The Comfort Zones exhibition invites you to explore a curious place, the home of a col- lector every bit as compulsive and eclectic as the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap) itself.
The exhibition suggests different ways to experience ‘comfort’, a concept that has beco- me so omnipresent in design practice and theory that it has almost grown impercep- tible. Where does this “state of convenience and well-being akin to pleasure to which all men naturally aspire”1 come from? What forms does it take?
Objects spread throughout the exhibition take their place on a grand stage where they simultaneously serve as the set, the actors and the props. The entire exhibition is a play in four acts with one intermission.
In the Office, functional objects project an image of ‘modern comfort’. These material possessions are designed to improve consumers’ daily life by relieving them of labo- rious tasks. The Reception area presents as a vast living room, adorned with furniture designed to give the weary a place to rest. The Play Area brings together objects that trade in pure functionalism for fun and triviality. Lastly, the Antechamber turns our un- derstanding of well-being on its head by raising certain contemporary quandaries.
Halfway through the exhibit, visitors have the chance to test out different pieces of fur- niture at a break area on the mezzanine level. Here, they can also experience L’Écouteur, a modern-day interpretation of music rooms created by Laurent Massaloux and Jean- Yves Leloup.
The majority of the objects displayed were designed to satisfy our minds and bodies. They reveal the nature of our domestic activities and concerns. While projecting a sense of familiarity, the exhibition invites visitors to reconsider the shapes and uses of the objects that make up the environment around us. Comfort Zones places mass-manufac- tured products, comfort produced in standardised forms, alongside works that upset the standard models. In doing so, the exhibition reflects two contemporary movements in design: the search for solutions and the formulation of critiques.
Comfort Zones is the product of a partnership between the city of Nancy, Galerie Poirel and the Cnap. It is the first in a series of three exhibitions that will offer different pers- pectives on the Cnap’s design collection.