Rendez vous with
Adrien Zammit,
Atelier Formes Vives

Adrien Zammit
Atelier Formes Vives

Or maybe better: Post-meeting considerations.
Adrien Zammit and Nicolas Filloque are the utopian, political and demanding members of Atelier Formes Vives, based in Paris. Both ex-students of Arts Decò, Adrien and Nicolas are full exponents of French graphic design where hand-drawing, forms materiality and printing techniques play an important role. But the most interesting aspects of this duo is their working method. First of all they have redacted a 38 points charta where they explicit their aims and proposals. The main aim is the development of a marketing free practice moved by a democratic need and finalised to the enrichment of common good. Atelier Formes Vives works on politics, as any other communication studios, but with a new and strong awareness of that.
As we recognise the power of communication design in being a key discipline, the transmission of culture in all media channels, the designer’s responsibility towards the community becomes bigger and bigger. Adrien and Nicolas are writing their own new ethic of graphic designers, and at the same time they are putting it into practice in everyday work. (We start to think that the effort of defining what we want our profession to be is a first step in realising it, much more than subscribing an already published Manifesto.)
On Adrien suggestion, we spent time in reading the interviews that students have done and that are published on Formes Vives website. Formes-Vives web publishing activity demonstrate the shared necessity that is one of the main characteristics of new graphic design practice, a free sharing net that permits single improvements to become an advance for all.
So we start understanding that their research and artefacts production is made to support the people who dream a reality that does not involve market economy and Mass individualism. They are not speaking about “clients” because Atelier Formes Vives does not sell projects, they make them, built them with the collaboration of participants (associations, public institutions, unions, publishers). They write:
We are trying to advance our proposals at a speed that allows the commissioner to have a collaborator-critical role, and to be able to redirect projects.

That leaves no possibility to take the wrong road, the project is realized step by step with the collaboration and approval of everyone.
Permeated by Rancière’s philosophy, Atelier Formes Vives does not believe in a expert/ignorant conception, a conception which is not at all suitable with the idea of redactional society where the amount of information is so huge that it is impossible for one single person to menage it (See Pierre Lévy concept of collective intelligence). For that reason one of their future proposal is to work on communication tools that could be useful for amateurs. We are waiting for them!
I met Adrien Zammit in their atelier in south Paris. It was much more than an interview or a talk, I went to their studio full of written papers, of thoughts and questions, annotations on their «Citoyen-graphiste» book, and I went out after three hours without any picture, recorded track or videos but just this A4. Than, in a park nearby, I had to sit and write all the ideas and references I received from this exchange and I found to be really a lot. After five months I’m still studying Rancière (whose name I learned to write correctly), working on the elaboration of tools for collective design, reading Formes-Vives blog and I still feel the sincere enthusiasm, an enthusiasm that appeals only to those who work in something they really believe in.