Romain Coppin and Alexis Bondoux are the two freelance designers who form artistic duo Messgewand (German for “chasuble”, which in French means a priestly vestment but also a colorful sporty tank top.)
Messgewand is a collaborative practice, based between Lyon (FR) and Amsterdam (NL). The two designers met while studying at applied-arts school in Nevers, France where they bonded over a shared skepticism regarding the product-driven nature of their design education. After seven years of education in product/object design, they utilise their disciplines as a medium to question aesthetic conventions and define their own plastic language.
Messgewand explores the concept of mental furniture, midway between functional sculpture and nonfunctional design. That position makes them answer to professional assignments as much as self-initiated projects with a critical approach towards modes of production and representation. Their experimentations are visualized using objects, furniture, sculpture, image, and drawing. By doing so, they challenge the contemporary visual codes and rules of the object design field. Each project is an opportunity to experiment and precise their personal design language.
All of them put together are determining a large research area positioned in a narrow gap between art and design.
Messgewand sees themselves as designers/researchers that have a fascination for aesthetic ambiguity, which is something they use as a tool to create aesthetic contrasts within their objects and try to keep their work constantly in between. Always oscillating between sacred and cheap for instance, which is helping them to mix mass culture and avant-garde. Being ambiguous is also the way they choose to approach as closely as possible a new discipline related to object/furniture, and to the crossroads of many others.
They use their design background to hack the usual product design process of creating and making, such as thinking, sketching, drawing, modeling. They see each step of it as a potential final proposal instead of having them linked in a global and closed production loop.
For Messgewand, it is more fulfilling to experiment with all these mediums independently from each other by keeping them in an open relationship, where they all have the same hierarchy regarding the notion of finality. One of their challenges is to display the results of their experimentations in stages that are not the usual ones. Challenging the conventional process enables them to give abstract and maximal answers to the design practice that they question. The intuitive and raw collage is the main part of their practice, their favorite and most powerful tool to produce their pieces so far. It appears also convenient to express their desires for maximalism. It allows them to mix mediums, popular aesthetics, and domestic codes. Their work is a collage of effects including texture, colors, decoration, accessories - combined with poor material, semi objects, and leftovers that they enhance by layering, covering, compositions, and ornamentation. Thanks to that process, they are able to create dynamic objects, made of contrasts and ambiguity between trash aesthetics and plastic radicality.
2014*2016 Master degree in art and object design * ÉSAD Reims [FR]
2012*2014 Bachelor degree in art and object design * ÉSAD Reims [FR] * Saint-Étienne [FR]
2010*2012 Two-year technical degree in product design * ÉSAAB Nevers [FR]
2009*2010 Preparatory year in applied art * ÉSAAB Nevers [FR]
2006*2009 French high school diploma * Auxonne [FR] Autun [FR]
ALFA residency * Zaventem Ateliers * Bruxelles [BE]
Furniture design for Mamali Shafahi * Prince.sse.s Des Villes * Palais de Tokyo * Paris [FR]
Lecture at École Duperré * Invited by Alice Couture * Paris [FR]
Art installation for Lente Kabinet Festival * Amsterdam [NL]
Set design / exhibition Viral Bodies for NXS World * De School * Amsterdam [NL]
Group show Punx Not Dead * New York Design Week * Jonald Dudd * New York [US]
Videoclip for HyperAlliance. * Rencontres Trans Musicales * Rennes [FR]
Set design launching Novembre Magazine n°12 * CamperLab * Paris [FR]
Illustrations Novembre Magazine n°12 * Paris [FR]
Group show ISOLA3000 * Amsterdam Art Weekend * ISOamsterdam * Amsterdam [NL]
Party curation Ultratatane 4 * OT301 * Amsterdam [NL]
Group show Grupa : The Drone Show * Fanfare * Amsterdam [NL]
Solo show * galerie Fracas * Bruxelles [BE]
Performance Ultratatane 3 party * International Graphic Design Biennial * Chaumont [FR]
Exhibition De l’Expérimentation à l’Édition * D’Days * Musée des Arts Décoratifs * Paris [FR]
Party curation and vjing Ultratatane 2 * OT301 * Amsterdam [NL]
KruxAmsterdam residency * Amsterdam [NL]
Group show Design’R * Reims [FR]
Performance at the party Ultratatane * International Graphic Design Biennial * Chaumont [FR]
Group show Demain C’est Aujourd’hui #4 * International Design Biennial * Saint-Étienne [FR]
Group show Foire d’Art et Design * Reims [FR]
Visuals for the clothing brand Blood Is The New Black * Los Angeles [US]
Performance La Pesée Du Plongeur Myope * Éric Madeleine * galerie Arko * Nevers [FR]
2015 KruxAmsterdam [François Dumas * Erasmus Scherjon * Gero Amsuth] * Amsterdam [NL]
2014 Freelance designer Élise Gabriel * Clermont-Ferrand [FR]
2011 Design studio Les Dieux Vivants * Antoine Laymond * Paris [FR]
2011 Atelier Chaumette * Jean-Baptiste Chaumette * Auxerre [FR]
2010 DIM research and packaging department * Autun [FR]
2010 Tone Object Agency * Besançon [FR]