Madam Honorary President, dear Claude Lévy-Soussan,

Dear Bernard Moïse, President of the Agora of Design,

Dear Ruedi Baur,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,


I am very pleased to welcome you this evening to the Ministry of Culture.

Very happy because between the ministry and the Agora of design, it’s a long story[1].

Our two houses share the same ambition.

The ambition of a radiant French design, recognized worldwide.

The ambition of strong support for research and creation.

The ambition to accompany innovation, boldness, progress; to help young creators to emerge.

The Agora has contributed to this for over 30 years.

I want to salute its President, Bernard Moïse, as well as its predecessor, Alain Lardet, and its founder, dear Claude Lévy-Soussan, for the tremendous work accomplished.

We also salute the Hermès corporate foundation for its commitment and fidelity.

This story that unites us, it is a joy for me that we extend it, together.

The Ministry of Culture is proud to strengthen its support for the Agora of Design, and to support its new project.

A new project that translates into more young creators supported.

Because tonight, for the first time, we are not rewarding one laureate, but four.

This support for the Agora is part of my ministry’s broader design policy.

To this must be added our art and design colleges and the places and events we attend:

- The Saint-Etienne Biennale,

- Villa Noailles in Hyères,

- The Centre international du graphisme de Chaumont,

- The Centre régional des arts du feu et de la terre in Limoges,

- The International Centre for Research on Glass and Plastic Arts in Marseille,

- The International Glass Art Centre in Meisenthal, among others.

It is up to us to develop this policy in favour of design.

To amplify it.

To renew it.

To direct it towards the new fields of application of the sector.

Because today’s design is no longer yesterday’s. Because social, environmental, political and digital changes are creating new professions – professions on which design has positioned itself, and we must be happy about that. From now on, the designer draws not only objects or furniture, but also systems, services and applications. He brings his creativity to all areas of an organization.

Moreover, France has a wealth of actors, events and companies that contribute to the development of a design culture in our country. More and more companies are embracing design as a tool for transformation, innovation and creation. However, this network and these initiatives remain unknown. 

So we need to rethink our design support policy. Update it, to allow it to meet these new challenges – as much as designers are working to meet them.

Because the designers – all of you here tonight – are the builders of tomorrow. This year’s winners are demonstrating this in their own way.

Because we need you, your jobs, your creativity, your skills, to meet the great challenges of this century.

To transform, in depth, our model of society.

It is in this spirit that, together with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, we are organizing the Design Conference, to be held on December 11 in Bercy.

We organize them with the conviction that we must put designers back at the heart of our design policy.

With the belief that the answers will come from the ground.

They will come from those who bring design to life, who live it every day.

Thus, five themes have been developed and are currently being addressed by organizations spread across the territory.

The Assizes will be the culmination of their work, and the occasion of restitution.

- First theme: how to promote the integration of design practices in public systems.

The government is currently undergoing a major reform of its organization, the Prime Minister is launching a call for applications to recruit «designers of general interest», to disseminate UX methods in public services online, to develop these new skills within administrations.

In this favourable context, it is up to us to structure the integration of design into public policies.

This is what the Cité du design de Saint-Etienne and the 27th Region.

- Second theme: how to integrate design in companies.

While the private sector is increasingly trusting designers, many efforts remain to be made.

Lille Métropole, World Capital of Design 2020, and Lille Design deal with this subject, and I thank them.

- The third theme is our international design policy.

In autumn 2018, the ministry launched a first working group on this theme, alongside the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Business France and the Institut Français.

Together, we set up pilot actions – the strengthening of the French presence at the furniture show in Milan is one of them – and we prepared a first roadmap.

The process of work of the Assizes allows us to pass the hand to the professionals.

Thank you to the Nantes Atlantique School of Design and the «Creative Factory» cluster of Nantes companies for their commitment on this subject.

- The fourth theme of the Assises – and not least – is that of training in design.

We have an extraordinarily rich higher education in design in France. I see many of them here tonight.

Our training offer must constantly be concerned to be in line with the new challenges of design – in terms of research, professional integration and continuing education.

The Camondo School, the Andean design department represented by the Ecole Supérieure d'Art et de Design d'Orléans and Christian Guellerin have agreed to work on it: a big thank you to them.

- The fifth theme is the indispensable enhancement of design.

Three organizations have agreed to lead this theme and form a beautiful alliance: the Agency for the Promotion of Industrial Creation, the French Institute of Design, and the design pole of the Agency for Development and Innovation of New Aquitaine. I thank them for that.

Finally, a cross-cutting theme will be addressed in parallel: the structuring of the design ecosystem.

I believe that the work undertaken for the Assizes offers great hope in this regard.

Because new proposals have emerged.

A dialogue has begun.

And this dialogue must continue, to apply, as of 2020, the roadmap that will be presented on December 11 in Bercy.


That, ladies and gentlemen, is what awaits us for the coming months.

Now, without further ado, I want to present the 2019 Agora Design Awards.

I am pleased to present the two research fellowships to: Pablo Bras for his project «Réseaux disponibles», and Martin De Bie for his project «Savoir-faire artisanal électronique, une voie vers la résilience?».

The exhibition project that most impressed the jury and received the Curator’s Award was that of Christopher Dessus, «Re-see Design».

Finally, the prize for outstanding writing is awarded to Laure Garreau for her text A forgotten exhibition: Jean Prouvé industrial du bâtiment, January 21 - March 31, 1964. Success or failure?”

Congratulations to you, and long live French design!


[1] The Agora Association of Design (founded in 1983 as the Agora Scholarship) has been supported by the Ministry of Culture since 1991