By way of introduction, some of the things Roger Tallon calls himself are designer, planner, researcher, and object draughtsman. We should not read hesitation or presumption into these words, but rather the mobility of a comprehensive mind that is outstretched towards the discovery of right forms resulting from an analysis of the functions peculiar to the projects on which Roger Tallon has been prompted to work for the past 50 years. Among the best-known, we might mention: the Corail train, the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse/Highspeed Train), the Météor, and the Montmartre funicular railway. In all these works he has managed to develop his “total design” concept, engaged as he is in an on-going struggle against the “design deficiency” of both contemporary industry and contemporary society.
Back in the 1950s, Roger Tallon hobnobbed with the artistic avant-garde. He worked with Yves Klein, for example, in particular on the air architecture projects. Friendships and joint projects such as this gave rise, for Tallon, to a fondness for utopia and challenges, and to a keen desire to think an environment through from A to Z, and top to bottom. When you take the TGV it is not merely to travel from Paris to Lyons. It is above all to enjoy a two-hour experience of dynamics, all the way from design to form, by appropriating an open structure which enables all and sundry to also become designers themselves.
So dynamism is the predominant feature of design as conceived by Roger Tallon. What is involved, first and foremost, is endowing movements and journeys with meaning (his major projects have all been vehicles... read: design as vector), but also, and even more so, with shifting borders and boundaries, not earmarking objects with delimitations, and seeing them from all their different angles, so as to go beyond the appearances of contradictions. In this quest for the diffuse, Tallon has reached a point where the object and its functions are dissolved, by, for example, creating the “module” concept. This is a revolution which replaces the brusque, male idea of the finished and finite with the values of femininity, jigsaw puzzles, and the collective. The various elements are combined in sets which are always prone to transformations, sets for a design that is to be lived and experienced.