New York’s MoMA is looking across the pond for its tech inspiration, specifically to Paris. For New York Design Week, MoMA Retail has enlisted the help of La French Tech, an innovative public policy initiative that has fostered the booming French start-up community, to select the country’s most innovative new technology products, which it will stock in the MoMA Design Store.

Over the last five years, Paris’ 13th arrondissement has toppled London’s Old Street as Europe’s would-be Silicon Valley, with a vital and vibrant start-up network wiring its way into the fabric of the city. For the third year in a row, Paris was the most prolific city exhibitor at CES Las Vegas outside of the USA. Among the key players are Station F, the world’s biggest startup campus; the community-based VC firm The Hardware Club, and hardware start-up accelerators such as Usine IO and Cité de l’Objet Connecté. La French Tech, together with Business France – the agency supporting the international development of the French economy – are two key players that have championed the sector.

Stereocap headphones, for MoMA Design Store, 2018

Stereocap headphones

‘In less than three years, start-ups have become such a strong label of what France is about: innovation, talent, and creativity,’ explains Pascal Cagni, chairman of the board of Business France. ‘The selection of products showcased by MoMA Design Store are beautifully designed and innovative, fitting perfectly into their offering.’

Products span the rapidly expanding worlds of the smart home, connected tech, and portable speakers; from drones to home telescopes to child-sleep companions. A particular favourite of ours is the assemble-it-yourself City Clock, which disguises binary technology inside 19th-century charm. Inside a miniature wooden house modeled on a Parisian Haussmannian building, the time is read based on the number of illuminated windows. ‘Finally, a clock for techies who are also poets,’ reads the MoMA product description. Rimbaud would be proud.

For MoMA Design Store, it’s the perfect time to get on board. In recent years, technology has become one of the Design Store’s largest and fastest growing product categories, with big ticket items launched with tech titans like Sony and Samsung. But, as this new collaboration with French start-ups solidifies, MoMA is equally as committed to discovering new and exciting products on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. ‘In my travels to scout the best products from around the globe, my team and I started to see an undeniable link back to France,’ explains Emmanuel Plat, MoMA Retail’s director of merchandising. ‘New York Design Week is the perfect opportunity to tell this story and introduce their products to a wider audience.’

And wider audience is right. Not only does New York Design Week attract hundreds of thousands of design aficionados from all over the world, the products will also be available to purchase from the MoMA Design Store website, helping to take France’s already important local tech network global.