Founded by Claude Lévy-Soussan, the Bourse Agora works to promote the diversity, creativity and richness of French design. Thanks to the actions of this non-profit body, jointly financed by the Ministry of Culture and the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, a number of research projects have been carried out by young designers. From an initial annual format, the Bourse became a biennial award from 2007. The jury selects outstanding candidates proposing design projects in the fields of spaces, products and communication. A particular emphasis is placed on innovations that serve the community, sustainable development and new uses for existing materials. Previous laureates include Antoine Boudin, who was awarded a grant in 2011 to pursue his work on la canne de Provence, a variety of giant cane, and Pierre Charrié, for his project on “sonic surfaces”. In subsequent editions Nathanaël Abeille received support for his research on the redistribution of solar energy and Samuel Tomatis was awarded a grant for his project “Alga”.
The organisation, rechristened the Agora du Design, now aims not only to support design but to promote and publicise it as it redoubles its commitment. Every two years, the Agora du Design will offer research grants to young professional designers. A curatorial grant will also be offered to support an exhibition project by a specialist curator. Finally, the Prix Agora for outstanding writing will be awarded to the author of a significant article, book or text in the field of design. Alongside these initiatives, the Agora will organise a biannual exhibition featuring the work of the laureates, including a programme of debates and presentations and the publication of a catalogue.
By supporting the diversity, creativity and richness of French design both at home and abroad, the Agora du Design contributes to the dynamism of this field. In line with its commitment to encourage the transmission and exploration of creative gestures, the Foundation has proudly supported this initiative since 2008.