18.08.1945

He was born in Geneva, Switzerland. First cries of Swiss enthusiasm. Anti-military, he just managed to escape the war and set out in life in neutral land.

Biography

1966 Barely more than a child, François got married to Catherine.

1966-70 After spending his youth drawing cars to get into Pininfarina, he and Catherine went to study at Zurich’s Ecole Polytechnique.

1971 Their son Raphaël was born.

1971-76 With his Swiss qualifications in one pocket and his Bolex-Paillard 16mm camera in the other, François travelled to New York to unlearn architecture and come up with a few Utopian concoctions while he was over there.

1972 While he was in cinema mode, he lectured at Columbia University New York on all that he had unlearnt.

1974 His first and last crossing of the United States on roller skates – undeniable evidence of which can be found not far.

Roller States
– Quick Time sequence – 9 397 Ko
– Audio-video Windows Media file – 8 676 Ko
– Video file (mpeg) – 21 497 Ko

1977 While he was still in New York, François Barré, the Manager of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, asked François, at the time working in conjunction with Haus-Rucker Inc., to design Urban Archaeology the opening exhibition for the Georges Pompidou National Exhibition Centre on Modern Art.
Trapped under the spotlights, the group split up and François, Catherine and Raphaël decided to stay in France.

1978 They settled in Beth, a hamlet near Lussan in the Gard. By losing one design competition after another, François got to know the wonders of being an architect – a job his children want to steer clear of at all costs.
Bastien and later Leonore were born.

1984-88 A number of motorway toll gates in the South of France, with partner Jean-Pierre Duval.

1987-88 Cités-Cinés exhibition in the Grande Halle at La Villette, Paris, France.
Once and for all, he seized the opportunity of unlearning architecture by concocting an ephemeral town of Illusion.

1989-90 Deep down, Agence Confino was hesitating between disseminating Cités-Cinés all over the world, which it did at Ghent’s Halle des Floralies in Belgium, and in another version at Montreal’s Palais de la Civilisation, which is now more prosaically a casino, and the more down to earth idea of carrying on the exhausting task of architectural design competitions.

1990 Le Train du Cinéma (The Movie Train), for SNCF the French railway corporation, a trip to sixteen towns in France.
Les Dessous de la Ville (The hidden face of the town), the Arsenal Pavilion, Paris, France.

1991 The French Pavilion design competition for Seville 92 Universal Exhibition with architect Frank Hammoutene. The jury’s first choice but finished second after the Elysée’s vote, pipped at the post by François Seigneur.
The Olympic Train Club Coubertin, a travelling exhibition for SNCF held in 21 towns in France.

1992 Discovery Pavilion, The history of discovery from 1492 to modern times, exhibition design for the Spanish Pavilion at the 1992 Universal Exhibition in Seville, Spain.
François Confino’s illusions, nurtured by former exhibitions, went up in smoke with the Pavilion itself. Hard to admit but show business is shattering!

1993 Histoires Drôles (Funny Stories) exhibition, at the Laughter Museum, Montreal, Canada.
L’Athlète dans les Etoiles (Stadium Stardust), temporary exhibition in the Grande Halle at La Villette, Paris, France.
Museum and exhibition design for The Neolithic Museum at the Bougon archaeological excavations, France.
Sega Train, a travelling exhibition for SNCF held in 21 towns in France.

1994 The Paris Liberation parade show, Paris is free, Paris, France.
Paris Sonore (The Sound of Paris), temporary exhibition at the Arsenal Pavilion, Paris, France.

1995 Cités-Cinés 2 temporary exhibition, Colline de Paris-La Defense, France.
Due to a lack a sense of humour among terrorists, the number of visitors at Cités-Cinés 2 experienced a sharp decline. Agence Confino still lasted out though!
Plein Vol (High Flight) exhibition, Bon-Secours Market, Montreal, Canada.
Paris Cinema sets, temporary exhibition, Paris, France.

1996 The Birth of Confino and Co, his partnership with son Raphaël. A never-ending stream of projects kindled up the creative spirit.
Catherine and François returned from Paris to their old house in Lussan and swore they would never move again.
Cinema Avenue, travelling exhibition, Tokyo International Exhibition Centre, Japan.
Les Ingénieurs du ciel (Sky-borne engineers), Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Paris, France.
François was pompously appointed Art Director of the Hannover Universal Exhibition, Expo’00 Theme Park.
The company building was too small and the house, next door, too big. They swapped over, which broke the family’s promise not to move house again.

1997 A trip to Wonderland, travelling exhibition, Sezon Museum, Tokyo, Japan.
Orders were pouring in again:
Turin National Cinema Museum,
The Audi Pavilion-Autostadt,
Micropolis,
Le Temps Vite (Time for time),
Escale Atlantique (Oceanliner Museum) in Saint-Nazaire,
Aveyron Pavilion, Japan Flora 2000 in Japan…
His feet were never able to touch down on the ground: six hundred takeoffs and landings in remote corners all over the world in two years.

1998 The Utiopia Pavilion, live show with Philippe Genty, Expo 98, Lisbon, Portugal.
Four and a half months with four to five performances a day in a stadium seating 10 000 visitors. Over 4 million spectators, just about up to Guinness Book of Records standards…
Satie’s Houses, a permanent staged museum design at the birth place of Erik Satie in Honfleur, France, with Catherine.

 

1999 Tokyo Toyota Museum, a permanent museum exhibition at Odaïba, Tokyo, Japan.
Les planètes sont tombées sur la tête (Planets amok), a theatre play, Saint-Luc, Switzerland.

2000 Le Temps Vite (Time for time), a temporary exhibition for the reopening of Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France.
The Audi Pavilion-Autostadt, exhibition design of the Volkswagen automobile attraction park, Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany.
Escale Atlantique (Oceanliner Museum), exhibition-show at the old submarine base in Saint-Nazaire, France.
Micropolis, Museum, Saint-Leons, Aveyron, France.
Turin National Cinema Museum, Mole Antonelliana, Turin, Italy.
Aveyron Pavilion, exhibition design, Japan Flora 2000, Kobe, Japan.
A brutal decision: the company was too big and he was having to run it instead of create so he decided to downsize and get off to another gentle start.
Some of his old personnel set up Les Crayons in Uzès, Gard, France.

2001 Mouvement Acier (Steel Motion), design study for Usinor, Iles Seguin, Paris, France.
Genoma Ao Vivo, design study for a temporary exhibition, Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Disney Land Paris, design study for a cinema themed pavilion in the future park, Marne-la-Vallee, France.

2002 Prendre le train (Take the Train), temporary exhibition, Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Paris, France.
Exhibit Master Plan, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, design competition winner in 2003.

2003 The orders were still pouring in:
Barolo Wine Museum,
Turin Automobile Museum,
TV Cité (Television Museum) in Paris.

2003 to 2004 Two major achievements: a first grand-daughter, Nina, and a first grand-son, Jules.
L.A. Light-Motion-Dreams, temporay exhibition, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.