Forged in the context of the first universal exhibitions, the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs was the fruit of the private initiatives of collectors, manufacturers, craftsmen and industrialists intent on educating people of all ages and walks of life. In 1904, the UCAD was allocated the Marsan wing of the Louvre.
The Centre d’Art et de Techniques
In 1944, to fulfil the aims of UCAD’s founders and at the instigation of leading interior designers, the Centre d’Art et de Techniques was created in the mansion bequeathed by Moïse de Camondo. The purpose of the school, later to become the Ecole Camondo, was to provide professionals with a full knowledge of decorative styles. Eight pupils, the first to complete the two-year course, graduated with the title of decorator-interior designer in 1946.
The course was extended to three years in the 1960s, when developments in the profession and increasing recognition of interior design prompted the school to radically redefine its teaching objectives.
The Centre de Création Industrielle
Meanwhile, the UCAD’s numerous initiatives and exhibitions were playing a crucial role in promoting contemporary creation. In 1969, at the instigation of François Mathey, this movement led to the founding of the Centre de Création Industrielle (CCI). In this fertile context, and now resolutely channelling its energies into forging a contemporary design language, the Ecole Camondo lengthened its degree course to five years.
The 1970s naturally took the school into new areas of experimentation and research. The themes explored by the CCI embraced contemporary intellectual, sociological and technological movements and reflected the concerns of its teaching staff. In 1975, Robert Bordaz, the UCAD’s president, supported the school’s development.
Recognition of a profession
In the 1980s the profession of interior designer gained recognition with the creation of the Syndicat National des Architectes d’Intérieur and the Office Professionnel de Qualification des Architectes d’Intérieur.
266 Boulevard Raspail
In 1988, the school moved to premises in a new, purpose-built building shared by the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Boulevard Raspail, opposite the Fondation Cartier (previously the American Cultural Centre). A campus began to develop.
The Ecole Camondo received state accreditation as an institute of further education by a decree promulgated on 27 January 1989.
The teaching programme encourages versatility in a variety of sectors of environmental creation ranging from architectural space to the world of the object. The teaching of environmental design, now regarded as a component of the language of interior design, is emphasised. The school’s new premises enabled facilities indispensable for its pedagogy: a library, a model and prototype workshop, a photography and video studio and a computer laboratory.
In 1996 the school’s diploma, the Certificate of Higher Education in Interior Design and Environmental Design (CESAIPE – Ecole Camondo), is approved as a level II degree.
The educational reform undertaken from 2000 instated a 3-year course leading to an additional 2-year course, to comply with the restructuring of further education in the European Union, to increase the teaching of computer-based technologies and internationalise the teaching team. The Introduction to Space course was created by teachers to provide the general public, students and professionals in all fields with a fuller awareness of the design professions and crafts.
In June 2005, the Ecole Camondo awarded its first intermediate diplomas to graduates of the 3-year course in interior design and product design. The school takes an active part in reflection on the evolution of the interior design and design professions, for which it has been training pupils for over 60 years.
In February 2006, the RNCP approved the Interior and Product Designer–Ecole Camondo diploma as a level II qualification.
Former pupils include Pierre Paulin, Patrick Bouchain, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Marie-Christine Dorner, Patrick Rubin, Mathilde Brétillot, Frédérique Valette and Philippe Starck.
Les Arts Décoratifs
Les Arts Décoratifs comprises the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Musée de la Mode et du Textile, the Musée de la Publicité and the Musée Nissim de Camondo, the Arts Décoratifs Library and the Ateliers du Carrousel, art workshops for children, adolescents and adults.
Free access to the Arts Décoratifs permanent collections, temporary exhibitions, documentation centre and 200,000-volume library provide Ecole Camondo students with a privileged cultural context and the tools for further research.
President: Hélène David-Weill
General director: Marie-Liesse Baudrez
Vice-président for schools: Pierre-Alexis Dumas (Hermès)