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Elodie Mallet

MA work

The Postmodern Hand: Prototypes in the Design Practice, 1980–2000

Objects in the making have the power to reveal perspectives on the cultural, social and political meanings of design that would remain invisible if we only focus on finished objects. My research looks at prototypes and their changing natures and functions in the 1980s and 1990s, a period of intellectual and technological advancements and challenges. 

Contrary to common belief, despite the development of the computer technology importance continued to be given to the skills of the hand. The prototyping phase was slowly turned into a real learning adventure, during which designers particularly engaged with their practice.

Some designers chose to exhibit their work (most of the time, prototypes) to make statements about the value and power of their craft. While this new trend raised many issues about the relationship between art and design, it succeeded in opening new avenues for designers eager to work in the margins of the (post) industrial world. Influenced by the postmodern idea that there is not one way of doing things and that everyone should have a voice, prototyping also became a participatory activity involving both the designer and the consumer. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA History of Design, 2014

  • Elodie previously studied at the ENSAAMA Paris, where she graduated in Product Design. She then worked for designers such as François Azambourg and Simon Hasan. She put aside her design practice for the V&A/RCA History of Design programme to acquire some historical and theoretical knowledge about design. Elodie is particularly interested in the curatorial practice and the role that museums play in today’s design world. In 2012, she was awarded the Friends of the V&A Scholarship, which aims to support students intending to work in a museum after graduating. She is currently the curator's assistant for the 9th Design Parade at the Villa Noailles–Hyères.

  • Degrees

  • BA Design Product, ENSAAMA - Olivier de Serres, Paris, 2011
  • Experience

  • Assistant Curator for the Design Parade 9, villa Noailles, Hyères, 2014; Research Assistant for the Research Department at the V&A, Volonteer Position, 2013; Designer for Simon Hasan, London, 2011–2012; Designer for François Azambourg, Paris, 2010
  • Publications

  • The End of the Metanarration, and the Do It Yourself Trend, UnMaking Things, 2013; When Design Meets Nature: A Chair Grown Like a Bone, UnMaking Thing, 2014; Have you seen the Future? How the year 2000 was imagined during the 20th Century, UnMaking Things, 2013