Hidden Carbon, students’ works at Les Ateliers-l’ENSCI (Paris)


When you hear “carbon” you very likelly think about global warming, about fast Formula 1 cars or -like me- about high-end bicycles… Well, students from the French design-school ENSCI and the Swiss ECAL tried to think outside of the box and propose some different applications for the material. Let me just share some thoughts and pictures from this exhibition :


The very stylish “Le chant du carbone” (The song of carbon) uses a carbon membrane to generate the sound of your iPod. The designer, Pierre Bayol, uses carbon’s form-giving advantages (shape) and its rigidity (vibrator) to design a gorgeous MP3-station.



Here, carbon fibers are used in an original structure both to strengthen the thin structure and to direct light vertically.



“Links” by the Swiss designer Hugo Bartoli demonstrates how strong the actual carbon fibers are. Assembling bamboo-bars (very in vogue currently, even bikewise!) with very few material shows that carbon fibers have extraordinary elongation-properties (or anisotropic, meaning that the fiber won’t stretch a lot when forced).



This big, flat blade is designed to be a ventilator. Once again, its strength allows to use very few material : properly braided and formed, even so thin parts allow to move lots of air to create the flow (design by Théodore Faure). On the bottom right hand corner of the photo, you can see glas-vases that were blown in carbon molds, this highlights how resistant to heat carbon is.


The beauty of carbon is undeniable and this works highlight that ! But they don’t only delight the visitor, they also put the material’s properties under a new perspective : even if a speaker made of carbon is not a must-have object and glasblowers probably have cheaper molds, these applications are worth a thought. When they’re not creating stuff that is intended to be sold, the designers’ role is to find new solutions. This exhibition is an attempt to do just that…

“At our birth, our first cry  is a signature appended at the bottom of a contract : with our family, our tribe, our environment. It doesn’t constrain to be geniuses, but to participate resolutely to the movements of intelligence”    Philippe Starck

The Hidden Carbon exhibition is still visible until July 9th at Les Atelirs-ENSCI, 48 rue Saint Sabin in the XVIIIth district of Paris. Entry is free.

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