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Julien Carretero questions Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge Design - 11 May 2016

In Milan, the Belgium is Design label recently presented pairings of businesses and designers. Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge and Julien Carretero look back at their collaboration, half-way between rock extraction and creative design.

You were clearly satisfied with the collaboration at the Milan Show. Looking back, how do you explain its success?

Emilie Abraham (for Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge): By our keen interest in the approach. We are convinced that design can contribute an essential, alternative viewpoint to our traditional business. The theme of the event, “A Matter of perception: Tradition & Technology”, was in line with our own questions about our work. The invitation from WBDM to work in this context was welcomed with open arms. It was seen as a catalyst for developing our products, our methods and our techniques.

Julien Carretero: The designs I produce are based on experimentation, notably the use and adoption of techniques from heavy industry at design level. I was very enthusiastic about the idea of including bluestone in my research. It’s a very beautiful material, not always as highly appreciated as it should be, because it is so often used in the construction sector. I originally come from France. Bluestone may be an ordinary material in Belgium, but for me it isn’t. This has allowed me to treat the material without preconceptions, perhaps better than someone else could.

What did you present in Milan?

J.C.: The project as a whole is a portrait of the world of quarries and of bluestone. We created prototype furniture including a table, some shelving and a lamp, as well as a series of photos which I took in the quarries. As I see it, the work we did is, above all, the expression of a reflection on the material and the extraction techniques.

E.A.: Yes, beyond their aesthetic and functional qualities, the objects Julien creates are intended to express the scale and visual codes of quarries as well as the original nature of the unfinished stone. The shelving, for example, consists of a series of sheets of stone whose rough edges have not been rectified, showing the coloured cutting marks. The project puts bluestone centre stage, encouraging people to take a new look at the material.

What kind of a look are we talking about?

J.C.: An unusual, questioning one, seeking its potential. The prototypes question us because they short-circuit the classic route between stone extraction and the finished object. The exhibition has been a chance to break habits, to approach and fashion the stone differently. I think they open the way for a variety of other practices to be developed for Carrières products.

What do you draw from this experience?

E.A.: First of all, a specific chance to open up the business to design practices accompanied by a professional. We have also learned about the benefits that reflection and experimentation can provide. Taking the time, leaving our industrial activities to one side, to call our practices into question clearly opens up new prospects.

J.C.: For me it’s been a fantastic experience. I’ve had the chance to immerse myself in the world of quarries and to gain insight into the sheer scale of it. The business has played its part and offered me its experience in the area.

What are your expectations in terms of impact?

E.A.: It’s still too early to say. Milan’s been a fantastic chance for communication about our activity in Belgium and, in that context, abroad. We export about 20% of our production every year. We’d say that, as a specialised business in an international context, the Milan Show is probably going to reinforce our position as European leader in the sector.

J.C.: Much of the time, I work with galleries, and my experimental approach involves a niche market. That means I really need international exposure. The professional and cultural mix that happens in Milan helps in this sense and its value is really appreciated.

 

Sylvie Reversez


Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Studio Julien Carretero

Julien Renault

MikoMiko Studio