In Conversation with Chantal Hamaide: Curator, Inaugural Edition of CARTE BLANCHE

For the first time this year, IFFS partners Chantal Hamaide — Founder of internationally acclaimed French design magazine, Intramuros — to present CARTE BLANCHE (pronounced “KAAT” + “BLONSH”). Comprising an assortment of furniture, accessories, décor and design objects, this showcase will be the fair’s main focal point where a number of IFFS 2018 activities will be hosted.

We caught up with Chantal to get her thoughts about furniture fairs, Singapore, and this project.


Q: Based on your extensive experience, what is the role played by international furniture fairs such as IFFS today?

CH: International furniture fairs — even in our digital era — still offer exceptional visibility, and they act as a magnet to attract buyers, editors, and influencers from all over the planet. These fairs usually come with a series of satellite events (e.g. Design Weeks), which play a key role in helping young designers to come under the limelight, so as to catch the attention of buyers, manufacturers, journalists, and influencers.

These are essential high-quality cultural meeting platforms, enriching for all attendees. Their role, in my opinion, is vital for this industry. 

As I have been personally dedicated to the business of trade fairs for years, I believe they help to emphasise a global vision, bringing forces together and understanding the many evolutions of the design market.


Q: What was your first impression of the Singapore creative scene?

CH: I first visited Singapore a few years ago for the launch of the National Design Centre, which enthused me. During my stay, I also visited and discovered the International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) with sincere pleasure — the fair comprised carefully selected brands hailing from various parts of the world, France or the USA, Asia…

I was also impressed, when touring the School of Design & Environment at NUS, by the high standards in education and the strong level of motivation and interest the students were showing. I certainly share the view of Christian Boucharenc, Associate Professor & Deputy Head of the department, when he stresses the fact that the real chance of designers today is to be able to access global knowledge while finding inspiration in their own culture. In that context, one will fully grasp the importance of international exchanges and relationships.


IFFS: What would you like to achieve or to highlight through your CARTE BLANCHE curation?

CH: Important Singaporean designers such as Patrick Chia or, in recent years, Studio Juju have benefited from being exposed to international attention — whether in Milan, Paris, or elsewhere. As far as I am concerned, collaborating with IFFS in CARTE BLANCHE also means being handed the opportunity to highlight different languages of design, co-existing within the context of an international market. And, obviously, being of a curious nature, this is also the ideal occasion for me to discover some up-and-coming talents!

This edition of CARTE BLANCHE also marks the first time Chantal collaborates with Erik Arlen and Ludovic Roth — founders of ARRO Studio — who will handle the scenography. Visit the feature area in March to experience the showcase first-hand!