The notion of ornamentation in design is evolving and being inspired by arabesques, motifs and decorative systems from nature. By associating these forms with new technologies and new materials, the creation of design objects is changing. 

How does the poetry of nature become involved with our everyday objects of design ? The advent of the digital world has profoundly changed the notion of ornamentation in design. Ornamental forms have been liberated to appear in a calculated dimension of transformation, of morphogenesis, drawing its dynamics from living processes in nature. Ornamentation is no longer a simple motif but now proclaims itself as an “animated form”. Within this new digital grammar, ornamentation takes on the notion of “wondrous”, which as the philosopher Etienne Souriau said, installs a continuity “between the natural and the supernatural”. 

Discover prototypes of design objects conceived with contemporary techniques, as a preliminary to the 11th Saint-Etienne biennial of design. The exhibition will subsequently change into a digital “cabinet of curiosities”, telling the story of design through some one hundred major works from French and International designers, taken essentially from the collections of the  Mnam/CCI, Centre Pompidou, and of the FNAC.


Martine Dancer-Mourès
Chief Heritage Curator
Deputy to the Director
In charge of the 30th anniversary programme of the MAMC+  

Marie-Ange Brayer
Chief Curator 
Design and Industrial Prospective Mnam-Cci, Centre Pompidou

Artists presented

Laure Albin Guillot, Alisa Andrasek, François Azambourg, Aldo Bakker, Gijs Bakker, Aurel Bauh, Mathias Bengtsson, Francis Bitonti, Tord Boontje, Ronan et Erwan Bouroullec, Andrea Branzi, François Brument et Ammar Eloueini, Fernando & Humberto Campana, Louise Campbell, Wendell Castle, DEMAKERSVAN, Benjamin Dillenburger, André Dubreuil, EZCT - Architecture & Design Research, Vincent Fournier, Frères Thonet, Franck Gehry, Benjamin Graindorge et Ymer&Malta, Michael Hansmeyer, Junya Ishigami, Pierre Jahan, Hella Jongerius, Patrick Jouin, Andrew Kudless, Shiro Kuramata, Joris Laarman, Matthieu Lehanneur, Ross Lovegrove, Nendo, Neri Oxman, Casey Reas, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Aleksandrina Rizova, Il Hoon Roh, Philippe Starck, Frank Tjepkema, David Trubridge, Olivier Van Herpt, Joseph Walsh, Marcel Wanders, Eugen Wiskovsky.



Design and Wondrous: from nature to ornamentation  
Texts by Marie-Ange Brayer, Martine Dancer-Mourès, Sophie Fétro, Veronica Ortega Lo Cascio and Spyros Papapetros. Bilingual: French-English. ISBN 978-2-37382-015-7. Price: 30 euros.

"The exhibition tells an original story of design where ornamentation is explored in its dimension of morphogenesis, of transformation of forms in the digital era. A link between “the natural and the supernatural” (Etienne Souriau), ornamentation takes on the notion of the wondrous."
Marie-Ange Brayer and Martine Dancer-Mourès

+ than 100 works

6 sections

1 cabinet of curiosities

international artists