Gilles Rantière, Village miniature/Miniature village

a town hall
pictures courtesy of Annie Fortin
This miniature village is located outside St Michel-Mont-Mercure, a community of some 1700 inhabitants in the Vendée area in France. Its name refers to a 288 m high hill on the spot, the highest of the region.
Life and work
The mini village, a project begun 2006 and still under construction, is a creation of Gilles Rantière, born in 1948 and a mason probably during all of his life.

a school

The mini village, still modest in size, currently includes a town hall, a school. a church, a mill, a wash-house (a lavoir in french), a barn and a little bridge. To construct these small structures Rantière would mainly use granite stones from nearby Haute Bocage, a hilly area with deep valleys interspersed with rocky ground and granite hills.

the church with the priest in front

The small constructions are finished in detail. For example, the inside of the church pictured above is equipped with benches and a priest at the altar. The school (second picture from above) has tables and a teachers desk.
And in the town hall (first picture from above) the mayor is present, as well as a bride and a groom, both dressed festively for their wedding day.

Rantière would place these characters before installing the roofs of the buildings.

the stable

Those who are familiar with the field of French art environments might think that the characters in the above photos in some way feel familiar. 
And right they are. These small scale sculptures have been created by Vivi Fortin, who is already in this weblog.
a miller in front of a flour mill
Above picture shows this clearly. The miller carrying a bag of flour (= former french president Nicolas Sarkozy) is typically in Fortin’s style. 
Rantiére and Fortin live close together in neighboring villages. Their continuous collaboration not only adds an extra charm to this art environment, but is also quite unique in the field of art environments, which in general mostly knows isolated working self-taught artists.

 Rantière in front of the flour mill (february 2018)

Incidentally, the flour mill is also a recent creation, completed early 2018.


* Entry with pictures in Vivi Fortin’s weblog Sculpture du pas
* Article (june 2014) in regional newspaper Ouest-France
Gilles Rantière
Village miniature
Lieu dit la Girauderie
St Michel-Mont-Mercure, Vendée, Pays de la Loire, France
visitors welcome in summer months

Post Modernity and the Current State of Design

The 1960s signaled the recognition of several co-existing cultural expressions in art and design, a situation sometimes referred to as Pluralism, in which no single approach to modernity dominated, and the value of all commodities overshadowed former distinctions between good, mass, and popular design (Raizman, p.354). Thomas Crowe summarized this situation by saying, “The avant-garde is the research and development branch of the culture industry.”


Dissatisfaction with modernism affected architecture and city planning before it reached design. In her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs stated her views against “monolithic uniformity of the modernist vision” saying that cities should instead be a sort of patchwork of new, old and renovated buildings that relate to the human-scale of the street level. Five years later (1967) architect Robert Venturi also declared a preference for “messy vitality” over “obvious unity” in a manifesto entitled Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. He flipped the script of Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” by saying “less is a bore.” Denise Scott Brown’s Learner from Las Vegas launched the postmodern movement saying the building façade should be a medium of communication, and forms of pure information. Ralph Caplan, a critic and contributor to I.D., claimed that boredom from the modernist movement resulted in an inclination towards flashy, colorful, ephemeral products. He stated, “after so many years of clean, stark, unlittered design, product designers, like architects, are saying, ‘Why the hell shouldn’t there be some fun in it?’” Form follows function was translating into form follows emotion, during post modernity.


For design, postmodernism includes projects and forms that mark the end to the ongoing argument between esthetically-directed or socially-directed design and commercially motivated design, which appeared as a strain of modernism that dominated design theory for much of the two decades following WWII. “Theoretically, postmodernism shares with mass culture a user-oriented approach to design that emphasizes multiple interpretations and meaning and often embraces the ephemeral rather than the permanent characteristics of the design enterprise, exemplified by… performance art and the inclusiveness of popular art forms,” (Raizman, p. 354). Postmodernism also is often discussed in conjunction with post-industrialism and late capitalism, where consumption is the subtext. It is marked by the readiness of businesses to design, manufacture and market new products with ever-increasing speed. Postmodern products were designed on a higher level of sophistication due to an accelerated interactivity between design, manufacturing and marketing through the use of digital technology.

Postmodernism, or Pluralism, was the overall theme for the Design Now: Industry or Art exhibition in the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt in 1989. The Formic Corporation requested members of the Memphis design group to design furniture using their new ColorCore product, which could be molded and cut, yielding products like Stanley Tigerman’s Tete a Tete chairs of 1983. Another chair produced using Pluralism design values was Robert Venturi’s Chippendale chair of 1984, which mocked important tenets of modern industrial design, which flaunted its decorating through the use of colorful painting, rather than eliminating ornament or expressing it as subservient. French architect/designer Philippe Starck emerged in the mid-1980s with original furniture designs for sophisticated clients, working with Art Deco and using assembled industrial materials, simple geometric shapes and collapsibility for storage. American architect/designer Michael Graves designed a moderne-inspired tea and coffee service set with polished surfaces and non-functional blue knobs. He was also hired by Target to design a series of household products, for which he used an egg shape for inspiration, saying it was ergonomically friendly design.

Technology & Design

Digital technology has had a major impact upon the practice of graphic design. The interface of the computer experienced major developments and change during the 1980s, thanks largely to Mac computers. The experience of the user shifted from turning pages to clicking links, showing windows filled with information that was seen, read, and heard—often all at the same time. Programming changed from type and images in electronic code to creating and controlling those object with an interactive mouse that moved across a virtual desktop. Contemporary design is often referred to as “soft” design: the use and manipulation of virtual (rather than real) materials and forms through computer imaging, which allows one to work more dynamically and experimentally in a more interactive and collaborative process.
“In a sense, it seemed that the history of design in the US had come full circle. Although most people could not fathom the complexity of the software that enabled them to design their own websites, or that in the future might be enable them to participate in the designing of their own clothes, furnishings, appliances, or automobiles, the transparency of that software’s interfaces gave them a feeling of being closer to the source of things, closer to the basic level of the artisan or craftsperson, than at any time since the advent of the Industrial Revolution.” (Meikle, p. 210).
Do you think computer interface and software has helped you in your own design process? Do you think you would reach the same conclusions in your designs without the use of computers and computer programs? Is there a negative side to using computers as part of the creative design process?

Reform & Social Responsibility

Not unlike so many other contemporary products, phones have become a lifestyle accessory, which is tailored to our age group and aims to help us become the image we would like to be perceived as. Should shopping for a phone result in so many options? Are we really being presented with several quality options, or has the quality and durability of components and materials been degraded and combined with variety to make the phone market another case of planned obsolescence? Has our culture become a “throw away” culture? Or are we now moving away from this direction, heading towards a “green” movement? Perhaps we are only faking this so-called “green” movement as yet another marketing ploy to see more products when none are actually needed by the consumer?

(But not really because we’re living in Postmodernity/the current state of design!)

“Somewhere between universal standards based upon taste, safety, human factors, or environmental impact, and a democratic embrace of the seemingly insatiable desire for individual fulfillment through commodity consumption, there may lie a middle-ground that sustains hope for the future of design, a balance between the permanent and the ephemeral, between nature and the consumer-dominated culture that has emerged during the past 200 years,” (Raizman, p. 363).

Arts and Crafts Movement: Britain

Towards the end of the nineteenth century many outspoken and influential writers, artists, and reformists began to rebel against the overly ornate, machine-made, Victorian style and strive for more simplistic, man-made pieces. This brought about the Arts and Crafts movement. 

One of the pioneers of the Arts and Crafts movements was John Ruskin, an art critic, writer, and social reformer who believed that the beauty of an objects was found in its construction. The method, the materials, and the struggle of the artist were to him just as important as the finished object. He disliked the “perfection” of the objects made by machines because he thought that it was not personal and the workers creating them lacked joy and pride in their work (Raizman 107). Ruskin concentrated more on the spiritual benefits of design than the technology, production, or beauty of the products. 

A contemporary of Ruskin’s, William Morris, was also a big contributer to the Arts and Crafts movement. Morris was not only a designer, artist, and craftsman: he was also a poet, novelist, publisher, socialist, translator, and public speaker. He too disapproved of the emphasis placed on money, material goods and the over- indulgence of the Victorian Era. He began his interest with design through the interiors of his own house (Red House, designed by Philip Webb). Rather than buying the furniture for his house in shops, William Morris and his friends decided to create the pieces for his home which later lead to the firm Morris, Marshall, and Faulkner (109). The firm moved away from the creation of furniture and toward the design of patterns for ceramic tile, embroidery, wallpaper, carpets, and printed fabrics (111). He refused to use machines to creates his patterns which were focused on nature and were two-dimensional. Despite his best efforts to “overthrow” the use of the machine, his hand-made design were more expensive and took more time to create. He realized that man would have to learn to work along with the machine to be successful. 


Do you think that even because they realized that they could not completely do without the machine, the Arts and Crafts Movement was still successful? 

Do you believe that as a society we have once again turned our backs on hand-made goods and opted for more cheaply made machine products? (EX: buying products from IKEA instead of from local craftsman)

Vitaliy Nikolaevich Cherepanov, Усадьба Черепанова/Cherepanov Manor

wooden ladies and the artist (2017)
this picture and the next two by Dmitry Moskvin
Three wooden sculptures of well-dressed ladies welcome visitors at Cherepanov’s art environment which he began to create in 2001 when he got retired and settled with his wife in the community of Visim (Sverdlovsk region, Russia).

Life and works

Born in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s in Ilyinka in the Kirov region, Vitaliy Nikolaevich Cherepanov already at a young age showed a talent for creative as well as technical activities. Growing up in a rural environment in difficult times, as a young boy he for example made his own wooden toys.

As a young man he got a job as a tractor driver and mechanic in the agricultural sector, working there until he was conscripted in the military and for some four years was encamped in Kamchatka in the far east of Russia, where he was a mechanic on a submarine.

After military service Cherepanov settled in the 1960’s in the city of Nizhny Tagil, an industrial center in the Middle Urals in the Sverdlovsk region. Here he got a job at a company in the field of metallurgy.

And here he also met his future wife, Nina Mihailovna, who has an artistic talent in embroidery.
In his free time Cherepanov made wooden sculptures, paintings and decorations for the interior of his house. He also got some local fame by converting a normal Russian car (a Zaporozehets ) in a semi-sporty car of fairly modern design.
When Cherepanov got retired from work, the couple preferred to change the busy city for a more rural environment. So in 2001 they moved to the small community of Visim, some 50 kms south-west of Nizhny Tagil (of which the village also is an administrative part).

Here Cherepanov found both the time and the space to fully express his creative talent. 
this picture and the next two from touristic website Go To Ural

Creating an art environment

Cheperanov’s creative activities brought a major transformation of his house and garden about.

The elongated roof of the living house was fully decorated with a painting in pastel colors depicting a rural landscape.

The exterior walls of the house and the gazebo were decorated with a variety of sculpted woodworks.

These consist of illustrative scenes, such as in above picture the portrayal in high relief of a couple enjoying a drink, alternated with decorations with various geometric patterns, as often can be seen on old Russian farmhouses.

In front of one of the walls two life-size wooden warriors or guards with swords are posted.

a firebird

One aspect of Cherepanov’s artistic activity gives this art environment its own specific signature: the series of life-sized wooden sculptures that are mainly derived from beloved Russian fairytales.

So the various stories about the firebird, depicted above, often have to do with a hero leaving for a difficult quest after finding a beatiful feather of a bird.
this picture and the next two: edited screen prints
from the second video referred to in the documentaton
And above pictured Pinocchio, originally a character in a book for children by the Italian author Carlo Collodi, published in 1883, also became a well known character, not least because of the Walt Disney movie that featured him.

Other wooden sculptures include personalities that occur mainly in Russian stories, such as the lady in above picture. With her purse and outdated hat she probably is the old lady Shapoklyak, a character in a story by Eduard Uspensky. Her name is derived from the French name for a specific hat: the chapeau claque.

The crocodile with the accordeon probably refers to a fairy tale by Korei Chukovsky, published in Russia in 1919 with the title Приключения Крокодила Крокодиловича (The adventures of crocodile Crocodile).

Cherepanov’s wooden personalites also include characters from daily life, such as in above picture, which might depict the local postman on his daily round.

Actual situation

Begun in 2001, the site currently has become an integral part of the local community. Chereparov and his wife are respected inhabitants of the village and Chereparov even was awarded the title of honorary citizen of the community.

The site attracts a lot of interested visitors, both from Russia and abroad, who often receive a warm welcome.

A museum ?

The village of Visim has touristic potential because of its history, its location near a nature reserve and its various sights. The community already has a house-museum, where the Russian author Dmitriy Mamin-Sibiryak lived.

Local authorities have suggested that the manor could also become an official house-museum, but Cherepanov and his wife feared that this would oblige them too much and they rejected the proposal..


* Article (november 2016) on touristic website Nash Ural

* Article (july 2016) on touristic website Ural Map, with a large series of pictures
* Video by Sergey Shadrin (4’45”, You Tube, downloaded june 2017), mainly showing visitors of Cherepanov’s personal exhibition (2017) of his artworks in the home museum of Dmitriy Mamin-Sibiryak, but also with shots of the art environment

* Another video by Sergey Shadrin (2’07”. You Tube, downloaded june 2017), showing Cherepanov welcoming some visitors of his house and garden

Vitaly Nikolaevich Cherepanov
Cherepanov Manor
Kalinina Street 64
Visim, Nizhny Tagil, Sverdlovsk region, Russia
visitors are welcome
link to Google Maps

Photo shoot preparations

We are now on location in an old, closed-down locomotive shed in Randers shooting our new Tendencies 2014 collection.

We will soon bring you some sneak peeks from the new collection – so be sure to drop by soon 🙂

Favorite Bloggers Friday

Hi Guys!
How has the rest of your week been? Hope it’s been pretty awesome! I’m looking forward to this weekend as well…lots  of fun stuff happening in the Buycks household!


Thanks for stopping by for Favorite Bloggers Friday where I share some of my favorite bloggers and friends in Blogland! My hope is that I introduce you to some new peeps out there that will inspire you to live a bigger, fuller, happier, healthier, fun life!

First up, we have one of my faves! I’ve been following her for a pretty long time and her style is timeless. I just love Melaine of My Sweet Savannah and have loved getting to know her through her blog and even more now in person. Melaine is my local pick this week as she is from the PNW and lives just a short distance from me. There is NO doubt that she is beyond talented and offers something for just about anyone who loves décor, DIY, Thrifting, crafting…the list goes on. And eye candy for days…check out her blog if you already haven’t and follow along!
Next up is Kristen of Bliss at Home. I “met” Kristen last year during our Christmas Blogger Home Tour and have loved getting to know her since then and following along on her design and life journey! Her blog is super fun and she shares all sorts of fun ideas and ways to bling out your home with style. Head on over and check out Bliss at Home!
Lindsay is just great and her style is amazing. She blends modern flavor with a bit of an eclectic touch to make magic happen in her home and others’. Lindsay also has a heart of gold which she shares a bit of on her blog as well. You are truly in for a treat WHEN you follow along. Eh, hm. Seriously though…you don’t want to miss out on all the fun inspiration and ideas Lindsay shares over at her place.
Since I started with a PNW blogger friend, it’s only fitting that I finish with one as well. I my this Oregan blogger friend on Instagram after I felt it necessary to help her find a West Elm product she was looking for. I just couldn’t leave her hanging and I’ve enjoyed following along on her adventures ever since. Denise blogs with great style and personality and her home speaks of one well curated over time with pieces that she loves. I invite you to follow her and visit often!

Restaurant Interior Design

The interior design of a restaurant is very important as it can draw customers in or it can make them never want to come back. Not only do you have to consider how to best draw in customers you also have to ensure the design allows for productivity of your employees. If the layout is poorly designed employees will need more time to complete regular activities which can lead to poor customer service. Don’t leave this to chance. It may be best to hire a restaurant interior design firm to ensure you can meets the needs of your employees while giving your customers an atmosphere they cannot wait to return to.
When considering restaurant interior design and how it will affect your customers, the first rule to remember is that you cannot please everyone. Someone is going to walk in and not like the look of your restaurant and that is okay. As long as the majority of your customers are comfortable you will be fine. The easiest way to do this is to allow the interior to reflect your personal tastes. A combination of ambiance and good food will be sure to bring people back time and again.

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The layout is also important in restaurant interior design. Kitchens should be designed in such a way that a number of people can work together comfortably without interfering with each other. Areas will need to be set aside for food storage, incoming shipments, and dishwashing as well as food preparation. Always allow room for expansion in the future as your goal is to grow your business. Two other areas that need to be focused on for employee satisfaction are the employee bathrooms and staff area. The restrooms for employees don’t have to be attractive, just functional. Employees do not want to have to share with the customers and should not be forced to do so. The staff area is important for a similar reason. Your workers need somewhere to put their personal belongings and have a breather when things slow down. Make this comfortable, but don’t go overboard as you don’t want your employees spending too much time in this room.
When considering restaurant interior design that will affect the customers, there are many areas you need to take into account. Space is important in the dining area. Employees need to be able to move around between tables with ease and customers don’t want to be sitting too close to other tables. Yet you need to balance this by taking into consideration that open areas can be overwhelming when the restaurant is not filled to capacity. Don’t forget a cashier area placed discreetly by the door. Ensure this does not interfere with normal flow of traffic. By considering all of these things when designing your restaurant, you will be sure to have a layout that is pleasing to all.

Cheap Interior Design Ideas

Cheap interior design ideas come in many forms these days. From television shows to magazines, the industry is trying to teach the consumer how to design cheap. In the past, ideas such as cheap design shows would have left most interior designers horrified. The industry of interior design has changed dramatically over the past few years in order to better accommodate consumers.
In it’s early to mid stages of evolution, interior design was an industry of prestige. Now, due to the demand for cost-cutting design for the average customer, designing on a budget and cheap interior design has become a topic of much interest and acceptance. Of course, you will always find the designers who absolutely insist that durability and style of a design is identifiable with the name brand associated with the contents therein, which relates back to the price tag. Most everyday people do not relate to this line of thinking therefore it has become increasingly unpopular within the normal ranks of the professionals in the industry.

cheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideascheap interior design ideas

A secret tool to marvelous rooms created using cheap interior design ideas is good decision making. By purchasing some slightly more expensive key items in a room’s furniture and cost-cutting on the smaller items or accessories you can save big bucks and still achieve the same look that is achieved in other more expensive, name brand rooms. The first question that pops into your mind here is likely to be, alright, simple concept, now where do I buy the bargain items?
Easily answered! Your hunt for cheap interior design ideas and items can begin successfully at any bargain-type store. The stores and availability of items in these stores will vary according to your location. Many times, there are locally known ‘bargain bins’ or stores at which you can by slightly-damaged or used items at a fraction of the cost associated with similar store bought items. When buying at these stores, be careful not to overspend. Many of us have a tenancy to get overly enthused and purchase items that are not good bargains or ones that we are not very likely to use. Save your money for where it counts. If you bargain shop for long enough, you will find the perfect items that fit into your lifestyle and space, just waiting for you to purchase!
Some accessories are easier to find bargains on then others. If you search and search for a certain item and are unable to find it, try to improvise or select another similar item to take its’ place. Cheap interior design ideas are abundant to the creative thinker who is willing to overcome obstacles with unusual, cheap solutions. Keep your mind open to all possibilities and applications of furniture…a pulled-together solution adds style and a conversation piece to any room.
Other places you can find cheap interior design ideas are yard sales, estate sales, and flea markets. Remember again when shopping in areas such as this that it is easy to get caught up in the moment and overspend. Take your time and comb the items carefully for objects of value. Many times in these type of sales the physically larger items tend to sell for more then cost value and the smaller valuable items are looked over in haste. Cheap interior design ideas are not limited to large items! If you find a good deal on an accessory or such, especially If it is part of a group or collection of items, buy it and use it to accentuate your other items.
Cheap interior design ideas are easy to find these days, you just have to know the right places to look and the right items to purchase. Time is the essential element in designing cheaply. Patience pays off in most any situation, including interior design!

Eclecticism: the Influence of the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts.

Eclecticism: the Influence of the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts.

“The Paris Ecole, really the first truly professional school of architecture” (Pile, 301). In Paris, the Ecole school developed a new style of teaching that focused on the history of Architecture, especially focusing on the architecture of classical antiquity. “Fashions drew from (historicism) and travel,..” (Raizman, 31); historical backgrounds were the concept of the School, as seen in the Paris Opera HouseThe Influence from all ways of the past, from Classic Greece to the palace’s of France. The school took ideas from the past and melded them together into a new style; Eclecticism.

Jean-Louis Charles Garnier designed the Paris Opera House, making a major statement of the influence of the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts in Paris espically.

The influence of the Paris Ecole spread to the United States; “Richard Morris Hunt was at the vanguard of the Beaux Arts of America” (Pile, 303). Hunt’s influence was greatly shown in buildings commissioned by William K. Vanderbilt who commissioned Hunt to do several works, including the Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Corinthian columns show a clear reference to the classical architecture style, keeping in the style of Beaux Arts from the Paris Ecole.

Eventually, the failure of the application of historic elements to the high rise buildings lead to the downfall of the Eclecticism movement. But what did the Paris Ecole school do for the world of design? Can we argue that the grandiose buildings were a symbol of the accomplishments of the predecessors of architecture up to this point? Or should we say that at this point in time the Architects ran out of original ideas?

Small Bedroom Interior Design

Your bedroom is the only arena in your home that helps you relax and transcend into a peaceful state, after a stressful and hectic day in your office. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that each decorative, movable or immovable, contributes towards relieving you from your stress and tensions.
Your room ought to be clean and streamlined for an inviting and calm look. Below are some small bedroom interior design ideas to incorporate while planning to renovate your bedroom.

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Choose the right hues: The colors and hues in your bedroom can render a vivid or a dull appeal to your room. Therefore, be very careful while selecting the right shade for your bedroom. Nowadays, muted / natural colors like beige, grey, and taupe are popularly picked by people planning their small bedroom interior design for a more subtle look. You can also opt from colors like brown, mauve’s at all for a more composed appeal.
Be selective with your furniture: A room populated with large and too much of furniture crowds the room. For your small bedroom interior design, look for petite and small pieces of furniture that gives a spacious look to your room. Do away with large and garish wardrobes in wood along with huge dressing table and king sized bed. Instead look for bed pieces in queen sizes that have no headboard. Make an intelligent use of modular furniture to make the best use of the little space available.
The aesthetic touch: In your attempt to avoid clutters in your small bedroom, do not forget to add essentials that may enhance the appeal of your room. The secret to a successful small bedroom interior design lies in accessorizing your room to give it a modern appeal.