Interview with Christophe Fey

We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our collective: Ateliers Fey. Specializing in the mastery of leather craftsmanship, Ateliers Fey enriches our collective with its exceptional French savoir-faire. We recently had a conversation with Christophe Fey, founder of Ateliers Fey, to learn more about the art of leather sheathing and his passion for his craft.

Welcome to Par Excellence! It’s an honor to have Ateliers Fey join our collective. What do you hope to achieve through this collaboration?

Joining Par Excellence represents an exceptional opportunity for Ateliers Fey to shine on the American market. Our goal is to showcase the excellence and finesse of French craftsmanship, highlighting the richness and diversity of our work. It will also allow us to forge close ties with other exceptional French houses. Together, we can share our experiences, combine our expertises, and find guidance in our expansion on the American market.

Your diverse range of specialties, from leatherwork to gilding, is truly impressive. Could you please explain what each of them involves?

Our range of specialities is the result of years of experience, of dedication to the craft, and a passion that the entire team shares for our savoir faire. Artistic leatherwork, our core expertise, requires a deep understanding of the leather. Working with this material requires not only an understanding of its unique characteristics but also great manual skills. Our expertise spans from selecting the leather and cutting it to its final assembly, ensuring impeccable quality and finishes. Gilding, on the other hand, is another specific craftsmanship, a traditional technique passed down by my grandfather. It enhances the sophistication and elegance of an object or piece of furniture.

What unique qualities or characteristics do you believe distinguish Ateliers Fey from other artisans in the industry ?

First, our dedication to quality and craftsmanship sets us apart. We make no compromises on the quality of materials we select or the techniques we employ. This discipline is what makes every piece we create special.

Next, creativity drives our workshop. We approach each new project as an opportunity to push the boundaries of traditional craftsmanship. Our team is constantly innovating, whether through design, the use of new materials, or the integration of more modern techniques.

Last, I would mention our expertise. Our unique expertise, passed down through generations, is the key to our reputation.

With such a rich legacy and traditions, how does Ateliers Fey ensure the transfer of knowledge and expertise to the next generation ?

We welcome apprentices and people following a professional retraining in our workshops. That way, they have the opportunity to work alongside our artisans. This allows them to discover our craftsmanship and to become familiar with all aspects of our profession, in the hope of inspiring future callings.

Transmitting our expertise also involves refining traditional techniques. By encouraging our artisans to keep developing their skills, we ensure the vitality and relevance of our profession.

In this process, we meticulously documented our methods and creations, maintaining detailed archives of the techniques used.

How does Ateliers Fey stay ahead of innovations while also honoring its rich heritage ?

We rely on a blend of tradition and modernity. We preserve the artisanal methods that have built our reputation while integrating contemporary techniques. We are constantly seeking to improve, both in terms of design and in the techniques employed.

Could you tell us more about a challenging or intricate project that Ateliers Fey has successfully executed ?

We had the honor of contributing to the creation of an exceptionally complex parchment marquetry ceiling with different volumes aboard one of the most prestigious yachts. This ambitious project included 8000 parchment pieces.

What methods does Ateliers Fey employ to ensure that every finished product upholds its rigorous standards of excellence ?

We apply a multi-step verification process involving several artisans to ensure that every detail meets our quality standards. Once production is complete, each piece undergoes a series of quality checks. I personally carry out the final inspection for our most important projects.

Can you share a memorable anecdote or story that illustrates the dedication and passion behind your craftsmanship ?

One day, we received an unusual request at the workshop: to fully upholster a bathtub in crocodile skin. To meet this challenge, our expertise was essential. We had to develop a specific varnish capable of withstanding cleaning products and moisture. The final result was stunning.

Are there any collaborations that Ateliers Fey is particularly proud of ? What made these collaborations so special ?

We had the honor of collaborating with the National Assembly, renewing the leather of the presidential desks and delicately applying gold leaf decorations. The work was entirely carried out on-site, in such a mythical emblem of the French Republic. It was an exceptional opportunity and a privilege to bring our expertise to such an iconic venue.

To learn more about ATELIERS FEY and their projects, please click here.

To schedule an appointment or inquire how ATELIERS FEY can help with your project, please reach out to us here.


Interview with François Pouenat

At Par Excellence, we are dedicated to preserving the legacy of French savoir-faire. It is with great excitement that we introduce our latest addition, the esteemed artisan: François Pouenat. Specializing in architectural ironwork and the creation of fine metal furniture, Atelier François Pouenat combines traditional techniques, specialized tools, and digital technologies to push the boundaries of creativity in the field. Today, under the leadership of François Pouenat, representing the 5th generation, the workshop based in Nevers crafts bespoke creations for renowned design houses. Additionally, they produce their own furniture line, including the renowned Barrel desk, recently added to the catalogue of the Mobilier National.

We are thrilled to welcome you to Par Excellence! What aspect of joining this collective are you most enthusiastic about and how do you plan to bring your unique touch into the group?

I am very honored to join Par Excellence. The idea of meeting, working alongside, and sharing with workshops whose expertise is remarkable makes me very happy. This emulation inspires and stimulates me. I emphasize this notion of sharing our everyday workshop life because I believe we all experience the same thing. I would like to share my energy and enthusiasm that drive me every day.

François Pouenat, as the fifth generation of your family to lead Atelier François Pouenat, what does it mean to you personally to carry on this legacy?

According to the testimonies of my parents, grandparents, and relatives, there has always been this desire to do well, to give a lot through the practice of the profession. Ultimately, when you take care of your profession by trying to evolve it with the available methods, with your experience, your rigor, your perseverance, it is you who grow and make your collaborators grow at the same time.

Therefore, I must honor this knowledge that has been passed on to me. By valuing it, by making it known to younger generations.

Atelier François Pouenat has a rich history dating back over 130 years. How do you balance preserving this heritage while also embracing modern design trends and techniques?

The profession of ironworker, a living heritage of know-how, embodies modernity. The raw materials, iron, brass, aluminum, are infinitely recyclable and come from the earth in the form of ore. It is therefore a profession with strong technical evolutions and whose ancestral gestures remain relevant.

Collaboration seems to be a significant aspect of Atelier François Pouenat’s work. Could you expand on how partnerships with designers contribute to the creative process and the uniqueness of your creations?

My artistic sensibility and design vision contribute significantly to my life. However, I am a craftsman, not a designer. It is crucial for me to make a difference between the two. They are very different professions but at the same time inseparable. One relies on the other. I cherish these exchanges and encounters. Sharing is the key to success. Giving, sharing. Stepping out of our comfort zone, that’s my relationship with designers.

Are there any upcoming collaborations or projects that you’re particularly excited about?

I enjoy all projects without exception because each one has its own story. Currently, we are working on a project for a Parisian apartment where we are constructing a rather complex staircase in the style of Mallet-Stevens. We have developed a very simple and effective patina that will give the illusion that this staircase dates back to the 1930s.

Atelier François Pouenat is renowned for its expertise in working with materials such as iron, brass, and copper. Can you discuss the unique challenges and rewards of working with these materials in your creations?

Brass has emerged as the premier metal for decoration. Its golden or bronze hue allows for the creation of an abundance of decorative elements without limits. Iron is experiencing a resurgence for both objects and furniture pieces. This material, with its ability to be forged into more free-flowing and organic forms, is growing in popularity.

Has there been a project that has challenged you?

The main challenge for me lies in the coexistence of digital techniques and traditional craftsmanship. I would like to find a balance so that the profession is perceived in a fair equilibrium between digital technicality and the ancestral technicality of handiwork.

Please tell us more about your workshop?

There are 23 of us in the company. There’s the design office, the craftsmen in the workshop, and my administrative colleagues who ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Can you share some insights into your design process, from concept to execution?

For a new project, we start in studying and producing samples. It’s often a lengthy process with many exchanges, questions, and trials. In my opinion, this is the most important part where everything must be perfectly defined. Then, the manufacturing begins in the workshop. There are often prototypes to confirm our choices and those of our clients. We also handle the installation of our works.

In conclusion, what are your hopes for the future of Atelier François Pouenat? How do you see Par Excellence contributing to those aspirations?

I aspire to create more and more exceptional pieces. This is what drives us in the workshop. Par Excellence will contribute to our reputation by highlighting our workshop with its unique history, close to traditional craftsmanship, always with the desire to give and share.

To learn more about ATELIER FRANÇOIS POUENAT and their projects, please click here.

To schedule an appointment or inquire how ATELIER FRANÇOIS POUENAT can help with your project, please reach out to us here.