French Embassy Launches Oui Design Program
On Tuesday, January 19, 2016, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York hosted a press conference on the 2016 edition of WantedDesign and the launch of Oui Design, a multifaceted program to foster creative exchange in design between the U.S. and France. The programs share a common goal to nurture design innovation at an international level. Deputy Cultural Counselor Thomas Michelon opened the conference with the following remarks.
Welcome to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. I’m Thomas Michelon, Deputy Cultural Counselor. I thank you all for joining us today!
Today we are thrilled to celebrate two design initiatives with international reach: the 6th edition of WantedDesign and the launch of the French Embassy’s new initiative, Oui Design. You will hear about both programs in more detail from WantedDesign founders, Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, and head of our Arts Department, Rima Abdul-Malak.
Design is a key sector within the French creative economy and we are thrilled to increase our commitment in this domain by supporting WantedDesign and through the new OuiDesign program.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, of which the French Embassy is a part, places special emphasis on developing the French cultural and creative industries at home and abroad. Creative industries like design are integral to French life. They are as much a part of our national heritage as they are key players in our economy.
In fact, in France, the French creative and cultural industries generated over 83 billion euros in 2013 and employed more than 1.3 million people—and the design sector alone generated 2,214 billion euros.
In the creative industries—such as music, cinema, performance, and design—our designers, directors, producers, technicians and entrepreneurs have an international reach thanks to a long history of accomplishment and excellence in France. They are the best ambassadors of France. Many French artists and companies from the cultural and creative sector have become global leaders in their field, contributing to the vitality of France’s economy.
Through our innovative projects in technology and the arts, we aim to nurture cross-pollination within the cultural and creative industries specifically in France and the US. Direct to Series in Los Angeles offers American professionals the opportunity to discover an overview of current French television content and production processes through a selection of original and ambitious programs. The French-American Digital Lab, a new interdisciplinary exchange program created by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York and co-produced with Business France stimulates creative and business partnerships between cultural innovators in France and the US. It just concluded its successful first session in New York which included 11 creative sessions, 6 site visits to American cultural tech institutions, 51 individual meetings, and countless networking opportunities over 10 stimulating days. And at South by Southwest— which gathers 500,000 innovators from the film, music and tech industries each year in Austin, TX—our efforts have united French and American artists and innovators in the recent past.
I will now pass the floor to Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, who will speak more about WantedDesign and its impact on international design.