Janelle: Looking at the design industry right now on a more positive note, what are you excited about? Whether it’s a new material, a process, a style...
Sylvain: I think there’s a return, maybe, to craft and natural materials, handmade processes, and textures. I've been making my own ceramics lately, which is basically earth and water.
Janelle: I wonder if that’s something cyclical? I remember early in the previous decade, there was another rise in ceramics and the handmade that seemed to coincide with similar economic uncertainties.
Sylvain: At some point, you always want to go back to very basic things. I'm talking from my own experience, although I think others would relate: as much as the technology has enabled us to do so many things through the pandemic, everyone's also spent too much time on their screens. I just wanted to close my computer and do stuff with my hands—and when your hands are dirty, you can’t use your keyboard.
Theo: I really appreciate the tactility and spontaneity of making things. There are potentially economic reasons behind that, which you alluded to, Janelle: Craft processes sort of sidestep the need for investment in production. What I've also seen lately that I'm excited about is that through these global challenges, there is a real inventiveness with materials themselves, the adaptive reuse of waste and other overlooked, raw components. There hasn't been quite as much as far as new forms, new languages, or new products themselves, but students are experimenting with bioplastics. They’re taking toxic elements and firing them so that they become inert.
Sylvain: Absolutely. You’ve said a few words that for me are quite key: experimentation and research. I would not have been able to think of Print by just sitting behind my computer; it came out of experimentation, and that’s really, really important. As a designer, as a company, you need to invest and allocate some time in researching, experimenting, playing around, and sometimes just freeing your mind from everything you know already. Go towards the unexpected, new avenues where you haven’t been. That's when you come up with the most exciting ideas, or the most exciting results.