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Photograph of the Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell

Almanach exhibition explores new ways to build a strong future

Promotion: France's Fondation d'entreprise Martell has launched an exhibition titled Almanach, showcasing local resources collected as part of a research initiative exploring "new ways for building a resilient and equitable future".

The Almanach exhibition, which is the inaugural research project led by the foundation's director Anne-Claire Duprat, centres on production and processes that can be used to develop creative practices.

Interior photo of Almanac
Almanach takes place at Fondation d'entreprise Martell

"This multi-faceted and contributory project explores the processes of production and interdependence in order to better position itself as a tool and catalyst for transition, enabling the development of unique creative practices that bring about change," said Fondation d'entreprise Martell.

"The aim is to create new imaginaries and chart new ways for building a resilient and equitable future."

For the exhibition, which is the first in a series of initiatives from the fondation, a group of designers were tasked with developing an investigative research showcase that involved local institutions, businesses and contacts.

Photo of Almanac exhibition at Fondation d'entreprise Martell
The exhibition forms part of an art and design research initiative

The aim was to highlight local resources in Cognac, where the foundation is located.

"This experimental initiative, which takes the form of an exhibition, residencies, encounters, and a living archive laboratory, emerged from a reflection on how a foundation located in a context that is rural yet industrial, prosperous yet remote, can establish itself as an agent for local dynamism and activate new potential for collective transformation," explained the foundation.

It was led by designer and researcher Olivier Peyricot alongside art and design historian Lola Carrel and designers Valentin Patis and Mathilde Pellé.

The group sourced and curated a number of local samples and objects that give visitors the opportunity to discover forgotten information, abandoned materials and neglected living techniques.

Photo of the Almanac exhibition
The exhibition was set across three rooms

"The subjective view resulting from their observations is presented on the second floor of the Foundation," said the foundation. "It offers an immersion into the collected samples, enabling visitors to rediscover significant materials and neglected deposits, living techniques, and forgotten know-how."

Maps, objects, photos, videos, soundtracks, sketches, documents, art and installations were organised across three spaces within the foundation's exhibition spaces.

Photo of the exhibition
It used locally sourced objects

The first of the three spaces encourages debate and aims to offer visitors a range of understandings of what represents a resource in a region.

"Taking the river as a starting point for exploration, the designers have composed a poetic, historical, material, and industrial evocation of the region, somewhat like an agora," said the foundation.

Photo of an installation
It aims to spark debate and conversation

The second space showcases selected research carried out by the contributors, presented on top of wooden pallets as though organised within a storage hangar.

"The exhibition offers visitors a glimpse into the material and immaterial riches of the region, through a selection of samples in various forms, including maps, objects, photos, videos, soundtracks, materials, substances, sketches, documents, installations, works of art, and so on. But the project is also primarily about sharing," the foundation said.

"As visitors wander around at their discretion, the designers take a didactic approach to presenting the process and methodology that they applied to this research work based in the region."

Photo of a wall of books
It also includes an archive

The final space takes shape as a living archive that will exist following the end of the exhibition. It will be used as a resource for artists and designers as a point of reference through projects, residences and installations taking place at the foundation.

Almanach opens from 30 June to 31 December 2023 at the Fondation d'entreprise Martell in Cognac, France.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Fondation d'entreprise Martell as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell
Almanac exhibition by Fondation d'entreprise Martell