The Ecole Camondo
Teaching anchored in today’s world
The Ecole Camondo offers high-level teaching in interior architecture and design. Over a 5-year course, teaching spans the wide spectrum of professions covered by these disciplines, at the intersection of art, economics, technology and social and environmental awareness.
Due to its unique situation, with a dual presence in France at Camondo Paris and Camondo Mediterranée in Toulon, this private higher education establishment is renowned for the quality of its teaching and its degree is recognised by the entire profession.
In order to give its students an education based on the balance between expression and thought, the Ecole Camondo defines itself as a space for discussion, by encouraging debate and bringing the issues inherent in today’s world into its educational project. The Ecole offers a curriculum that awards a diploma which rests on strong teaching methods in interior architecture and design, completed by an array of subjects which develop the students’ creativity and singularity, for instance through plastic, sociological.
In doing so, the Ecole Camondo prepares future professionals for trades and roles essential to society, from architecture and interior architecture to design, scenography and the applied arts.
The school, which was founded over 75 years ago, is part of the MAD Paris – Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a leading cultural institution, an international conservatory of expertise in arts and crafts, which has one of the largest collections in the world. As such, students of the Ecole Camondo enjoy special access to the collections, the library and the cultural events organised by the institution (exhibitions, lectures, etc.) and develop educational projects based on museography.
At the end of the five-year course, both in Paris and in Toulon, the Ecole Camondo awards a degree equivalent to master’s level recognised by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. It also offers a Foundation Course for the entrance competition for public and private art, applied arts and architecture universities.
Ever since it was founded, the Ecole Camondo has seen several generations of teachers and students come and go, all of whom have helped grow the school’s reputation and identity, bringing it closer in line with its time than ever before.
The school’s alumni include renowned architects and designers, such as Patrick Bouchain, Elisabeth Garouste, Jacques Grange, Pierre Paulin, Philippe Starck and Jean-Michel Wilmotte. More recently, recognised professionals such as Emmanuelle Simon, Festen, Garnier & Linker, A+A Cooren and Pierre Gonalons have joined the wide network of “Camondiens”.
Johannes Huth, President of the Arts Décoratifs © DR
Message from the President
The Arts Décoratifs board of directors has elected its committee and has unanimously elected Johannes Huth as President of the association, at the proposal of Pierre-Alexis Dumas, whose mandate was coming to an end. Johannes Huth has been Administrator since 2017 and Treasurer since 2019.
My ambition is for the museum to become the reflection and the critical, historical and contemporary projector of fashion, the decorative arts and design, as well as the graphic arts; my aim is to guide it to legitimacy in its capacity to take risks in presenting contemporary visions, drawing on vast archives and extraordinary historical and contemporary collections. Design in particular should enable us to explore and rise to the challenges linked to societal developments and issues of sustainability. The digital dimension, meanwhile, should expand so that we can address increasingly varied and larger audiences. I also intend to support the continued development of the Ecole Camondo and the Ateliers du Carrousel, both leaders in their field of teaching, both within and beyond their walls.
Johannes Huth, President, Arts Décoratifs
Message from the Direction
The ambition of a creative school is to equip the students it trains to develop their creative and visionary singularity. But it also has an eminently political purpose. The school, its team and its teachers have set themselves the collective ambition of embracing a more forward-looking and societal identity for the profession, one that is permeated by the question of the user, scenarios of use and therefore the central place of the human being, where the interaction between the object and the space makes it possible to conceive of a fairer and more intelligent world and universe of life. If they design a gastronomic restaurant, within the framework of their imposed subject, it must achieve a zero-carbon footprint. If they design urban or rural living spaces, they imagine it around reuse, the question of the existing or that of sharing. If they create new objects, they focus on the recyclability of materials through responsible craftsmanship. The scale of their thinking is anchored at the crossroads of the designer and the architect. It is based on the interiority of spaces and beings to better emancipate itself towards the exterior and others.
A unique situation in Europe, Camondo school, which was created in 1944, is a branch of cultural institution Les Arts Décoratifs/MAD.
A school backed by a museum
The Central ‘Arts Décoratifs’ Union (which would become Les Arts Décoratifs in 2004) was created in 1882, at the initiative of collectors, builders and industrialists who wanted to venture into education.
From 1944, the Center for Art and Techniques, Camondo school’s ancestor, started training students in the history of styles; they would graduate after two years, obtaining a decorator diploma.
The sixties heralded the recognition of the interior architect profession.
The CADU kept developing its support to contemporary creation and initiated a movement which would lead in 1969, to the creation of the Industrial Creation Center (CCI).
The birth of a key discipline
In this fertile context, favourable to intellectual, sociologic and technologic currents, the School focused its efforts on the construction of a contemporary langage and it extended its curriculum to a full 5 years. The School has left its invaluable mark on the history and DNA of the interior architect – designer profession. Today, the diploma it delivers is certified by the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche and is recognised as a level 7 (conferring a Master’s degree) by the RNCP.
Since 1988, the School has been located at 266 Boulevard Raspail in Paris, in a building by architect Cuno Brullmann, opposite the current Cartier Foundation.
In September 2019, the Ecole Camondo open a second site in Toulon (by architect Devillers & cie) in the Chalucet sector, the new ‘creative learning district’ facing the Mediterranean.
A national institution
In December 2004, the UCAD (Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs – TN.) decided to become Les Arts Décoratifs. In changing its name, the institution simplified and modernised a label created under the industrial era. Originating from private initiatives, our institution, which took the name MAD in January 2018, today still bears a certain singularity. As a non-profit organisation promoting public interest, it is bound to the French State under a regularly updated convention.
A specific culture
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs’ collections and that of the Musée Nissim de Camondo belong to the State. 47% of our institution’s funding comes from its own resources to finance our cultural and patrimonial policy. The representatives seating on the board of directors mainly come from the private sector. Our model, whose relevance has proven its worth for over a century, results in the very specific culture, which is our own. It guarantees a tight relationship between designers and sponsors, a bit like what can be found in manufacturing.
“The school is the most organic, adaptable and plastic nucleus there is. Based on this principle, the Camondo School, with its students and teachers, sees itself more than ever as a space open to the world and to thought. Through its training programmes and research facilities, the school brings in intelligence and knowledge from disciplines related to interior architecture and design to feed its own teaching methods. The Camondo School thus trains autonomous professionals who know how to analyse the contexts of their projects and collaborate with all the professions present in its field of action.”