A tour of the Domaine de Boisbuchet in southwestern France with Dezeen magazine and founder, the design curator and collector Alexander von Vegesack, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the exciting design think tank. Turning a rambling 15th century estate into a destination for leading thinkers in architecture and design was the goal. Every year they come to teach through hands-on workshops, building pavilions and installations throughout the grounds which now feature works by the architect Shigeru Ban, bamboo structures by Simón Vélez and experimental domes by German structural engineer Jörg Schlaich.

Alexander von Vegesack was the founding director of the Vitra Design Museum and bought the Domaine de Boisbuchet in the 1980s and began restoring the 124 acre estate's agricultural buildings and commissioning new ones. The first workshops were held in 1989 and since then leading figures including Fernando and Humberto Campana, Maarten Baas, Barber Osgerby and Patricia Urquiola have led workshops for young designers in the summer months.

"It's not important to be an expert, but just to have an idea and try to make it happen," says von Vegesack. "It's more about developing ideas with a goal you want to demonstrate in three dimensions. And above all to build up a network of good friends, sharing an interest in creating something that might be important for your professional life."

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