Dix minutes avec Roger Talon

Roger Tallon,

[ENG] Roger Tallon was born in Paris on May 6 1929. As a child he showed talent as an artist, and his parents wanted him to go to art school. Instead, against his parents’ wishes, he decided to study Engineering. Upon graduating, however, instead of practising engineering, he almost immediately turned to design, for which he never had any formal training.

He started his career with Caterpillar France, before becoming a consultant with DuPont de Nemours. In 1953 he joined Technès, the design consultancy founded in 1949 by Jacques Viénot and Jean Parthenay, becoming the sole director of the agency after Viénot’s death in 1959. Two years earlier Tallon had established the first design course in France, at the École des Arts Appliqués in Paris, and, in 1963, he created the design department of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs.

From the 1950s onwards Tallon and his team worked for many leading industrial concerns, designing machine tools and household appliances for General Electric, the Frigidaire division of General Motors and Thomson consumer electronics. A modular helicoid metal staircase, designed in 1964, was bought by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Increasingly, though, he specialised in transportation systems, designing the Corail, a slower-moving French train; subway trains for the Mexico City Metro; and the funicular railway to the top of the hill of Montmartre.

In 1973 Tallon set up the Design Programmes agency. As well as working with LIP watchmakers, he created, with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, a concept aircraft cabin for Air France. Other commissions included industrial robots for airport vehicles, forklift trucks, slide projectors, tableware, furniture, ski boots, toothbrushes and oilcans.

In 1983 he co-founded the partnership ASDA & Partners with Pierre Paulin and Michel Schreiber. He continued designing trains, including the Eurostar shuttle for Eurotunnel (1987) and the TGV-Atlantique (1988) for SNCF. In 1994, after several mergers, ASDA became Euro RSCG Design, and Tallon went on to work on TGV programmes in Canada and Texas. He also worked for Finnish Railways and was a consultant on Moscow’s bus network.

[FR] Après sa formation d'ingénieur, Roger Tallon travaille chez Caterpillar-France et Dupont de Nemours. Il intègre en 1953 le bureau d'études techniques et d'esthétique Technès. Il devient directeur technique et artistique de l'agence, puis directeur en 1959. Il a été le premier enseignant de design français, à l'École des arts appliqués de Paris puis à l'École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs. Des marques très prestigieuses ont fait appel à ses services, parmi lesquelles on peut citer Peugeot, pour qui il a conçu des robots ménagers, mais aussi Kodak, General Motors pour qui il a dessiné des réfrigérateurs et des machines à laver… Il a également beaucoup travaillé dans le secteur des transports, notamment pour les voitures Corail et le TGV (le projet Atlantique, l'Eurostar….). Il a intégré en 1994 Euro RSCG, où il s'est notamment occupé des programmes de TGV.

En 1992, il a reçu la médaille de commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. Tallon a réellement bouleversé notre quotidien et, sans en avoir pleinement conscience, nous sommes tous aujourd'hui entourés d'objets créés par lui ou inspirés de ses œuvres. Il est mort le 20 octobre 2011 à Paris.

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