Anyone who loves different forms of art knows about Paris, France. Once of the greatest cities in the world to visit, Paris is rich with art and architectural history and culture. Once just considered a great city for tourism, Paris is now a flourishing metropolis with one of the most vibrant art scences in the world. Any artist will tell you that a trip to Paris can be perfect for aspiring artists trying to find careers in art. It is also the educational center of France and because of that, it is home to some of the country’s and the world’s foremost art institutions. Those institutions are understandably peppered with talented and deserving faculty members. On that note, we continue our practice of highlighting 15 noteworthy professors in the area, only this time we added some international flavor. Fifteen professors is definitely not enough to highlight, but in the interest of keeping the article short(ish), we capped the list at 15.
Dominique Belloir, Film/Multimedia Professor, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts
One of the oldest art schools in the world and one of the most prestigious as well considering its role as France’s National School of Fine Arts, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts is an exceedingly popular destination for French and International students alike and professors like Belloir are a big reason why. A native of the United Kingdom, Belloir has been a film/multimedia professor in Paris since 1995 and has been working with video for more than 40 years. After getting master’s and doctoral degrees in cinema in the late 1970s, Belloir quickly became one of the foremost experts on the use of video in art. She has also directed and produced many films for clients and is an accomplished writer/journalist covering the artistic medium of video. Students appreciate not only her in-depth knowledge and passion for the subjects she teaches, but they also find her encouraging and patient with students who need help, making her a shoo-in for this list.
Patricio Sarmiento, Fashion Design Professor, Paris College of Art
Once associated with Parsons The New School for Design, the Paris College of Art became an independent institution in 2010 but it still relies on American education principles as part of its curriculum. One of the most popular and well-recognized programs at the school is its degree in Fashion Design which has some of the best professors in the field. Sarmiento is just one such example. He graduated from Parsons in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and then got his Master’s degree in fashion design from the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM). Since then Sarmiento has been a staple of the fashion scene working with clients like DKNY, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, and Maurizio Galante. He is also a consultant for the National Taiwan Craft and Design Research Institute and owns his own design firm called Odobo Design. In an industry reliant on connections, Sarmiento has many and he is willing to work them to help students. He can be a bit of a task-master, but students acknowledge that is because he brings out the best in them and most agreed that they left his class a much better designer than when they entered.
Catherine Hardouin, Retail Design Professor, Strate College
Having earned her Master’s degree in interior design all the way back in the middle of the 1970s, it’s safe to say that Hardouin has forgot more about design than most will ever know. Right after graduating with her degree, Hardouin joined ENFI DESIGN, a leading design agency in Paris where she worked for eight years before founding the BAIA agency which specialized in applied communication space. After eight years at BAIA, Hardouin returned to ENFI DESIGN as the director of development and projects where she worked until 2010. In 2008, she became a professor at Strate College, one of the city’s best design schools, and she now teaches retail design and has been for the past six years. Her experience alone makes her an excellent teacher because she has so much knowledge and experience of the design industry that is worth sharing, but she also seems to genuinely enjoy teaching and tries hard to make her classes interesting and connect with her students.
Aurélie Mossé, Design Professor, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD)
Mossé is not your ordinary textile design professor. She has basic design knowledge and has undoubtedly worked with textiles before, but her primary research focus is on the design of self-actuated textiles for the home in the context of architecture and technology as well as future textile design research. New/smart technologies in the world of design and textile design are her passion. She holds a Master’s degree in Design for Textile Futures from Central St. Martins and a Bachelor’s degree in Surface, Material and Textile Design from ESAA Duperré. She is also a founding member of the London-based textile design lab Puff & Flock. Needless to say she has the education and employment credentials to be an excellent textile design professor. Still just a part-time lecturer at ENSAD, teaches master’s classes on textiles of the future and innovative design materials. Students say her knowledge and passion for such a niche subject is evident and her personality makes students feel as if she genuinely cares about their success and growth as a student.
Farid Chenoune, Art History Professor, Institut Français de la Mode (IFM)
One of the most influential design institutes in the entire country, IFM has built a reputation as one of the best places in the world to study fashion and a big reason why is because of the experienced and talented faculty the Institute employs. Chenoune is considered a foremost expert on fashion history and he teaches the history and culture of fashion at the Institute. He is an accomplished author who has published numerous books, including one on the history of men’s fashion, and he has been an editor at Mixt and occasionally still contributes to Vogue magazine as well. He has produced catalogs for exhibition and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on the history of fashion. His students like his classes because he makes every class interesting and tells very engaging stories about fashion and its history. There are few historians of any kind who know their subject as well as Chenoune does and that knowledge, coupled with his engaging classes, earn him a choice spot on this list.
Tadashi Kawamata, Fine Arts Professor, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts
You didn’t think the National School of Fine Arts in one of the most artistic cities in the world would only have one noteworthy professor did you? Thanks to his incredible skill as an artist and the fact that his work has been exhibited extensively across the globe, Kawamata may actually be almost as famous as the school he teaches at. Kawamata earned a PhD from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music in 1984 and actually returned to the school as a professor from 1999-2005. His work isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, it also values the production process and tries to transcend art and leak into history and sociology and even architecture. Students learn a lot from Kawamata because he expects so much from his students and he because he is willing to work with students to help them grow. His knowledge of fine arts and fine arts production is nearly unmatched, which, coupled with his desire to see his students succeed, lands him on this list.
Kathryn Frost, Sustainable Designs Professor, Parsons Paris School of Art & Design
It only makes sense that an art school as prestigious as Parsons would open a school in the art center of the world. But entering an already crowded space isn’t easy and Parsons is trying to do it by selling its incredible resources and world-class education taught by professors like Frost. Educated in America, Frost got her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and Yale University respectively. She quickly entered the design world, working in New York and Ireland before coming to Paris. In addition to her part-time teaching duties, Frost is a respected architect and designer who is working with a French NGO on the design of a mental healthcare facility and helped create a design model for the dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Her credentials really speak for herself, which is why it is also nice to see that she stands out in the world of academia. Her passion for the subject and research into the future of design show that she truly cares about the subject material, which carries over into her classrooms.
Daniel Krob, Engineering/Computer Science Professor, École Polytechnique
École Polytechnique is widely considered one of the finest science and engineering schools in the entire world and the school would undoubtedly credit accomplished faculty members like Krob for a big part of that reputation. Accomplished might actually be an understatement when it comes to Krob, because there are few computer scientists in the world with credentials and experience as impressive as Krob. Armed with degrees in mathematics and a PhD in Computer Science, Krob started his career as a junior researcher for the National Center for Scientific Research in France. He quickly became a senior researcher and held that position for more than a decade. Not long after his promotion to senior researcher, Krob started working as a professor of engineering at École Polytechnique and hasn’t left. He is now not only the Chair of Engineering Complex Systems at the University, but he is also the president of CESAMES. His classes are in-depth, which is fine, because he is so passionate and knowledgeable about his subject. I don’t think we need to state much more of his case for inclusion on this list.
Anne-Françoise Benhamou, Theater Professor, Ecole Normale Superieure
ENS Paris is perhaps the country’s finest university and while it is best-known for its Humanities and Sciences Departments, it also has an excellent history department thanks to the hard work and dedication of faculty members like Benhamou. Benhamou has been a professor of theatre studies at the university since 2012 and was working as an artistic advisor and playwright at the Colline National Theater before transitioning to academia. Her education credentials show her knowledge is real and her impressive teaching credentials and consulting work make it difficult to question why she has been put in charge of young minds. Benhamou has received positive feedback from students for her ability to make theater compelling even to uninterested students and she is also well-liked because she is willing to put in the time to help students get better.
Tristan Cazenave, Computer Science Professor, Université Paris-Dauphine
The PhD program in Computer Science at Université Paris-Dauphine continuous to grow in popularity and recognition and a large part of that growth has been aided by professors like Cazenave. Cazenave is something of a computer and engineering/design savant having written two video games that got published when he was just 16. In 1992 he cofounded his own web company and just six years later he was an Assistant Professor at Université Paris 8. Considered somewhat of an expert on the subject of Monte-Carlo Go and Monte-Carlo Tree Search, Cazenave became Professor at the Université Paris Dauphine in 2008. Since then he has been a respected and valued member of the faculty and has obviously impressed with his knowledge of the subject and his immense experience and impressive accolades.
Gabriel Wick, Landscape Architecture Professor, Parsons Paris School of Art & Design
It’s safe to say that Wick has always been interested in architecture and landscape design. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Design from New York University and his Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He even earned a specialized degree in historic landscape conservation from the National Architecture School of Versailles. His work as a landscape designer started at a firm in New York and continued when he moved to Paris in 2006. He recently published a book reconstituting landscape gardens, he teaches at Parsons, and he is completing doctoral research at the University of London – Queen Mary that will focus on how landscape design communicates political and ideological meanings before the French Revolution. He worked as a landscape designer and planner at Hargreaves Associates in New York and, after his move to Paris in 2006, in the office of Michel Desvigne. He is currently completing his doctoral research studies in history and cultural geography at the University of London — Queen Mary. His understanding for the subject and his interest in the subject are beyond questioning and that has helped him quickly become an engaging, well-liked, and respected design professor at one of the world’s best design schools.
Tatiana Grigorenko, Photography Professor, Paris College of Art
Grigorenko is one of the younger professors on staff but that shouldn’t be used to doubt her ability as a teacher or as an artist. Educated first at Amherst College where she earned her Bachelor’s degree and then at Yale University where she earned her Master’s degree in Photography, Grigorenko has not only traveled far and wide as a teacher, she has also worked for clients such as the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, and her work has been exhibited in galleries across the globe. Her work has also been published in magazines and other media outlets. She has taught photography at Yale, American University in Paris, and the International Center of Photography, and it shows in her work as a teacher at the Paris College of Art. She has earned plenty of respect and admiration for her dedication to teaching, her willingness to help her students focus on the details, and her patient and understanding nature. Fast forward 50 years and she may still deserve to be on this list.
Caroline Coutant, Fashion Design Professor, École supérieure des arts et techniques de la mode
A private school of fashion originally founded in the 19th century, ESMOD has grown into one of the best and most famous fashion design schools in the world with campuses in a number of major cities around Europe. An ESMOD alumnus, Coutant has spent the past two decades establishing herself as one of the best fashion designers in the industry. She has work in sectors such as mid-to-high end women’s ready-to-wear or with high-end luxury companies and she has worked as a freelance stylist for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Cartier, and Burberry. That she has chosen to give back to future fashion designers is a sign of what a good teacher she is. Already incredibly accomplished and experienced, Coutant is making her mark on the teaching profession for her passionate personality and her engaging lecture ability. Fashion design can be a brutal industry, but Coutant helps restore some of the glitz and glamour with her excitement and her connections don’t hurt students in her classes either.
Marco Mencacci, Design Professor, École Camondo
All teachers should combine passion for the subject material with extensive experience in the field, but artists like Mencacci occasionally combine it better than others. Mencacci considers himself a multidisciplinary artist and why not? Especially since his work spans design industries from interior design to glass art to architecture. His work has been exhibited at some of the prestigious museums and galleries around the globe and he has worked with brand heavyweights such as Cartier, Chanel, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton. In addition to his extensive work as an artist, he teaches design and interior design at several prestigious schools and universities including École Camondo. Any school would feel lucky to land a faculty member with such a sparkling reputation in the design industry and in academia and Mencacci has lived up to his billing as a knowledgeable, genuine, and fascinating design teacher who helps make his students better artists.
Guillaume Frauly, Graphic Design History Professor, Ecole Supérieure des Arts Modernes
Frauly is one of the unique graphic design professors whose expertise lies less in the technical aspects of the field and more in the history of the field. A journalist, editor and a teacher, Frauly has a Bachelor’s degree from from SUNY New Paltz in Photo-Journalism and he has a Master’s degree in Communications as well. After starting his career as a journalist, he became the President of the Anatome Gallery, where he worked for three years before settling into a life of teaching history of graphic design and writing articles and journals on the subject. He is also a prolific teacher who works at many vocational schools in the country, which is probably why students spoke so highly of them and why he inevitably ended up on this list.