Interview with Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, Co-Founders of WantedDesign

May 5, 2015 | By Dorothée Charles

Five years ago, French team Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat set out to create WantedDesign, a platform for US and international design that culminates each May with a series of events and conversations. WantedDesign has since evolved into a cornerstone fixture of NYCxDesign, a citywide 12-day celebration of design, and expanded from Chelsea into another location at Industrial City in Brooklyn. We had the privilege to interview the two busy founders.


Dorothée Charles: This year, WantedDesign celebrates its fifth edition in NYC. Why did you choose the two locations, Industry City in Brooklyn and WantedDesign in Manhattan?

Odile Hainaut & Claire Pijoulat: We had a chance to start a program last year at Industry City, which is a wonderful industrial district, home to a growing community of designers, innovators, and makers. Adding a second platform to WantedDesign Manhattan in this Brooklyn location allows us present multi-disciplinary installations, host the WantedDesign Design Schools Workshop, and dedicate exhibition space for students presentations, experimental projects, open studios, design forums, etc. Brooklyn is a fantastic borough.

We have a more trade-focused event in Manhattan, in the Terminal Stores building. The venue’s architecture is fantastic, and the building is very well located. It is now almost part of our identity; it offers the right scale for the qualitative experience we are looking to offer both participants and visitors.

D.C.: How many countries participate in WantedDesign?

O.H. & C.P.: Between Brooklyn and Manhattan, about a third of the companies and design studios are US-based. And this is very important for us to present and support American design. International participation is represented withThe rest, and this is very important to us, represent more than 20 different countries, including group pavilions from Ireland, Poland, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Argentina, Canada (Quebec), and Croatia.

D.C.: Since the beginning, integrating school programs with exhibitions and workshops was part of WantedDesign. Which schools will be involved this year?

O.H. & C.P.: Yes, the future of design is obviously represented by design students and it has been key for us since year one to include design schools in our program.

The WantedDesign Design Schools Workshop is now in its 4th year, and will include Centro (Mexico), the Art Center School for Design, and Savannah College of Art and Design. 
Brooklyn will host the Parsons Festival, with presentations from more than ten of their programs, as well as the Pratt Students’ exhibition, ENSCI - Les Ateliers Diplorama+ exhibition, and the best projects from a textile competition organized by Edelkoort Inc.

In Manhattan we also host the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD-Bridgeport) Alumni exhibit, Students of the School of Visual Arts’ MFA in Products of Design design Performance, Parsons+Alpi installation, and The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, from Maine.

D.C: The Diplorama + Project features 8 young designers from ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris. Their projects question alternative means of productions. Can you further explain WantedDesign’s interest in changing everyday life with design?

O.H. & C.P.: WantedDesign’s goal is to showcase and discuss an inspiring panorama of solutions that design can bring to our changing world.

These include innovation, new material, beautiful craftsmanship, and new technologies. Our goal is not only to present finalized products, but also to begin conversations, to bring and share ideas. We help people connect during the few days of this design celebration, creating links within the diverse community that we attract: innovators, searchers, thinkers, designers, makers, architects, retailers and of course, the public. 

D.C.: WantedDesign is also conceived as a forum. What kind of discussions and roundtables did you program?

O.H. & C.P.: This is true that we envision WantedDesign as a Design Forum. We will host an especially rich program this year in both locations. It’s hard to just mention a few; all the Brooklyn programs are listed at here. In Manhattan, our Conversation Series (all programs listed here) include the Sunday, May 17 talk "The Role and the Position of Museums in Growing the International Design Voice and Supporting the Industry" moderated by renowned industry professionals. The public can pre-register by visiting the “attend” page of Manhattan and Brooklyn at wanteddesignnyc.com.

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