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Benjamin Loyauté

Design Historian - Exhibition Curator
Author, exhibition curator, Professor at the University of Art and Design in Geneva

The new unappeased

In Roxane Rodriguez, a woman born in 1971, there is an insatiable and humble desire to know, endowed with a curiosity of the mind worthy of philosophers. Her intelligence has always propelled her further, faster. And to satisfy Fénelon, she doesn't hesitate to take advantage of it. Meeting this sharp-witted and workaholic woman is convincing evidence that pleasure is found in the journey rather than the destination. In the pursuit... a quest for excellence that led her to the Biennale des Antiquaires in 2004, a consecration of skills and taste. At that time, she was the youngest participant. Since the opening of her first gallery dedicated to the second half of the 19th century in the Drouot district in 1997, she has tirelessly immersed herself in the worlds of Huysmans and Hugo, tinged with a touch of Baudelaire, to dissect the anatomy of the décors that made this period a true literary treasure. Real decorative paradises that only the erudite and the greatest interior architects can penetrate, much like venturing into the chants of Maldoror by Lautréamont. Imagination is her score, history her melody. Roxane has restored to Universal Exhibitions, to the neo-antique of Charles Guillaume Dhiel, to the neo-renaissance of Henri-Auguste Fourdinois, and to the japonism of Edouard Lièvre, the aura that art history had failed to maintain due to unjust denials. Today, the first act of her journey is complete. At a time when all attention is focused on the 19th century and its distinctive audacity, she writes another scene in her quasi-spiritual pilgrimage. The antiquarian, in the noble sense of the term, has given way to the artist who has been dormant or expressing herself from the beginning. A "decorator," they say, to satisfy the function and its definition. But she is indeed an artist, a captivating stage designer who, after several years, discovers another fulfillment, one that she had already felt during her first decorative work in 2002: Ladurée on Rue Bonaparte. An homage to the indomitable Madeleine Castaing, who, in her time and at the very place, offered the rediscovery of Biedermeir style and liberated neo-classicism that museums had not yet considered. Common ideal, similarity of spirit, and a willful gesture – Roxane Rodriguez exhibits all the symptoms of the former empress of taste. She treads her path with determination and cultivation. Preferring the impulses of the unfulfilled over satisfied desires, she embraces the need for renewal that disregards lethargy and idleness. Roxane continues her life journey, her novel after her initial forays as an antiquarian. She has established an agency on Rue de Seine at the same address as her former gallery opened in 2003. Discreetly, she is constructing a new Ladurée era, marked by Haeckelian science and royal delicacy, as well as a new line of furniture called "knowledge furniture." Thus, she returns to the stage today in an attire that suits her and gives her the ease of creativity. The Ladurée brand, which detected a new momentum in her as early as 2005, has asked her to continue a collaboration that bears the fruits of excellence and French elegance. Roxane has the flaw of never being appeased, but a flaw that is the hallmark of the great who have accustomed history to their deeds. Committing and venturing are the signs of this contemporary elegance that neither freezes history nor her life. She composes her universe, puts forth her ideas, and awakens the desires of all those who dare – Joseph Beuys, Guillaume Dhiel, Tatiana Trouvé, Sauvrezy... all without compromising with the naive conformity of a taste often too visible on glossy paper.

Pierangelo Caramia

Architect DPLG (Diplômé par le Gouvernement) from the University of Florence, Italy, 1984

Designer with a Master's degree in design and urban scenography from Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, 1986

Engaged in design activities in Italy, France, and Japan, collaborating with Memphis, Cassina, Sawaya & Moroni, Alessi, Arredaesse, Costantino, Il coccio, Pirelli (Italy), Xo, Doublet, Tarkett, Dior Parfums, Daum, Thalès (France), Omron, Inter-Art (Japan)

Author of "Ecrits d'Alessandro Mendini" "Les Presses du Réel"

Co-founder of the bolidist movement

Professor at the École Supérieure d'Art Moderne de Paris. Professor at the European School of Art in Brittany in Rennes


I have had the opportunity to witness and experience creations: interiors, "objects," "furniture," and also to be in the company of the mind and person who have generated these presences: Roxane. One of the elements that clearly emerges in the universes she conceives and brings to fruition is the balance of composition between classical language and its updating in the contemporary context. For Roxane, it is not about quoting or reconstructing climates and environments of the past, but rather intervening here and now by applying contemporaneity and the immanence of classical values to our current living spaces. Her attention and gaze take into account the geometry of the golden ratio, historical references selected with an Ariadne's thread guiding her: Cebes, the Pythagoreans, Socrates, Jean Moréas, and symbolism, along with other "journeys" in the spirit of nature. Regarding materials, she delves into a search for their expressive qualities by making ancient materials interact with those of contemporary technological research. Her attention to detail and her implementation of concepts contribute to achieving a result of presence and relevance in our current objects and living spaces, cohabiting styles and generating her own style through a knowledgeable and free experimentation at the same time. Roxane's work is not a museographic or nostalgic endeavor, nor does it resort to codes and symbols useful for "reassuring," but rather an inquiry and research effort that contributes to satisfying the questions of men and women who inhabit the vast territory of contemporaneity.

One of the objectives of her thinking and action seems to be to give objects, furniture, and spaces the role of generators of meaning and habitability. Another important aspect, proceeding in parallel in Roxane's work, is the timelessness of the elements she detects in her creation: timelessness and almost transcendence as a value and as a meticulous selection of archetypes and meanings that have been, are, and will be friendly and supportive presences for us. Her approach is moral but not moralistic, and it contains an attitude towards sociability and exchanges between cultures to detect a "third street" to traverse, always with an attention to avoiding routine. Her aesthetic and plastic research delves into mystery, deceptions, so-called truths, luxury environments, poetry, and the expression of human condition on various levels of interpretation. The balance between the parts of her objects, furniture, and spaces is treated with both classical and experimental tools: anamorphosis, harmony of the color range, creative composition of various materials. During this learned and experimental game with which she composes the elements, elements of diversion, plastic and sensory innovation, and mystery always appear in parallel, nourishing the whole by completing the basic balance. The result is eloquent and falls within the framework of contemporary experimentation with the natural and physiological goal for her, not strategic, of contributing to creating the classics of the future. I would also like to highlight her distinctly feminine approach, positioned as a tribute, as a desire, and as a natural requirement to sew and continue the work of women who have dealt with decorative arts, art, design, and architecture in the past. A sort of courteous and natural "passing of the torch" that she receives from her "friends" and commits to continue and complete with respect and relevance. The "tools of life" she conceives are oriented towards social savoir-vivre, towards courtesy (in the sense of lordly courts of all kinds, past and present), towards decency, towards emotional and material well-being.

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