They make the Université de Lyon: Ansthelle Collective

Meet Esthelle Frois and Antoine Bouré, members of the Ansthelle Cooperative, who are graduates of the École supérieure d'art et design Saint-Étienne and winners of the Campus Arts call for projects for their “Failure by Design” project.

© Laurent Carpentier
© Laurent Carpentier

What led to the creation of the Ansthelle Cooperative? What are its aims?

The cooperative was born of the “Failure by Design” project, but it is expected to continue beyond it. We believe that this was just the first of many exhibitions and experiences. We would like to keep improving the idea behind it and host design events to open field up to a wider audience. The cooperative will continue with this approach. We hope to bring together artists, designers, artisans and creative people of all kinds to work together.

Tell us about the “Failure by Design” project led by your organization.

“Failure by Design” was our first large-scale professional project. The exhibition was held as part of the International Design Biennial in Saint-Étienne. It gave us an opportunity to highlight many different facets of design. Design is not only a method, but a way of thinking about all kinds of projects. Of course, it can include esthetic considerations, but also social, economic, technical, technological and political considerations. The exhibition was laid out in such a way that each part provided a piece of information about the project, like a map. And at the center of the exhibition, we set up a table where visitors could express their opinions and offer positive or negative feedback on the projects as well as comments about the exhibition itself. This gave us daily feedback on their experiences.

Can you explain how you chose the title, “Failure by Design”?

There were two reasons. The first one is fairly trivial, but we like to use names from songs or movies (the reference here it to the Failure by Design song by Brand New). The second reason is a bit more substantial, and it is about the misconceptions people may have about what design is. Our exhibition aimed to deconstruct the stereotypes that some people may have about this discipline.

As a winner of the Campus Arts call for projects, what would you say are the benefits of taking part in the JACES days? And what support did you actually receive from the IDEXLYON project?

The national Arts and Culture in Higher Education Days are a way to gain visibility extending far beyond Saint-Étienne and the International Design Biennial in Saint-Étienne. This national event promoted our project beyond the design community, which was especially important to us because our exhibition was created with the general public in mind.

IDEXLYON helped us implement our project by bringing much-needed financial support, which enabled us to invite speakers throughout the exhibition. Receiving support from such an institution was very encouraging. It proved to us that others were interested in our project. We took it as a sign of confidence that gave us the impetus to redouble our efforts.