Recapping Elizabeth Zouzal’s Experience at the Saint-Etienne Biennale

Elizabeth Zouzal, Curator of Design & Engagement at Lear Innovation Center attends the Saint-Etienne Biennal in March 2017 to represent Lear’s sponsor project, Future Foam upcycling furniture project

It’s funny how you have to fly across the ocean to get to know people from your own design community. This was my experience in St. Etienne. The Saint Etienne Design Biennale invited Detroit as a special guest. There were many facets of the Detroit design community represented in France. Because of our shared language and hometown, it felt like we all were more open to sharing experiences with each other and found an easy common ground to start a conversation.

This was very different than previous design biennale experiences for me. Often I have travelled far to meet and greet artists and designers from other countries. Expanding your global network can be beneficial in a long term context (opening the door to other exhibitions, introductions to new publications and journalists, exposing yourself to design thought happening parallel to the thought in your own place, etc.) but this type of interaction with the design community in my place of practice was beneficial is a whole different way. It gave us time to really familiarize ourselves with each other and share opportunities on the home front. Now that I am back in Detroit, I have had many opportunities from the introductions made in St. Etienne.