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Who I am

What I do

How I do it

I’m Simon Vanquaethem, born in 1985 in Roubaix, France. In 2002, I passed my Baccaloreate, (left school) specialised in materials and material processes which gives me a strong and useful technical base. The thing is, I wanted to create more than to build! So in 2004, I joined the French national institute for advanced studies in industrial design (Ensci, Les Ateliers) in Paris, where I’m studying at the moment.

The projects on which I work at Ensci are often in partnership with companies, others are more personal. They enable me to approach different concepts: practical, conceptual, or fictional. I like to sail between these approaches.

Working on my personal projects, I love to work on complex notions such as time or quantic science, ... When I work for companies, I try to think about their clients/users, what is important for them. In the design process, I love to experiment on materials , find technical solutions and moreover work on the communicative part of projects.

The practice of photography takes me on another path. It is formost for pleasure. It enables me to better determine a situation, to exploit it in-depth. Images are very important in the communication of projects. I work with architects, scenographers, designers. Photography particularely interests me as an approach to design.





Strategy & Services

Science fiction & Experiments


25th anniversary of Ensci.

The Swing.

Mix in. Interior concept Renault.

Quantic camera. Science - Fiction.

Architecture. Work in progress.

Pierre Paulin exhibition. Internship.

Night gourd. Matelsom.

EVE. Green Award competition.

Aleph. Variations about Time.

Highway off.

PoignÊe d’Amour. Bed, Matesom.

Food Network. Workshop in Torino.

November 2007

december 2007

March 2009

October 2008

November 2008

Union. cutelery range, Arcoroc May 2009

May 2004

May 2007

July 2007

May 2007

January 2006

Since February 2009

January 2008

On the Sofa. Macrospace. September 2008

Independance. Unexpected Portaits.

Work in progress since May 2008

You. Portaits.

Work in Progress



DESIGN scenography

25th anniversary of Ensci For two weeks we worked on creating of scenography to present the student’s projects and to show the wild range of creativity of the school: an alive and dynamic space. We worked on the image of a world in construction, a world in white with the image of a monumental model. This phantasmagoric landscape modified our perception. Kirigami, a folding and cutting paper technique similar to origami was an interesting way to express these concepts. Put into a large scale, while keeping original material (paper), this technique transforms the court yard into a disproportionate landscape towards which the visitor is attracted. This feeling was amplified by the light effects and shade created by the paper ceiling and the openings due to cutting. Certain zones are plunged into the darkness allowing the videoprojection of projects, whilst others are left in full light, revealing the extent of the landscape.


DESIGN scenography

In the entrance, a large fresco presenting the important moments of life at school The fountains welcome the visitors while projecting images of former students’ projects. A “fountain bar” is also arranged in the same way.


DESIGN scenography

Pierre Paulin Exhibition During an internship in the set design agency of Gaëlle Gabillet, I worked on the projects launched by the “Gallerie des Goblins” for the retrospective exhibition of the work of Pierre Paulin. Titled “Pierre Paulin, le design au pouvoir”, we present our design concepts. Consisting of some sketches of furniture, plans, an estimate budget and a text describing our intentions, it is on that basis that the committee decides on the team which will deal with the design and the realization of the exhibition. We first were interested in the design features and formal work of Pierre Paulin, primarily known to have worked for the Elysée. My work was initially to study and graspe the formal characteristics of the work of Pierre Paulin then to extract some axes of reflexions to build the exhibition concept. I also took part in the design of the file like to the scenographic text of intention.



DESIGN product

The Swing The theme of this subject is “Fluide forms out of wood�, we were asked to design an object using the technical and esthetic properties of this material whilst illustrating the concept of fluidity. The Iconographic research led me to observe the arrangement between the bones and the muscles, I also noticed that they were both extremely resistant and very flexible in their movement. From the esthetic point of view, I was fascinated by these arrangements, by the smoothness of their lines. The idea of movement and continuity, close to the concept of fluidity, led me to design a swing. The base is made out of plywood, shaped and cut out. The back is made out of marsh snap ring, this material is very flexible when plunged in warm water for a long time. The base was then bored to accommodate the file, holes were also bored to guide the cords under the base. This swing is at the same time very comfortable and resistant, it is the cord which supports the weight more than the base.


DESIGN product


DESIGN product

Night Gourd For this project in partnership with Matelsom, we were asked to work at the time between drowsiness and waking up. I wanted to come up with a more practical way of being able to drink at night. Drinking at night time can be inconvenient, however it is also something that we do subconsciously. I thus came up with this object which is a cross between a gourd and a glass. The top part is rigid and made out of glass, just below it there is a type of valve system which regulates the influx of water but also prevents it from going back down, it can therefore also be used for medicinal purposes. The bottom part of the object is flexible to allow the liquid to rise. Due to distribution of the weight, this hermetic object works as a culbuto and does not require attention during its handling.


DESIGN product

“Poignée d’Amour” Le meilleur moment de l’amour, c’est quand on monte les escaliers. Georges Clémenceaux. Eroticism plays a large role in our daily lives, it is broadcasted often in an explicit manner via the media, advertisements and fashion industry. However it has barely scraped the surface in industrial design which remains on the whole modest, even hygienic. Sexuality, although sacred, is at the same time alarming and attracting, opening fields rich in discoveries and experiments. The Matelsom partnership gives me the opportunity to re-design the bed developing some ideas based on the all important activity of making love. The bed is a favourable space for this activity, due to its comfort and its meaning. I thus decided to stress the importance of the bed and the role that it plays in love making by designing it. “Handle of love” is a bed which optimizes and enriches the possibilities of games, positions and different role situations through its subtle and seemingly innocent nature. The bedhead with its mezzanine, the handles and the foot of the bed together form a ground dedicated to the games of love for consenting adults…


DESIGN product

Union When a customer enters a restaurant he comes to have a good time, to discover new flavours, a new place, to share something. In this context, its single representative, the waiter hwo accompanies the customers he must be both discrete and available. In the history of cutlery, although very old, I notice that the shapes we know today were quickly defined. The essential functions of these tools, to cross, to prick, to contain,‌ The usages of these tools has defined shapes for a long time. However, in the restoration, cutlery have the same shape than to those used in the daily life, functional from the point of view of the customer, much less so from the point of view of the waiter. This notion of “serviceâ€? is not taken into account in the design of cutlery. During the change of dishes for example, removing cutlery can be delicate, the knife is not easy to graspe, it is often flat on the table. The waiter must sometimes lean on the table to take it. The presentation of covers during the change of dishes is also delicate, it requires a certain rigor, difficult to reconcile with the speed of the service.


DESIGN product

The range of Union cutelery brings an evolution to the principal “tools� of the waiter, it is conceived to help him in its work. It is based on two strong ideas. On the one hand, to propose a cutelery range high on the table so that they are easy to graspe, thus limiting its presence near the customers. In the second, to facilitate the presentation of cutelery. The knife and the fork of the Union range are assembled together. By maximizing surfaces of contact between the two parts, they become a kind of kit, easy to put on the table, making the presentation easier.




DESIGN service

Mix In This project in partnership with Renault, aimed to re-think the car interior starting from the concept of Emotion. I worked with a partner. We first noticed that the manufacturers proposed a range of vehicles, which can be to be arranged and decorated various options (quality of materials, motorization, or other equipment), but the function of the selected model cannot evolve itself. We decided to imagine the concept of a vehicle whose interior space could evolve...


DESIGN service

Mix-in service gives access to a range of configurations corresponding to the diferent need and desires of users. It is linked to a specific model, the mixeen (average minivan). The ÂŤ Mix-in pass Âť is the key to the vehicle but also allows access to the showroom Mix-in where a whole range of configurations are visible. We took the figure of a child in the car as an example. He has seldom to say in the choice of car, however he does not need leather seats, he also does not really benefit from the landscape because the seat are low. We imagined a space entirely dedicated to children, emphasising the possibility of modifying the height of the seat. In a higher position, the children would benefit the landscape as much as the adults. In a lower position, they have the possibility of being isolated.


DESIGN service

Eve To drink the daily 1,5L of drinking water we need, millions of people have chosen bottled water, especially in industrialised countries. To meet the demand, more than 30 billions of plastic bottles are produced every year. However, only 12% of those are recycled whilst the rest are burned, thrown away or end up in landfills. Most people prefer bottled mineral water, believing it to be of a higher quality. Paradoxically, according to the report published by the WHCL, bottled water provides consumers with no more health benefits than tap water. In addition, bottled water costs generally 200 to 300 times more than tap water!


DESIGN service

We created EVE, a service created to enhance the value of tap water rather than adopting new replacement materials or making technical improvements to the core industrial process. EVE focuses on the essence of the problem: the way people consume drinking water. EVE not only offers the highest quality of pure water at a lower cost, but also provides a value added service based on ethics and principles with the hope of persuading more people to drink in a more ecological way. Once a client is affiliated with EVE, the incorporate filtrating equipment, including a dializer a household reservoir, a pump and a water charger with an electronic controller, will be installed in the kitchen by an official technician to supply pure water for the family. A range of objects consisting of a carafe with a particular base, several delicate glass cups, a gourd are also included in the package to give clients access to the pleasure and the mobility of drinking pure water. A user friendly web site is also at the clients disposal to answer any questions and provide more information about EVE. Regarding payment, a monthly bill will be issued covering all services. The invoice is included with that of normal water consumption so as to be more convenient to the client and to have the possibility to add optimizing equipment to that water too. This project has been awarded at the Green Award competition organised by the Cumulus program.


DESIGN service

Food Network In June 2008, I was selected with four other students to take part in a series of international workshops located in Polenzo (next to Turin). I worked on the project “Food Network”, led by Anna Meroni (Politecnico in Milan) and Martì Guixe (designer). We were asked to resolve the problems involved in the routing and the diffusion of fruit and vegetables from the Slow Food movement and the region of Piemont. The region is very productive and relatively efficient in this field but like so often, the products travel too much to arrive on the display of the supermarket. We met the producers on a market in Turin which sells only their produce, then we went to Eataly, a supermarket owned and managed by the Slow Food movement and finally met the managers of organisation for the maintenance of country agriculture. We came up with the concept of “Locale of the Locale”, whereby both the market and supermarket are opened all day allowing the local producers (maximum of 50km) to ensure that all their products are sold. The surplus will be transformed directly on the spot into juices, soups, tarts e.t.c in order to correspond to the lifestyle of the citizens.




DESIGN science-fiction

Quantic Camera While first working on a subject on light, i wondered “If the Light were tangible… ”, I entered the field of science related to the study of the light, the quantum physics. Field which I didn’t know and which surprised me by the extent of the stakes and the possibilities that it let foresee. If my work concentrated in the beginning on lighting, It seemed more important to me to question on the future scenarios accessible by these technologies. I came up with this idea of giving a report on scenarios, plausible or not, exceeding science. In its evolution photography gives the cinema, the distribution devices evolved, the technique enabled images “to compress time “, making it tend towards the instantaneous. Which could be the future of the devices of “making images “?


DESIGN science-fiction

This project considers the possible future of camera where it is no longer a question of capturing the image of a space but the space itself and to restore it later or in another place. The second project is a postcard which allow “to move” in a virtual way but in a real space captured before…


DESIGN experiment

Aleph... For this subject entitled “soft even fuzzy logical Âť, my work was directed towards Time, an ambiguous concept, at the same time extremely precise but also very relative. I could not speak about Time in all its complexity by reducing it to a clock, time is everywhere, in everything, we entirely depend on it from the beginning to the end but we never perceive it in the same way, it is imperceptible. The idea of genealogy interested me because it is a graphic approximation of the Time, we tend to forget our history, our links with it. My work thus concentrated on the idea of fusion and division, which represents the cause and effect links. I used this concept as a pattern and as a link between several projects which finally composed a family with its own history.


DESIGN experiment




Architecture I’m actually working as a photographer for an architecture studio. I make picture of the houses and offices projects. It’s really intersting and important for me to work on the communication part of projects, learning what is important to show and to who.





Highway off Once crossing the security fence of an highway, I discovered an unexpected landscape ...





On the sofa...
















I hope you appreciated it! If you want more informations about my work... If you’re looking for a trainee... If you know somebody who is looking for a trainee...

Contact me! I could start an internship in the begining of December for a four month period...

Regards, Simon (+33)673 633 062 37

Design Portfolio 2009  

Design Portfolio