance of the next section, “La mode britannique” (British Fashion), designed by Michael Haynes after an idea by John Park, perfectly embodied the idea of novelty. The section on “Les arts graphiques et l’art de la persuasion” (Graphics and the Art of Persuasion) was also designed by Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes with the help of Edward Booth-Clibborn, while the sixth, “La formation des designers” (Training Designers) was conceived by the designers Lou Klein, James Meller and Edward Wright and put the spotlight on two major British institutions, the Royal College of Art in London and the Ravensbourne College of Art and Design. The seventh section, entrusted to Barry Mazur (with Allan Cooper), “Le design pour l’intérieur” (Design for Interiors), presented popular consumer goods. And, last but not least, the eighth section was devoted to the Council of Industrial Design.

Displays of British design

Generally speaking, L’idée et la forme put the emphasis on design consultancies, exhibited as representing a new modality with an impeccable conceptual potential.

The production and coordination of L’idée et la forme were entrusted to Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, one of the best-known London design agencies of the day, which “put together a team of different designers and advisers to interpret the different sections [of the exhibition] in their own way.”43 Their management of the event demonstrated the competence of such agencies, to which the CoID entrusted visual cohesion. Presenting London as “the place to be,” architect Theo Crosby spoke glowingly of British youth in the 1960s and 70s and the “confidence in life” that made it capable of approaching “with a creative spirit the arts that have become important in our century: those of communication and persuasion, and even those of recreation and leisure.”44 This joie de vivre was also expressed in the display work of Archigram Architects, the high-profile group of megastructuralist mavericks founded in 1963.


For Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, 1971 was marked by the continuing transition towards a new professional cycle begun in 1967,45 and which culminated in 1972, with the creation of Pentagram,46 in which the original team was joined by the industrial designer Kenneth Grange. Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes was the epitome of the business-savvy London design consultancy. Its multiskilled members offered a comprehensive service encompassing graphic design, visual identity, exhibitions, packaging, products and product planning. Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes worked as a team, its “anonymous practice” boosting its capacities as a collective47 in favour of a total but tailored design approach that would enhance the client’s brand image. In Paris, a cultural metropolis marked by the recent events of May 1968, the CoID opted to promote this unifying approach to a form of design conscious of the marketing dimension.

Conran Design Group

The section titled “Le Council of Industrial Design” Fig. 8 was handled by the Conran Design Group,48 the agency founded by Terence Conran in 1956, which specialised in graphics, visual identity, branding, exhibition design, furniture and interior architecture.49 According to Penny Sparke, “[in] 1971 Terence Conran had already acquired considered experience in design and marketing.”50 Furthermore, the spectacular success of his first Habitat store, opened in 1964, had given him rich practical knowledge of the commercial potency of combining design and advertising. Conran Design Group opted for a display in black and red,51 conveying a sophisticated and operational image of the CoID programme. This section, like “Le design pour l’intérieur” (Design for the Home), was given a bigger space than the others. Here, visitors discovered the various manifestations of the CoID such as the Design Centre, the Design Index (listing some 10,000 products representing “quality design”) and, also, a display of selected consumer and capital goods.

The two design agencies, Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes and Conran Design Group, specialised, notably, in corporate visual identity and all its facets, including the exhibition medium. They represented the way of the “new” English design with its integrated approach that, in contrast to French design, did not rely on “brilliant individuals”52 as a means of achieving excellence.

Allan Cooper and Barry Mazur, two design consultants, as they defined themselves, drew up the plans for the section “Le design pour la maison”.53 Fig. 9 Fig. 10

Archigram Architects

While the point was to show the full diversity of approaches in British design, the two sections titled “Le design et les chemins de fer britanniques” and “Le designer dans l’industrie”54 were the work of Archigram Architects. Fig. 11Fig. 12 and Fig. 13Fig. 14Fig. 15 For this Theo Crosby assembled the full team, which had worked on early projects such as the Fulham Study and Montreal Entertainments Tower.55 Drawn at the Archigram Architects studio in London by Peter Cook (a founder member and initiator of the Archigram newsletter, before it mutated into a group of architects), Ron Herron (the amazing designer of Walking City in 1965) and Dennis Crompton, the “lover of gadgets, machines, technologies and systems [who] masters every aspect of Archigram productions,” the two sections entrusted to them formed an aesthetic counterpoint to those of the two other agencies. Crompton56 observed in the plans for space no. 2, the one dedicated to the presence of design in British Rail, as “rebranded” in 1965 by the important Design Research Unit (DRU),57 the presence of three projectors with screens and therefore a visual device for which, he recalled, he had to prepare the images and the programming.58

The CoID’s decision to show, on the one hand, Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes and Conran Design Group, and on the other, Archigram Architects, which, with its “Wham! Zoom! Zing! Rave!”59 and visually stupefying forms were campaigning against the domination of public space by economic liberalism and calling for a reinvention of architecture in the age of consumer and leisure society, was coherent because it showed the diversity united under the symbol of the Union Jack.60

Design, between Pop and high-tech

On the general plan by Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes Fig. 16 we recognise the rigour and orthogonality of the original spaces in Percier & Fontaine’s neoclassical building: the length of the building and the structural pillars (in the form of an inverted T) delimiting the exhibition alcoves are imposing. The agency was trying to break with that constraining rigour and with the archaeology of the site. While allowing highly diverse universes to express themselves, they ensured the exhibition’s overall coherence and the fluidity of the sequence. Archigram Architects were freer and bolder yet still adapted to the context. As the pragmatic Dennis Crompton explains, “all architects work to a remit and a budget. Although Archigram is better known for its theoretical projects, this project was neither nor less important than the others.”61

For the fashion section, Michael Haynes worked with display designer John Park on a universe revolving around the most Pop and glam designers of the day. Fig. 17Fig. 18Fig. 19 In it we see the lively and maverick creations of Zhandra Rhodes, the work of Ossie Clark, one of the major figures of the Swinging Sixties in London – then at its height. Mr. Freedom, with his kitsch accessories, worked the register of irony to capture the mood of the moment. In contrast with the effervescence of the “new” fashion scene, classic models by two heritage brands, Jaeger and Aquascutum, founded in the nineteenth century, were on display. This ready-to-wear fashion dressed and accessorised in an effusion of new cuts, materials and colours the shop-window dummies positioned at different heights on platforms and other formally and graphically elaborated supports, and set visitors dreaming. They could take their time to wander through this universe, which surprisingly juxtaposed clothes and accessories that either materialised the Carnaby Street-driven renewal of clothing or cultivated the codes of elegance and understatement.

The adviser for the section titled “L’aménagement de l’environnement” Fig. 20 was Tim Rock, deputy editor of The Architectural Review. It offered an immersion in a geodesic space teeming with photographs, interspersed with short texts and enlivened by the projections from the new Kodak slide projector (1965).62 This multimedia device helped show the French public how design can maintain a “harmonious relationship between new forms and existing structures.” The context is that of an increasingly urbanised society in which “the separation of pedestrians and vehicles, the concern with the human aspect of each question and the integration of community elements such as shops and pubs” are essential factors in living together.63 The space dedicated to the British railways and the one looking at design and designers in industry formed a scenographic unit with a marked plastic quality. Different signs, platforms, oblique planes and divisions with fuchsia pink and grey-blue surface alternated with mirrors and diagrams. A model of a power car and a model of a crane for containers were exhibited. British Rail was an exemplary case study for the way in which design could bestow a coherent identity on a public service for shared mobility and freight. It was an example of total design and evoked the invention of railways by the English (the first phase in the history of design) and the transformative power of that unprecedented technological invention. The theme of the neighbouring alcove, “Le designer dans l’industrie,” comprised examples of capital goods and other industrial products, some of which, exhibited in the entrance to the museum, Fig. 21 immediately immersed visitors in the world of “good design.” Note that a Range Rover SUV, designed in 1970 and manufactured by Austin Rover, and presented in model form in section three, was parked opposite an Avenger motorboat. Both were wrapped in Union Jack ribbon, as if to arouse French visitors’ desires. At such a point the boundary between museum and commerce may seem blurred. After land and sea, the demonstration continued in the air with the new one-seater Cricket autogiro, for sporting or club use, designed in 1969. Inside was an aviator mannequin “flying” towards a cloud. It was attached to a presentation stand decorated in a joyful flower power mass of artificial flowers, rabbits in Easter eggs (it being the season) and mannequins in miniskirts and other fashionable outfits.64 The “Les arts graphiques et l’art de la persuasion” section opened with two Pop-style silkscreens proclaiming “ADS” and “GRAPHICS”.65 Fig. 22 Designed with the collaboration of Edward Booth-Clibborn, an eminent advertiser and president of the Designers’ & Art Directors’ Association,66 it showed “the veritable revolution in these arts over the last five years and the vitality of design and advertising in London.”67 This section was all about “selling” the success of graphics in its extension beyond its traditional media and entry into new markets such as television and product design.

Manifest here were the results of the new awareness that had developed in many British companies, regarding the need to “project a convincing” and clearly identifiable image in a world of heightened competition. Generally speaking, graphics and the art of persuasion were presented as allies making it easier for the companies who bought into such an approach, and wished to distinguish themselves on the market, to export industrial products.

The section on “La formation des designers,” conceived by James Meller, Lou Klein and Edward Wright, showed the future of British design through a number of projects by students at two schools of art and design, the Royal College of Art (RCA) and Ravensbourne College of Art and Design.68 A view of the proposition by the RCA, MAN, shows a project, no doubt in its preliminary state, titled La génération de l’imagination (The Generation of Imagination), with student projects laid out in vitrines or hung on picture walls. These disparate and intriguing elements were the result of no-limits experiments on the theme of Man. A bra, a wig, a coffin. They sat beside screens and slide shows.69 A wall text declared: “Imagination. Total freedom of expression, imaginative formats, materials, on the theme of MAN, in order to develop students’ personality and imagination,”70 clearly explaining the project’s pedagogical purpose.

Schools of art and design were thus presented as vectors of unbridled experimentation and stimulating change (fluorescent red and blue, matt black, title in white71). Indeed, having no economic constraints, they provided a context that was protective of students while still preparing them for the professional world. An example of this path towards the professionalisation of design students was the mobile children’s activity centre designed for kindergartens by Graham Freeman and Gordon Wilson during their final year at the Royal College of Art.72 The CoID took over from the schools and attempted to “find places for graduate designers in industry.”73

Polyprop chair, secateurs, hygrometer and bath toys. A multiplicity of multiples

It is difficult to say exactly how many products were exhibited. The CoID selection lists 246,74 and of those 82 were selected to be put on sale at Le Printemps department store.75 There was a wealth of consumer goods for the home in the “Design pour l’intérieur” section, a mix of high-tech and Pop styling. Other products of British industry were found in other sections, including, of course, the one dedicated to the CoID. In fact, all the consumer goods, the capital goods, electronics and other industrial products on show were winners of the Design Award and were therefore listed in the Design Index. They were displayed either in ensembles on platforms and presentation stands, or laid out as if in a real domestic space. In addition to products from a new generation of designers working with producers or who created their own company, there were classics of “good design” that, in some cases, had already demonstrated their commercial value, for example the elegant services in bone china by Susie Cooper for Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd., in particular Colosseum Fig. 23 with “Susie’s inimitable look,”76 Keystone with “exciting new look”77 and the moulded polypropylene stacking chair (1963) designed by Robin Day for S. Hille & Co. Ltd., who were represented in France by Airborne. Popularly known as the “Polyprop Chair,” this bestseller was a hugely successful export. Hille & Co., one of the few furniture companies in the UK to put the emphasis on new design, also showed Alan Turville’s Kompass 1 occasional table (1965) in laminated melamine. Famous for its Antelope chair, designed by Ernest Race for the Festival of Britain (1951), Race Furniture Ltd. was represented by the ‘Q’ three-seater from its Bacchus 1317 collection and the accompanying armchair in aluminium with laminated wood sides and foam upholstery, as well as by the Apollo 1225 chair. As for newcomers to the English furniture scene, there was OMK Design Ltd., a company founded in 1965 represented by three designs: the F2 Footstool, the F1 Seat Unit in foam and plastic, put onto the market in 1970 Fig. 24 and the F3 Table in moulded wood with a melamine finish. There was also the cantilever chair in chromed tubular steel by Peter Wigglesworth and R.V. Exton for Plush Kicker from 1968.

It is interesting to note that, as Penny Sparke points out, the early 1970s witnessed a dramatic decline in the British furniture sector, as innovations almost dried up. Meanwhile, a number of distributors appeared, such as Aram’s in London, who imported furniture from continental Europe, notably radical and Pop Italian designs78 because they were a real breath of fresh air. While the UK activity was flagging and the local scene glum, Italy was establishing itself as the conceptually and economically vital leader of the sector. The historic Heal’s Fabrics Ltd. exhibited exclusively printed cotton fabrics that were distributed at Le Printemps department store on Boulevard Haussmann. We may also note the children’s toys such as the Rainbow Box educational toy in polystyrene by Trendon Ltd., a set of colourful cubes that could be composed to form geometrical shapes, and the Mosaic building toy Fig. 25 consisting of interlocking polystyrene shapes. The Fingermajig, Fig. 26 designed by Jorma Vennola under guidance from Viktor Papanek, a tactile plastic ball with protruding knobs that could be pressed into the foam inside, exemplified inclusive design in children’s toys and showed that the toy industry was responsive to the educational and social concerns of the day. The machine tools and other technical objects served to reveal the almost limitless typological diversity ranging over all the sectors of professional and private life. From capital goods, consumer goods and hardware to sophisticated industrial design, the frontiers between technical products and auteur design were porous, allowing a panoramic, lively representation of Britain’s industrial fabric and its impact on everyday life.

Parisians thus discovered secateurs, shears and a hand cultivator by Wilkinson Sword (Colnbrook) Ltd., dark room equipment designed by Eric Taylor MSIA for Paterson Products Ltd., “typical of the products by this company attuned to the needs of photographers,”79 Fig. 27 saw blades and planes by Stanley Works (GB) Ltd., clocks, thermometers and hygrometers, including the Mariner model in black- and white extruded and anodised aluminium (fig_28) designed by Kenneth Grange for Taylor Instruments Division,80 Fig. 28 the Unicam SP1000 infrared and Unicam SP1800 ultraviolet, Fig. 29 spectrophotometers designed by Howard Upjohn FSIA, who had just won the Design Award81 and the Moulton Mark III bicycle by Raleigh Industries Ltd., one of the favourite objects of Reyner Banham who used it to get around London in the 1960s because he found it “simple as well as radical” and “comparable to any other design by the modern movement.”82


At a time when the British have cut loose from Europe and some are getting used to the new ambitions of a “Global Britain”83 (another GB), it is interesting to recall the amount of effort put into the British operation of persuasion that was the exhibition L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne.

For while the CCI and, with it, French industrial design as a whole, were caught up in the vortex of their own epistemological quest for design, whose contours they were trying to define, they invited CoID to exhibit British design at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.84

With its strong and much admired experience of design, the UK, in contrast, saw this event as a communicational and commercial opportunity not to be missed, all the more so as there was a desire to meet “the challenge of Pop,” to narrow the generation gap in the field of design, and to export a “modern scene” that was diverse but nevertheless united by the identity of the “Design Centre style,” in order to conquer new publics/markets.

Located – along the axis of the long history of exhibitions at the CCI – together with the exhibitions Pliable, empilable (10 February–15 March 1971) and Design français (22 October–20 December 1971),85 L’idée et la forme marked a turning point in relation to the initial question posed in 1969 by the CCI’s Qu’est-ce que le design ? and enabled the French to benefit from British experience, “without experiencing the risk,”86 in that, biding their time, they could perfect their own model in relation to the English yardstick. That time came with the exhibition Design français which François Barré hoped to present at the Design Centre in London. L’idée et la forme played an eminently structural role in learning how to create a deliberately propagandistic coherence in French industrial design, just as it aroused among the French, who were already looking ahead to a big exhibition of French design, a spirit of emulation. Revealing his competitive spirit, Barré argued that “If it is to be fruitful, the confrontation should be complete.”87 In this way L’idée et la forme helped French industrial design find its position, a process culminating in the mega-event celebrated under the prosaic title of Design français. That exhibition occupied a thousand square metres,88 three times the space of L’idée et la forme, and its catalogue and poster were designed by Jean Widmer. According to François Mathey, these were signs that French design had come out of its “ghetto” and was now “sufficiently adult.”89

  1. Organised from 1 April to 31 May 1971.↩︎

  2. François BARRÉ. “Paris à l’heure du design britannique,” Design, no. 268, April 1971. French table of contents, n.p.↩︎

  3. Ibidem.↩︎

  4. Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF). CAF94055732, Margaret et Tony à Paris – Exposition design anglais, 8 pm news, 2nd channel, 1 April 1971, time code 08:26,21, INA.↩︎

  5. Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF). CAF06044234, La Princesse Margaret, Journal de Paris, television news, 1st channel, 1 April 1971, time code 19:09:16,17, INA. The CCI was inaugurated in October 1969.↩︎

  6. In the 1970s Anthony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, the first Lord Snowdon, was a respected celebrity photographer and designer interested in the question of design and disability. He was provost of the Royal College of Art from 1995 to 2004. The Royal Family’s interest in design had already been signalled by the creation of the Prince Philip Designer Prize under the aegis of His Royal Highness the Prince of Edinburgh, Philip Mountbatten, who sponsored the prize and chaired its jury until 2011. Originally known as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize for Elegant Design when it was launched in 1959, the prize was created in the context of post-war austerity with the idea of encouraging and rewarding elegant design solutions that got away from the generally functional approach of the 1950s. Finally, the articulation between design and royalty is also evident in the foundation of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), which was the brainchild of the Prince Consort, Albert of Saxe-Coburg, husband of Queen Victoria, alongside Henry Cole, one of the main initiators of the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851. The V&A: <>; <> (accessed 12 February 2021).↩︎

  7. Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF). CAF94055732, Margaret et Tony à Paris – Exposition design anglais, 8 pm news, 2nd channel, 1 April 1971, INA. See also “La Princesse Margaret inaugure l’exposition L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne,” Le Monde, 2 April 1971.↩︎

  8. François MATHEY to Michael TREE, 04/07/1969, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.1.↩︎

  9. Henri Viénot, director of the French industrial design agency Technès, was its French correspondent. Design, no. 268, April 1971, p. 17.↩︎

  10. Its editorial advisers included Paul Reilly, Lord Snowdon and Michael Tree. Design, no. 268, April 1971, p. 17.↩︎

  11. François MATHEY to Michael TREE, 04/07/1969, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.1.↩︎

  12. Paul REILLY to François MATHEY, 25/11/69, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.2↩︎

  13. Michael TREE to Yolande AMIC, 8/5/1969, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.3.↩︎

  14. The exhibition was programmed from 24 October to 31 December 1969.↩︎

  15. Paul REILLY to François-Xavier ORTOLI, 22/2/1972, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.4.↩︎

  16. Christopher SOANE to François MATHEY, 15/04/1971, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.5↩︎

  17. These two departments were created in 1964 under the Labour government of Prime Minister Harold Wilson. <> (accessed 18 February 2021).↩︎

  18. Founded in 1946 as a structure to replace the Ministry of Information created at the end of the First World War and then again during the Second World War. This government department was responsible for advertising and propaganda.↩︎

  19. This Ministry was created in order to encourage a national effort to introduce cutting-edge technology and new processes into industry.↩︎

  20. Typed document, n.d. and n.s. Archive, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.6.↩︎

  21. Penny SPARKE. “Le design en Europe 1945–1985,” in Craig R. MILLER, Penny SPARKE, Catherine McDERMOTT (eds.). Le Design européen depuis 1985. Paris: Citadelles et Mazenod, 2009, p. 19.↩︎

  22. President of the Board of Trade.↩︎

  23. The CoID was partially financed by a subsidy from the Ministry of Finance and the Central Office of Information London COI. From Reference Division SN.5893/71/Fr. January 1971. Classification 5 (e)., p. 1, typescript. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.7.↩︎

  24. Penny SPARKE. “A Mature Generation of Design Companies,” in Consultant Design. The History and Practice of the Designer in Industry. London: Pembridge Press, coll. “Pembridge History of Design,” 1983, p. 65.↩︎

  25. Council of Industrial Design and the Scottish Committee of the Council. Twenty Fifth Annual Report 1969-70, p. 3. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.8.↩︎

  26. Ibid., p. 3-4.↩︎

  27. <> (accessed 25 March 2021).↩︎

  28. <> (accessed 26 March 2021).↩︎

  29. In 1969 the CoID received a subsidy of £525,000 from the Treasury while the revenue accruing from its own resources was £306,500, making a total of £831,500. In 1975 the CCI’s budget was 7.3 million francs.

    See Claire LEYMONERIE. “Le basculement des années 1960,” in Le Temps des objets. Une histoire du design industriel en France (1945–1980). Saint-Étienne: EPCC Cité du Design, 2006, p. 132.↩︎

  30. From Reference Division SN.5893/71/Fr. January 1971. Classification 5 (e), op. cit.↩︎

  31. Typescript, n.d., n.s. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.9.↩︎

  32. The biggest undivided space in the museum.↩︎

  33. François MATHEY to Paul REILLY, 17/12/69, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.10. N.B. Concomitantly, there was the exhibition Pionniers du xxe siècle. Guimard, Horta, Van de Velde.↩︎

  34. Agreement between the British Embassy in Paris and the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, 12/02/1971, typescript. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.11.↩︎

  35. Indeed, the index was a register of examples of modern British industrial design selected by the CoID. Yolande AMIC to Paul REILLY, 15/10/1970, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.12. It was conceived as a buyer’s guide for both professionals and the general public and served as the model for the way the CCI structured its index. However, there was one major difference between the two indexes: the UK format contained only British products whereas the French also contained foreign products, providing they were available in Paris. Reilly informed British manufacturers of the CCI guide used by Parisians. Reilly mentioned the success of the CCI and suggested that they seize this “very economical” opportunity (without membership costs) to get the French interested in design attentive to [their] productions." Paul REILLY, to British Manufacturers represented in the CoID Index with the copy of a typed letter, n. d., n. p. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.13.

    For British products sold in France to be included in the CCI index, the requirement was to provide two b/w photographs with borders, sized 13 x 18 and 5 x 7. C.J. CROSS-BROWN to Yolande AMIC, 14/01/71, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.14.↩︎

  36. Plan by Crosby, Fletcher, Forbes, Architects and designers, scale 1:100, 15/12/1970. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.15. See also Plan du Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 1905, <–1864/29-mai–1905-l-inauguration-du-musee-des-arts-decoratifs-au-pavillon-de-Marchan/#&gid=1&pid=13> (accessed 26 February 2021).↩︎

  37. While the British suggested the title BRITISH DESIGN, François Mathey was more circumspect, pointing out that “in France the term ‘design’ is”overexposed" and often used inconsequentially." He felt that L’idée et la forme – Design en Grand-Bretagne was more precise. François MATHEY, minutes of the meeting on 27/10/1970, typescript. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.16.↩︎

  38. The choice of this typography stood in total contrast with the green one in the Art Nouveau Style on a blue ground used for the concomitant exhibition Pionniers du xxe siècle. Horta, Guimard, Van de Velde, put on at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs from 10 March to 31 May 1971.↩︎

  39. Musée de la Publicité, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. The printer was G.A. Shankland. Inventory no. 2003.198.174.2.↩︎

  40. Examples of the exhibition posters could be seen on the two counters at the entrance to the exhibition. B/W photographs. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.1. Three exhibition posters are also held in the poster collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Inv.: 2003.198.174.1 ; 2003.198.174.2 ; 2003.198.174.3.↩︎

  41. See the leaflet and the invitation. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.17.↩︎

  42. L’idée et la forme was the only CCI exhibition whose poster was not designed by Jean Widmer. This task fell to Alan Fletcher and Theo Crosby. Cf. <–1864/le-centre-de-creation-industrielle-pour-une-approche-typologique/> (accessed 10 March 2021).↩︎

  43. R79437 British official photograph: Crown copyright reserved. Issued for British Information Services by Photographs Division, Central Office of Information London. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.1. Information on the back of the photograph: “the exhibition is being designed by the internationally known partnership […] who have gathered together a team of individual designers and advisers to interpret the various sections in their own idiom.”↩︎

  44. Theo CROSBY. L’idée et la forme. Prospectus. n.p. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.18.↩︎

  45. The agency was created in 1962 with the name Fletcher Forbes Gill, after the three founding members, Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes, Bob Gill, all graphic designers. Its first professional phase lasted until 1967. They were later joined by Theo Crosby, an architect. Rick POYNOR. “The Idea of Pentagram,” in Profile. Pentagram Design. London, New York: Phaidon, 2004, p. 19.↩︎

  46. Pentagram is now considered a global player among design companies. The agency is independent, being owned and run by the 24 partners, all of whom are leaders in their field. <> (accessed 19 February 2021).↩︎

  47. Penny SPARKE. “A Mature Generation of Design Companies” in Consultant Design, op. cit., p. 67.↩︎

  48. <> (accessed 7 March 2021). N.B. Terence Conran sat on the CoID board.↩︎

  49. <> (accessed 20 February 2021).↩︎

  50. Penny SPARKE. Consultant Design, op. cit., p. 71.↩︎

  51. Conran Design Group, detail of a plan. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.2.↩︎

  52. Claire LEYMONERIE. “Introduction,” in Le Temps des objets, op. cit., p. 11.↩︎

  53. Allan COOPER, Barry MAZUR, Design Consultants, Layout Plan Elevations, scale 1:25, copy. December 1970. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.20.↩︎

  54. 14 plans (elevations and details) and 8 images of the two sections. Previously unpublished, these documents were included in Archigram Archival Project. See also: “Detailed and realised design for The British Design Exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, for the Council of Official Information,” <> (accessed 13 March 2021).↩︎

  55. Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Centre de Création Industrielle, Archigram (ed.). Archigram [exhib. cat.], Centre de Création Industrielle, Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges-Pompidou, Paris, 29 June–29 August 1994. Paris : MNAM/CCI, 1994, p. 217.↩︎

  56. Crompton (born 1935) continues to valorise the work done by Archigram, notably through the Archigram Archival Project, dedicated to constituting an archive of the group’s projects and making them available online to researchers and the general public. This project is a partnership between Archigram and its assignees and the University of Westminster. <> (accessed 26 February 2021).↩︎

  57. The Design Research Unit (1942–1972) played a major role in positioning design in the UK. Its work for British Rail was a colossal undertaking memorably embodied by the joined arrows pointing in opposite directions in white on red designed by Gerald Barney. For more: Michelle COTTON (ed.). Design Research Unit. Cologne: Koenig Books, 2011. This book based on original research documents thirty years of the agency’s work.↩︎

  58. Dennis CROMPTON, email to Laurence MAUDERLI, 20/01/2021.↩︎

  59. Reyner BANHAM. “1.10 Zoom Wave Hits Architecture,” in Penny SPARKE (ed.). Design by Choice. London: Academy Editions, 1981, p. 64.↩︎

  60. Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes and Conran Design Group signed the plans in the name of the agency, sometimes using a stamp. Archigram indicated the initials of the architect who drew the plan – in this instance, R.H. (Ron Herron) and P.C. (Peter Cook). The design agency represents the group in a kind of anonymity, whereas with Archigram Architects the author was connected to the overall entity.↩︎

  61. Dennis CROMPTON to Laurence MAUDERLI, email dated 20/01/2021.↩︎

  62. Architects and Designers, Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, Plan Room 1 Environment, 114.01.14, date 15/12/1970, (copy). Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.21.↩︎

  63. Prospectus, L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne, op. cit.↩︎

  64. Art. 46473, British official photograph, Crown Copyright, Issued for British Information Services by Photographs Division, Central Office of Information, London, May 1971. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.3.↩︎

  65. Architects and Designers, Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, Plan Room 5. Graphics & advertising, 114.01.15, date 10/12/1970 (copy). Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.22.↩︎

  66. <> (accessed 1 April 2021).↩︎

  67. Prospectus, L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne, n.p. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.19.↩︎

  68. In the 1970s Ravensbourne was one of the first institutions to obtain state approval to award degrees in design and art.↩︎

  69. Art. 46476, British official photograph, Crown Copyright, Issued for British Information Services by Photographs Division, Central Office of Information, London, May 1971. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.4.↩︎

  70. Written on the back of the photograph: “Design Education (Designers: Meller, Klein and Wright). Royal College of Art project ‘Man’,” Art. 46470, British official photograph, Crown Copyright, Issued for British Information Services by Photographs Division, Central Office of Information, London, May 1971. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.5.↩︎

  71. Architects and Designers, Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes, Plan Room 6. Education, scale 1:50, date 21/12/1970 (copy). Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.23.↩︎

  72. R.79981 British official photograph, Crown Copyright, Issued for British Information Services by Photographs Division, Central Office of Information, London, May 1971. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.6.↩︎

  73. Paul REILLY to François MATHEY, 11/09/70, typed letter. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.24.↩︎

  74. The alphabetic list indicates the producers and their exhibit, along with technical details of each object, its reference in the Design Index, and the agent/distributor in Paris.

    “Council of industrial design rooms – exhibits list,” typescript, n.d., n.p. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.24.↩︎

  75. Selection of articles by Le Printemps for an exhibition organised by the Design Centre, London at the Palais des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, from 31 March to 31 May 1971. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.25.↩︎

  76. 486-5181, © in fine bone china by Susie Cooper at Wedgwood. February 1970, photograph. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.7.↩︎

  77. GLO833/1, WEDGWOOD, Josiah and Sons Limited, Keystone, in fine bone china by Susie Cooper at Wedgwood. April 1969, photograph. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.8.↩︎

  78. Penny SPARKE. “Design for Industry,” in Christopher BREWARD, Ghislaine WOOD. British Design from 1948: Innovation in Modern Age. London: V&A Publishing, 2012, p. 126. Note that at the time when L’idée et la forme was being put on, MoMA in New York, was organising a manifesto show by a very talented generation of Italian designers and industrialists: Italy. The New Domestic Landscape was inaugurated in 1972.↩︎

  79. Council of Industrial Design, Ref. PHO Accessories, 71-234. Photograph. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.9.↩︎

  80. Council of Industrial Design, Ref. HOU, 71–171. Photograph. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D2/636.10.↩︎

  81. “Contents,” in Design, no. 268, April 1971, p. 17.↩︎

  82. Reyner BANHAM, “A Grid on Two Farthings,” in Penny SPARKE (ed.). Design by Choice. London: Academy Editions, 1981, p. 120.↩︎

  83. Sylvie KAUFFMANN. “‘Global Britain’ le rêve gaullien des brexiters,” Le Monde, 22 January 2020. <> (accessed 16 March 2021).↩︎

  84. Another important structural element was the Franco-British design symposium proposed by the SIAD (Society of Industrial Artists and Designers). The aim of this event was to “exchange attitudes and experiences in a professional and cultural coming together of the two countries in order to learn and understand, to open a few doors. And perhaps to provide some positive publicity for design.” French and British delegations took turns to preside over this event held on 2 and 3 April 1971, in the wake of the exhibition. The aim of the exchanges was to come up with a “concrete definition of Design […] by the British and French participants” but also to explore the “inderdisciplinary character” and in that sense the modernity of design. Evert Endt, the artistic director of Compagnie d’Esthétique Industrielle (CEI), headed by Raymond Loewy, opened the ball on the French side with a session titled “The Profession and its Organisation. Design and Society. Relations with Clients. The Designer’s Responsibility.” Then came the British contributions, including “Design: an International Profession. The Common Market, etc.” Note that this last entity represented an economic stimulus but also the existence of real competition between nations. The graphic designer F.H.K. Henrion, one of the European masters of corporate visual identity, gave a presentation on the “theme of the designer as creator of systems for international companies.” Finally, these themes, all informed by the question of the articulation between design and business, raised the question of the “designer’s training” in light of the need to be able to solve problems and meet the client’s needs. The British delegation of ten included Sir Hugh Casson, Director of Architecture for the Festival of Britain (1951) and of Interior Architecture at the Royal College of Art, John Dreyfus, president of the International Typographic Association, Tom Karen, designer and director of OGLE DESIGN, and Peter Kneebone, director of international relations at SIAD, UNESCO and ICOGRADA (International Council of Graphic Design Associations). Paul Reilly, director of CoID, also attended, with two colleagues. The only woman invited was Natasha Kroll, a designer renowned for her pioneering design work at the BBC. As for the French group, it numbered twenty and included Jean-Louis Barrault, Louis Lepoix, Roger Excoffon, Étienne Fermigier, Daniel Maurandy, André Monpoix, Antoine Philippon, Émile Seigneur, Roger Tallon, Turenne Chevallereau, Jan-Lin Viaud, Henri Viénot, Michel Vioche, William Camus, Harold Barnett, Jacques Dumond and Ever Endt – a mix of industrial designers (the majority) and graphic designers. Also present were the organisers of the exhibition L’idée et la forme and representatives of the CCI: Yolande Amic, François Mathey, François Barré.

    The theme of the symposium therefore reflected this desire to learn, understand and exchange views. However, it also showed an interest in adopting the British model of the design consultancy, or at least in importing it into French design. Institut d’Esthétique Industrielle, programme, typescript. n.d., n. p. Archives, Library of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Exhibitions CCI D1/636.25.↩︎

  85. See the posters for exhibitions at the CCI. Note that, unlike the other exhibitions including Design français, L’idée et la forme – Le design en Grande-Bretagne did not have a poster designed by Jean Widmer, <–1864/le-centre-de-creation-industrielle-pour-une-approche-typologique> 5 March 2021).↩︎

  86. François BARRÉ. “Leader,” in Design, no. 268, April 1971. French table of contents. n.p.↩︎

  87. Ibidem.↩︎

  88. Claire LEYMONERIE, op. cit., p. 133.↩︎

  89. François MATHEY. “Introduction,” in Design français [exhib. cat.], Centre de Création Industrielle, Oct.-Dec. 1971, n.p.↩︎