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ROXANE LAHIDJI

ROXANE LAHIDJI

1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

I was born and raised in Paris, then I studied in the National applied art school of Strasbourg (HEAR) and at the Design Academy of Eindhoven (Nl)

2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

Most probably the Enki Bilal posters we had everywhere in the house … but I was drawing from a very young age and reading a lot of comics.

3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

Yes.

4. What led you to the design creation ?

I like the broadness of design. What does the term “design” even means? Its significance changes with every personality and opinion. However I would state that the vast majority defines design as a work of applied arts, meaning a creation having a functional purpose. That is the comforting side of design, you are not alone with the terrifying mirror of your creation, which you are expressing within a context, there are walls defining your path. On the other side, you need to justify this creation in order to spread it. It forces a positioning, hence a certain level of critical thinking. I like the broadness of design. Since I was a child I’ve been self-training in many different fields (fashion , illustration, food design, products etc.) and always decided, after reaching a sort of confort zone, to switch to something else, in order to keep on learning, failing, improving and being stimulated. Design is a sort of school of life for me, it is both very grounding and imaginative in all aspects.

5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

I am most likely starting with material research and development : What is the material? What is it made of? What is the composition and properties? How is it usually processed and to what end? Once I’ve reached interesting results, I try to establish an intellectual connexion with it, meaning, a social and philosophical significance in order to evaluate what kind of impact this project could have: Where does it come from? Who is extracting and processing it? Is it expensive? Why? etc. Those last questions combined with the previous technical experiences help me finding a story telling, define a function and a final shaping ( which usually evolves a lot throughout the last development phase). I would describe my design practice as a mix of alchemy, sculpture, philosophy and sociology.

6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

I need to be physically active all day long in order to get thoughts and ideas running- During the time I spend in public transports (subway/train) I usually do mails. I arrive at the studio around 9:30am starting by switching the machines on and looking at the to do list I update every other day. Then I work on my pieces : I empty my moulds if the time has come and fill them up again, I polish the pieces already in process etc. and in between I usually develop other experimentations (last year was weaving and heat pressing leather leftovers, this year is about growing crystals on different types of textiles). My days are usually 8 hours long, sometimes more. At night I work on sketchs, cost estimations for new projects, editing pictures, updating my website etc. I rarely have a redondant routine, everyday is different.

7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

I like the idea of common and universal materials processed and shaped in a unique result. I choose versatile and adaptable materials allowing a certain amount of randomness in the process and enabling a completely unrecognisable look. As for the marbled salts, I can make anything I want giving the conditions that some body wants me to do it. It deeply helps me to understand my strength and weaknesses, my fascination and my boredom as a creator, where I can add a relevance and where I shouldn’t go.

8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

The transformation of matter is visible through the pattern and the texture. I like ovoide shapes, subtil curves and contrasts of colours and finishings.

9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

Find the right mentor(s): which opinion do you actually care for, which advices are constructive to feed and manage your creative flow, but most importantly to your personal development and over all well being. Question those advices and acknowledge their influence on your consciousness and choices. Then learn from your mentor(s), practice again, again and again, until you master a technique, then choose what you find unique in this technique (or what is unique in the way you are exercising it), create an artwork. Take some distance, find what’s missing, go looking for it, seek your mentors feedback, and start another cycle: practice again and again and again.
Accept and embrace the fact that nothing is yours, nor was invented or discovered by yourself. Your personality and work’s uniqueness reside in the mix of influences, inspirations and experiences you chose and gathered yourself. Believe in this blend and be as self critical as you realistically can.

10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

The wave of biomimicry.

11. What designers have influenced you ?

Joris Laarman, Issey Miyake, Tokujin Yoshioka, Aldo Bakker, Fernando Mastrangelo, Matthieu Lehanneur …

12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

All the ones previously mentioned, yet also India Madhavi, the Bouroullec brothers, Os and Oos, Forma Fantasma, Nadja Zerunian, Faye TooGood, Olivier Van Herpt, Vincenzo De Cotiis, Llewellyn Chupin etc.

13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

Not necessarily contemporary: (Comics) Moebius, E. Bilal, H. Miyazaki (Sculpture) A. Kapoor, Michelangelo, T. Cragg, Brancusi, I. Noguchi, G. Pennone (Painting) L. Da Vinci, Il Caravaggio, Vermer, Hokusai, Yves Klein (Photography) Yann Arthus Bertrand, Sebastião Salgado, Benjamin Everett …

14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

I want to reproduce the look of extremely valuable and natural materials with commonly cheap ones or even wastes.

15. Is there anything you would like to add ?

This interview was very interesting, I am curious to read what will come out of it !

Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
(The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A river going down a mountain in the sun

2. What is your greatest fear?

Fear

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Narcissism

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Cowardliness, and the dishonest hypocrisy going along with it.

5. Which living person do you most admire?

My four parents

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

My current project

7. What is your current state of mind?

Breathe

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Eloquence… and perhaps smartness.

9. What is the quality you most like in a man?

Wisdom and open-mindedness

10. What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Wisdom and open-mindedness

11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Value, consciousness, perception, subjectivity

12. Which talent would you most like to have?

Being multi lingual (speaking fluently at least 5 or 6 languages)

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My past… or my size.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My philosophy of life, and my flexibility.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

An eagle

16. Where would you most like to live?

In a sharp mountain over the sea, in the Mediterranean region.

17. What is your most treasured possession?

A golden locket from Iran with the libra sign, the sun on one side and the moon on the other, given by my father’s grand mother. A silver bracelet from Syria given by my mother’s grand mother.

18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Undesired/unchosen loneliness

19. What is your favorite occupation?

Thinking. Most likely walking while listening to music

20. What is your most marked characteristic?

Independence and the will to be

21. What do you most value in your friends?

Tolerance and critical thinking

22. Who are your favorite writers?

Hard question since I am more of a book person than an author person, and some of my favourite books are not literature for say, but rather Philosophical thoughts, socio economical researchs, anthropological study cases, political essays etc. However I could quote a couple writers as Isaac Asimov, Murakami, Tolkien, Camus, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Paul Coelho, Edgard Allan Poe, Robert Desnos etc.

23. Who is your hero of fiction?

Yoda

24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Nefertiti

25. Who are your heroes in real life?

Quite classical: M. Luther King, Gandhi, Noam Chomsky, Edward Snowden etc.

And my parents.

26. What are your favorite names?

Naora, Sharam, Sheyda, Willem, William, Sarah, Adam, Gabrielle, Emma, Giuseppe, Kendra, Tsukasa, Shen …

27. What is it that you most dislike?

Gravity

28. What is your greatest regret?

Hiding love

29. How would you like to die?

From aging. But not too late.

30. What is your motto?

It’s just a dream

Roxane Lahidji 2
Roxane Lahidji 6
Roxane Lahidji 4
Roxane Lahidji 5

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