Roger Tallon, who died on October the 20th was considered by specialists as the father of the French modern design. For him, the purpose naturally called the form. An idea that can be observed through out his work. That paradigm allowed Tallon to be responsable for some very original creations and design concepts. He was the inventor of a profession: industrial designer. We lost a visionary man strongly inspired by his time leaving us as an heritage with many cult objects such as television Téléavia(1963), the spiral staircase (1966), the folding chair TS (1978). His work was not limited to interior objects but also included major projects such as the TGV or the Corail train(1986). Finally he represented also the watch brand Lip and iy incarnated on of its strongest signs of renewal, its entering into a new area of modernism and useful soaked and stained with 70 years of amazing achievements such as the « Mach 2000″ (1975) for Lip.

The inventor of a profession

We could get into an endless inventory list if we had to mention every single creation of the master since Roger Tallon and his agency have created and developped at list 400 objects in 1973 and that he was a consultant for General Motors for 7 years. But all this would shadow the importance and depth of his work.

« Designers are the real masochists »
Roger Tallon

It is often said that Roger Tallon was the father of French design. This relationship can be dated to 1957, the year he set up the first course design in France. In 1963, he wasresponsible for the creation of the design department of the Ecole NationaleSuperieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. The year before, but can surprise him andunlike Germany who had known and cultivated what we now call design through theBauhaus, France was not yet have such education. He has somehow created a profession, that of designer, industrial designer, many of which still inspire today.

A visionary man inspired by the needs of an era

Roger Tallon’s accomplishments reflected the needs of the « 30 glorious years » in which consumers aspired to access cutting edge comfort and leisure. In the 1960’s there was certainly no longer only the « designer » but also his approach and philosophy that mattered and supported his amazing achievements. This has always been Roger Tallon’s signature, a « blue print » even recognizable among many other.

For Roger Tallon, an object must first fulfill its  function and allow its owner to use this function with ease and simplicity.

A concrete example: the Mach 2000

Take one of the most interesting designs, the Mach 2000 watch created for Lip in 1975.

« One of the most creative French designers of the last half century has disappeared, but he left us with some time keepers that have waken up the vocation in the heart of many watch designers in the 21st century. »

Business montres

The half moon shaped  watch was made this way to allow the wrist to bend without discomfort, the handss contrast with the dial allowing its owner to read the time several meters away, the crowns which in fact are rounded buttons, prevent the owner of this atypical timepiece from getting hurt when moving his hand and finally the colors immediately identify the associated function.

At a time when the taste for modernism took over reason, this choice was a real statement in favour of a system of consistent values uppon which ones Tallon held on throughout his carrer during half a century.


Major projects of Roger Tallon

« Christian Lacroix has changed the colors of the first and second classes: it doesn’t work at all! The SNCF has destroyed all my work. I will never forgive him. »

Roger Tallon

If Roger Tallon is responsable for the creation of hundreds of everyday objects he’s also at the origine of great achievements such as the subway in Mexico City (1969) even though the French railway remains his biggest pride with the first version of the TGV. Also it is worth remembering that it is not only the creator of the the high-speed train’s original design made in France but that he has also worked on its fairly recent update  by making it again more in line with ergonomical requirements of  its time. The visual identity, costumes and mapping company, it is too. The relationship between the man and the outspoken SNCF deteriorated thereafter.

The prophet of a new playground for the Lip watches

«  »Design is about the beauty of the object, but about understanding the purpose.  »
Roger Tallon

Back on the genesis of the collaboration between Roger Tallon and Lip. It is noticedand named in 1973 by Claude Neuschwander, then head of collections of the brand. Itcomes with six other designers at the bedside of the company after the social movements that have marked France and the politics of the time. Alongside MichelBoyer, Isabelle Hebey or Jean Dinh Van, Roger Tallon part in the adventure Lipdesign. Together they created the collection in 1975.

This collection perfectly in tune with the times mark the beginning of a long collaboration with Roger Tallon who still inspires many of the brand models. His vision was truly timeless as it was supported by reason, justified by the useful, comfortableand can still wear one of his designs without his entourage do not know if it is a modeldesigned today, or almost 40 years ago.

The Mach 2000 and its variations, TV, Big TV, Fridge remain sources of inspirationInvariant Lip continues to exhibit these models and their variations within the series’redesigned time « in the highest places design around the world as the MoMA or thePompidou Centre.M Tallon thank you for everything you brought to the design in general and in particular Lip!