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RAILS designer Gwendoline Porte has collaborated with renowned French artist Marc-Antoine Goulard to create a one-off piece to benefit the charity Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y), a non- profit organisation which provides professional and social integration to excluded young adults through entrepreneurship. It will be available to view and to buy at Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, 21-23 May.

Combining their artistic and design skills, the pair, who met at a charity gala for the LP4Y association, have taken Porte’s original RAILS concept and added a bespoke twist thanks to Goulard’s approach to colour and texture. Their work resides in an exploration of the concept of ‘journey’, often expressed emotionally by Goulard and spatially by Porte.

Part-way between sculpture and furniture, the RAILS range is a modular concept designed by Porte, inspired by the form of railway tracks. Behind each piece lies the idea of creating constant new possibilities and interactions, resulting in different ways to reinvent a space. These limited-edition functional sculptures are playful, graphic and ergonomic. Each hollow structure is made from plywood and built as a boat hull, resulting in a lightweight, easy-to- handle feel. They can be stacked on top of one another to form a column or arranged as a hexagonal, or separated to become a stool, chair, coffee table or side table. The units can lie horizontally and vertically or be multiplied to create a bench, wall or a landscape or used simply as a striking standalone art piece within a room. Porte’s initial range is part of a numbered collection of just 50 pieces, with this collaborative piece being the first.

Porte and Goulard’s uniquely crafted structure, available at Clerkenwell Design Week along with the rest of the limited-edition RAILS range, was conceived out of a desire to extend the concept of better living outside of the design community and into the world-at-large. The pair’s chosen charity, with its quest for social and professional integration, resonated strongly with their own ideas about how ergonomic design and thought- provoking art has the power to change lives for the better.

‘The finish of this piece aims to reflect the varied and sometime turbulent journey of life,’ says Goulard, who has layered the sculpture with vivid colour to bring depth, light and intensity to it. This multi-layering creates an imperfect finish, incorporating marks and scars, reflecting the resilience of those young adults currently living in poverty and exclusion. But the vividness of the sculpture also suggests a sense of hope and second chances. ‘We both believe that good design and education will help us to live in a better world,’ adds Porte.


Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y) is a movement that is dedicated to the professional and social integration of young adults coming from extreme poverty and exclusion. There are currently 1.2 billion youths aged 15 to 24, 600 million of whom are suffering from malnutrition, illness and violence. They live below the poverty threshold of $1.9 per day. In 2025, their numbers will reach 1 billion. Since 2009, LP4Y has been helping young adults to escape extreme poverty and exclusion through entrepreneurship.

Programmes at the charity’s Life Project Centres enable young adults to manage a micro-business project and receive training to enhance their skills. LP4Y has created an integrated ecosystem composed of companies, communities, local government units or NGOs that support a transition into the professional world. The Centres operate in the heart of slum areas in the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Nepal and so far, LP4Y has supported more than 2600 young adults.




Born in France in 1964, Marc-Antoine Goulard began his career as a classical musician. He studied the flute and composition at the Conservatory of Music in Paris, where he graduated with honours and became a concertist. In 1985, he left France for the USA to study saxophone and jazz at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Whilst music, with its foundation of tone and composition, provided him the means for expression, it is in painting that Goulard found his creative voice.

He discovered painting and received a residency at the Josef Albers and Annie Foundation in Bethany, Connecticut. Early influences included Mark Rothko, Antoni Tàpies, and Nicholas de Staël. Continuing to study and refine his techniques and

style, Marc-Antoine’s work was first exhibited in Boston in 1990. Since then, he has had many exhibitions in Paris, LA and New York and his work is found in prestigious collections in Europe and America.

Goulard paints on wood panels, starting by applying a background of white as the base of his canvas, and then building up layers of colour to create subtle combinations of translucent shades. He works with painting knives instead of brushes, like a spatula, which works for him as an extension of his hand. His musical and jazz background is in his work, expressed through light, colour and spontaneity.


Today, Goulard lives between Paris, London and New-York.

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