Interview with Philippe Tissot, sculptor, designer and founder of the Taporo studio

Taporo: creativity dedicated to precasting… and vice versa. All the originality of the Taporo studio is born out of combining the activities of a creator, publisher and precaster. A trio of skills dedicated to UHPFRC, from furniture to architectural cladding has led the studio to explore new fields of architectural expression for its favorite material: Ductal®. We meet a multi-talented "engineer."

 

How does one move from purely creating concrete furniture to becoming a precaster?

The Taporo studio was initially devoted to the design and creation of concrete furniture in complex 3D shapes. But also to publishing the creations of designers and architects who, like us, are passionate about the creative potential of these new concretes like Ductal®. The mechanical performances of this material open up new perspectives for very delicate, aerial designs that would be impossible to achieve with conventional concrete. And that's why many people came to us to explore Ductal®'s potential. For us, that meant we had to master the entire precasting chain. And we needed to work closely with the Lafarge teams so that they could offer us a premix that was perfectly suitable for the creation of increasingly technically sophisticated designs. It was to be able to produce these new creations that we tripled the surface area of our workshop in Burgundy and invested in two mold machining centers.

 

The mechanical performances of this material open up new perspectives for very delicate, aerial designs that would be impossible to achieve with conventional concrete.

Philippe Tissot
 

What do your creative sensibilities bring to your pre-casting activities?

Designers are still a long way from exploiting all of Ductal®'s mechanical and resistance properties. But our research has already led us to perfect complex molding techniques that allow us to achieve curved shapes up to 10 mm thin. We use foam cutting machines and digital milling machines to develop prototypes much cheaper than those created using traditional precasting techniques. We can now provide unique pieces or series of 10 to 20 pieces at a much more attractive price. This expertise has fulfilled a need, particularly among precasters who would like to be able to conduct tests on life-size prototypes before starting series production. If I had to sum it up, I'd say that creativity helps us to tackle the problems of precasting with an artisan's "savoir-faire" and experimentation methods that are tailored to the reactions of Ductal®.

Does this mean that your studio will now focus more on architecture rather than furniture design?

They are two complementary activities. We have organized ourselves so that we can continue the designer side of our business, while at the same time having the structure to help architects and pre-casters with prototypes and medium-sized series runs that they cannot handle themselves. Two examples. We were recently able to exploit Ductal®'s ability to reproduce the imprint of a mold and reproduce the tooling on a book cover with a relief depth of 1 to 2 millimeters.
At the same time, we were able to work with Bonna Sabla on a large-scale project where they had to prove that they could produce 7000 m2 of various geometric slabs for a self-supporting floor linked by cabochons designed by us. The creation of a life-size prototype clearly demonstrated the combined expertise of a major pre-caster and a creative artisan and was intended to make a striking impression on the customer when the bids were opened.

In what way does the partnership with Lafarge accelerate this new approach?

The fact that today Taporo can meet requests for increasingly technical & diverse prototypes and that it can insure productions for both design and architecture applications - we owe it also to our collaboration with the Lafarge teams over many years. This is primarily because we can rely on their ability to provide extremely accurate design calculations and on their technical support with product qualification and bonding techniques, which is invaluable. In short, it's because Lafarge provides this indispensable link between all professionals and experts to ensure that Ductal® lives up to all the expectations that it has engendered.

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