The Ricou Workshops are joining Par Excellence!

We are pleased to announce that the Ricou Workshops are joining the group of French Craftsmen Par Excellence!

After Jouffre, Declercq Passementiers, Lison de Caunes, Les Ateliers Saint-Jacques, Les Marbreries de la Seine, Ozone and Meljac, it is the turn of the Ricou workshops to be part of the family of Par Excellence.

L’Atelier de Ricou was created in 1989 by Stéphanie and Cyril de Ricou. It combines two know-how: the creation of painted decorations and the restoration of paintings and sculptures for historical monuments. This combination of creation and restoration determines the Atelier's philosophy: to create sets in coherence with the surrounding space. To this end, the Workshop masters a wide variety of techniques, styles and materials.

Their Craft

Creation - Penthouse -  New York - 2017

Whether in Paris, London, Los Angeles or New York, L'Atelier de Ricou designs wall decorations with a contemporary vision and in connection with the surrounding space.

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The chimney and column were treated as strong and colored anchors, in a degraded raw material similar to metal, leather or slate.

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For this New York Penthouse, they created a scenography based on the painting of volumes for a couple of contemporary art collectors.

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Renovation - Venetian Room, New York

Built at the dawn of the twentieth century, at 972 Fifth Avenue in New York, for one of the largest fortunes in the United States, the Payne Whitney Mansion is reported from its construction as a major work of the architect Stanford White. It was acquired in 1952 by the French government to install the Cultural Services of its embassy. The Venetian Room is the visitor's waiting room and is considered one of the masterpieces of New York's Gilded Age.


The mirrors lining its walls are held by carefully sculpted parecloses. The whole is gilded and crowned with a voussure in brass carving in which file a decoration of flowers in porcelain.

This decor, dismantled in 1949 and reinstalled in 1997, has been entirely restored by the Atelier de Ricou.

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More to come

After the Venetian Room, the Atelier de Ricou will take care of the renovation of the Ball Room of the French Embassy cultural services. After responding to the tender, their project was selected. By Excellence accompanied them during the presentation of the latter.

Interview - Raphaëlle Le Baud - The Craft Project

Raphaëlle Le Baud is the co-founder of the Métiers Rares studio and the founder of a podcast dedicated to the Craft Industry: The Craft Project. This podcast is a reference in the French Cultural Ecosystem with 28 interviews and 50 000 listeners. It aims at telling the stories of artisans through powerful conversation about their work, career and inspiration.

Among the podcasts recorded by Raphaëlle, four are devoted to our partners: Lison de Caunes from Lison de Caunes Creations, Charles Jouffre from the Ateliers Jouffre, Pierre-Yves Guenec and Pascal Remy from the Ateliers Saint Jacques.

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Par Excellence: Which paths, experiences and encounters led you to the founding of The Craft Project?

Raphaëlle: I have been an entrepreneur in Craftmanship for ten years. It all started in 2010, when I took over the Maison Duvelleroy, specialized in the making of fans. And for ten years, I was inspired by craftsmen, who allowed me to take a richer look on life but also on my working sector. This is why I decided to do a podcast.

In addition, I studied at Sciences Po Paris and NYU in New York. I have lived with the radio since I was born and so for me, a podcast is the best way to make the specific intelligence of each craftsman heard.

Par Excellence: Which method do you use during your interviews to have access to the most intimate of each craftsman? Is there a technique?

My mother is a psychoanalyst, so I think it helps. I also have a facility to listen to people. And when it comes to craftsmen, I think it’s my deep admiration for what they do and build that creates a caring environment that makes them speak freely.

Par Excellence: Who is the typical listener of The Craft Project? And what reaction do you want to generate when someone listens to your podcasts?

The Craft Project is very known in the Craft sector. Among the students – especially at the Boulle Art School in Paris – but also the artisans. Many of them told me they listen to the podcasts while they are working. Customers and decorators can also discover gem through this way. And finally, I am always very touched when people who do not know anything about Craft tell me that they listened to the podcast and were inspired by the artisans’ Art and History.

Par Excellence: The Craft Project is also in your words “A Think Thank of Craftsmen who come together to think and act for the future of Crafts”. How can we think this future and what place does the digital occupy in it?

Over the interviews – almost thirty episodes! - we realized that the concerns of craftsmen were deep and worrying, particularly in regard to the formation of their successors. Parents, students and the Ministry of National Education should be aware of the professional opportunities this sector offers. This is why we meet regularly to find new ideas and to act in this direction.

As far as digital is concerned, it enables craftsmen to make themselves known on the market independently of intermediaries. So, it is already a valuable springboard for them. Within the workshops, these are craftsmen who become influencers. Instagram gives artisans the opportunity to get an unprecedented economic influence. That’s why digital is central in the future of fine Crafts, and The Craft Project is the very expression of it. The artisans of the Think Tank have a big digital community, so do I: we are deeply involved in digital.

 Par Excellence: You’re in a way an ambassador of French Know-How: Co-founder of Duvelleroy and the Mayaro Gallery in Paris, co-founder of the Métiers Rares Studio. Do you plan to be the ambassador of this French Savoir-Faire on the international stage?

It’s my dream, because the Crafts need to shine. I am very attached to French workshops; I would like to talk about it internationally. I had the chance to participate in Homo Faber in Venice, where it was a real pleasure to talk about crafts, talk about our Craftsmen and their skills and expertise. And this is why one of my dream is also to translate the Craft Project in English. And I thank Par Excellence for all its efforts to accompany me in the realization of this will!






Meljac switches combine design and French Savoir-Faire

July 3, 2019 / Claire Bossu-Rousseau from Signatures Singulières Magazine

Meljac manufactures high-end switches and outlets in brass, glass and porcelain. But also reading lights, cladding card readers, air conditioning, door plates or lifts and doorbells. Meljac’s creations seduce many architects, decorators but also individuals. 

Refined switches

“A switch must not only be functional. It must be attractive or even sensual. Your desires inspire me.” This is what Andre Bousquet, Meljac’s founder, declared in 1995. Originally from a small town in Aveyron, André Bousquet created his electrical installations company in Paris. He then realized that a final touch lacked to electrical equipment on construction sites. So he decided to launch his switch manufacturing company, which he called Meljac, the name of his native village. Forerunner, André Bousquet quickly meets success with his designs. 

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 Interview with Jean-Michel Lagarde - CEO of Meljac

The creations of Meljac seem to have for limit, it seems, only the imagination of its customers. What is the most amazing order made to Meljac ? 

Jean-Michel Lagarde: Indeed, we are a tool to translate the creativity of architects, thanks to our know-how and our ability to meet the demanding needs of tailor-made. It is our taste for innovation that excites us to take up the challenge! For example, one of the most extravagant achievements comes from a request from a Middle Eastern prince who wanted a butterfly-shaped switch for his daughter who is passionate about these insects! We have developed a real gem: a bronze butterfly, set with precious stone (labradorite) with a push button! This is how our PRESTIGE collection was born. 

Meljac’s references are numerous: the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum, the Four Seasons Hotel George V, the Danieli Hotel in Venice… Do you have another prestigious name for 2020?  

Jean-Michel Lagarde: Many beautiful projects are underway. The best known are palaces and 5* hotels: The Cheval Blanc Paris, The Mandarin Oriental or the Luxury Hotel Aman New York. For these projects, we produce sophisticated products developed and tested by our design office; for example a brass console engraved with the logo of the establishment, which centralizes all the controls of the room. Every project is different and that’s what makes our job exciting. 

Meljac opens its first subsidiary in 2018 and chooses the United States. Why ? 

Jean-Michel Lagarde: After several years of presence through a distributor, it became necessary to establish a direct relationship with customers in this specific market. Our presence makes it possible to better understand projects, optimize customer service and responsiveness, and thus exploit the full potential of this geographic sector. 

Meljac is also represented at Par Excellence, in New York, a showroom which represent exceptional French know-how. What is the impact for Meljac ? 

Jean-Michel Lagarde: We joined the group recently and have already participated in several events and initiated many contacts (architects, decorators, etc.). Our approach is a long-term approach. Par Excellence is a beautiful showcase that allows us to benefit from a presence in New York, in addition to the headquarters of our subsidiary based in Los Angeles. It is a strong support for our local distribution. Par Excellence showroom brings together prestigious names in the field of French know-how and we are proud to be part of it!

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Innovative and attractive products

Inspired by the art of living of the 30’s, symbolized by the lever “water drop”, the switches are very elegant. And, above all, the models - brass, porcelain, glass and plexiglass - are customizable! First of all, customers have the choice of mechanisms: levers, push buttons, mini buttons etc. Then they can also engrave words, symbols, pictograms, lights, etc. Finally, the engraving allows to print in color a motive, a logo, or even a photo!

Traditional French know-how with finesse

Meljac creations are handmade in France, and this at every step of the process. In 2015, the company was the first in its sector of activity to obtain the EPV (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant) label. In 2018, Meljac opens a subsidiary in the United States. Signatures Singulières greets this bright journey.

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Par Excellence New Showroom

Par Excellence Showroom has moved! Previously in the Chelsea neighborhood, we are now located at 344 Bowery, Noho. The location is ideal: near the Bowery Hotel and Washington Square Park. 

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The apartment has a large living room, a material library, an open kitchen and a bedroom for our artisans partners visiting New York. 

You can visit our showroom by appointment only: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

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We are currently working with a great American architect for the decoration of our showroom in collaboration with all our partners. His name will be revealed to you very soon! Until then, here are some clues. Born, raised and working in Washington, he is considered as one of the greatest American architects. His career took place in the United States - he was in charge of the decoration of the White House Guest House - but also worldwide. We are delighted to be moving forward on this project!

Quentin Garel, Animal Sculptor


Son of a painter, the artistic universe is familiar to Quentin Garel since his childhood. Thanks to his father who covered all the themes of the history of art - portraits, landscapes, still lifes, Garel drew a lot. The only subject that had not been treated at home being the animal, this one became his main subject.

Animals, a universal subject

His elephants, gorillas, giraffes, bird skulls, etc. have conquered Signatures Singulières. At first, Quentin Garel was confined to farm animals to make trophies and restore their coat of arms. A satirical work on the pride of man in some way, like a Jean de la Fontaine. Then the artist became interested in wild animals and the details of their anatomy.

A huge preparatory work

Because Garel likes to represent reality, he makes preparatory drawings as faithful as possible. Therefore he introduces as much information as possible about the light and the volume to come. His technique is classic. Indeed, he uses paper, charcoal and brings some highlights with white chalk to give relief. Like industrial drawings with a front view, from above and in profile, those of Garel is very technical, almost to scale.

Wood, his favorite material

Indeed, beams, planks, etc. He willingly confides that the touching moment is the discovery after cleaning all the effects of wood. It is especially when the veins of wood accompany to the eye and the touch, the drawings and movements of the sculptures. The artist plays with shine and dullness. Sometimes he mixes cast iron with wood, adds plexiglass eyes. Whatever happens, the wooden sculpture always ends up being melted in bronze!

Bayart Gallery - 17, rue des Beaux-Arts - 75006 Paris - Tel. : +33 (0) 9 83 30 60 55

You can find the article in french on the website of our partner Signatures Singulières here.

Declercq Passementiers, "c’est le pompon!"


Declercq Passementiers, a family home marked by the excellency. Jérôme Declercq and his sister Elisa embody the sixth generation of trimming manufacturer. Indeed, the house began in 1852 with their great grandparents who were settled on Quincampoix Street. Today rue Etienne Marcel houses the showroom while the creative workshop is located in Montreuil aux Lions.

The jewel of decoration

The term passementerie comes from the word "passement" which designates in decoration any ornament woven with threads. Geometries and colors that are infinitely different. The names are funny sometimes enigmatic as "bouffettes bouclées", "trililis", "claws", "galons" or "cocorinettes". These small elements ennoble the interiors and give them a final touch. Trimmings have an old-fashioned side but new things come to wake her up. Since the house is working on new techniques and new materials such as steel or fiber optics.

The know-how of a trade community

Because 80% of the items are entirely hand-made by specialized master craftsmen: the twister, the warper, the reel, etc. These work mainly with silk, gold (gold threads 24 carats), fibrane (commonly called "viscose"), cotton and wool. Prestigious places like the Elysée, the Palace of Versailles, the Opera Garnier, the Peninsula Hotel in Paris etc. are full of creations signed Declercq Passementiers. But many individuals around the world also make up his clientele. Declercq Passementiers is a Living Heritage Company (EPV). Margot, the daughter of Jerome Declercq, will eventually take over the reins of the family home.

Singular Signatures wishes him the same success as his predecessors.

Interview with Jérôme Declercq CEO of Declercq Passementiers

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What made you want to go into the trimmings?

Jérôme Declercq: My desire goes back to childhood, when I accompanied my father. I spent a lot of time in the workshops, I watched the trimmers work, I ran between the trades. I have always loved this workshop atmosphere, the smell of materials, the soft "singing" of silk and the regular sound of looms. It is a particular universe, where beautiful things are played out. I like the human relationships that are created in a workshop. The virus took me very young, he never left. I like the idea of perpetuating know-how and this freedom to create.

It is an art recognized in France. Is it the same abroad?

Jérôme Declercq: I would say rather a craft, but yes, it is recognized throughout the world, even if it enjoys a special status in France because it is in France that trimmings have historically taken all its rise, and that the most beautiful pieces were created. In the world, trimmings symbolize an important part of the art of living "à la française".

You have joined Par Excellence, which promotes French talents in New York. What do you expect? Do you already have any benefits in this way? What kind of welcome did you receive in New York?

Jérôme Declercq: previously, we used distributors who sold our trimmings. Thanks to Par Excellence and the synergy it generates, we can promote our own brand and our identity Declercq Passementiers. We have been working for a long time with the United States (for example, we have made beautiful trimmings for the Frick Collection), and Americans are very fond of this kind of products. But with Par Excellence, we are developing our contacts with American decorators who are enthusiastic. This initiative of high-end French artisans is very well received by American customers, it is a guarantee of excellence and therefore a legitimacy for the partner brands. We have already achieved good projects, the prospects are good, and we are very motivated.

What challenge would you like to meet in 2019/2020?

Jérôme Declercq: I would like the success and the influence of Par Excellence to open a second pole on the West Coast: that's a very nice challenge!

You can find the french version of this article here.


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On thursday, May 16th, an event was held in the newest project of Macklowe Properties.  

The company was founded in the mid-1960s by Harry Macklowe, a successful developer, owner, and manager of a wide range of real estate investments. Macklowe Properties’ latest project, a 35-story residential tower, the 200 East 59th street is located between Midtown and the Upper East Side. The development of these residential condominiums respected Macklowe Properties’ commitment to classical modernism. Each residence has a wrap-around terrace, creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

The developer Harry Macklowe collaborated with the interior designer Cyril Vergnol for the 22nd floor’s two model units.

Vergnol worked with three partners of Par Excellence for the decoration of these units. Jouffre, who works within the beautiful tradition of upholstery and French luxury, created the curtains for these New York apartments. Ozone, specializing in lighting design, has constructed the chandelier and many other lighting fixtures for the model flats. The exposed carpets were produced by, the Manufacture des Tapis de Bourgogne, a company which has designed and manufactured custom rugs, carpets, and tapestries (tufted and woven hand-made) in France since 1958. All our partners (Lison de Caunes, Les Ateliers Saint Jacques, Declercq, Meljac and the Marbreries de la Seine) were present in addition to the three partners who collaborated for the design of the apartment. This collaboration was an opportunity to invite all our partners and customers into this exceptional setting with a wonderful view of Central Park.

Par Excellence Partners

Par Excellence Partners

Harry Macklowe (Real Estate Developer) & Guillaume Bouchez (General Manager of Par Excellence)

Harry Macklowe (Real Estate Developer) & Guillaume Bouchez (General Manager of Par Excellence)

During this event, our partner was able to present its know-how to more than 150 guests. Par excellence wishes to thank them for their presence.

All in a good mood a flute of champagne in the hands and the sunset in the background.

Enjoy the photos of the event below.

Dominique Dutronc, our photographer for the event : (732) 397 8389

Jouffre at Révélations 2019

Initiated by Ateliers d'Art de France since 2013, Révélations is the international fine craft and creation appointment not to be missed.

The 4th edition of the biennial took place from 22 to 26 May 2019 at the Grand Palais in Paris.

This year again, Jouffre was present to share the know-how of its craftsmen around a set of singular creations called Introspection.

The stall's scenography, designed by the interior design duo Lally & Berger, highlighted a research and development project initiated three years ago by the upholsterer from Lyon.

With the help of prestigious partners, Jouffre has created "Introspection", a collection of six pairs of unique curtains and sheers. Craftsmen, but also members from the office and the design studio, worked hand in hand to reinvent the way decorators think, design and manufacture window treatments.

Five fabric houses contributed to the project to showcase their fabrics; textile atelier Toyine Sellers Texture & Design, American company Rogers & Goffigon, British company Holland & Sherry and finally two Italians, Dedar Milano and Rubelli.

The leather used to make a curtain and some decorative elements come from the Turin-based manufacturer Foglizzo. The trimmings were hand-made by the century-old company Declercq Passementiers.

Finally, the decorative brass rods were manufactured by Gauthier & Cie and the solid oak rod by the English manufacturer Tillys.


In addition to this show, Jouffre organized a behind the scenes party in its Parisian showroom through an exhibition of photos and videos illustrating the realization of these creations. The materials, the different skills and the details of the production were highlighted, immersing the guests in the heart of Introspection.

Jouffre thanks all the partners who participated in this wonderful project as well as the interior designers Margaux Lally & Luc Berger for the scenography that made it possible to highlight all these creations.

Jouffre also thanks and congratulates each of the seamstresses and upholsterers who, thanks to their expertise, have perfectly crafted the six curtains in the collection as well as the two sofas on display at Révélations.

Jouffre finally would like to thank all the visitors who came to the stall in large numbers. The company's employees are very happy to have welcomed you and to have had the opportunity to unveil Introspection.

Charles and his teams are proud to have been part of this prestigious event around the arts and crafts.

Find more on Jouffre’s website here


Martin Massé is a young Parisian architect, graduated with honors from ESA and Penninghen.

He started his career in renowned agencies such as Tristan Auer, Wilmotte & Associates and Joseph Dirand Architecture for which he intervenes in particular in the design of his collection of furniture.

With his experiences in the luxury domain, he launched his own agency in 2018 and now is involved in projects ranging from architecture to interior design apartments and restaurants through the creation of high-end furniture.

It’s creative approach wavers between tradition and the ultra-contemporary displaying the exceptional know-how of French craftsmen.

His furniture collections which are sold in limited edition and product by Ateliers Saint Jacques in France express themselves through simple proportions and purified highlighted by materials skillfully selected.

The search for atmospheres and poetry is omnipresent in his work as a way of magnify everyday life through architecture and design.


Interview with Lison de Caunes, the Master of art in straw marquetry by Signatures Singulières

Interview with Lison de Caunes, the Master of art in straw marquetry

For Lison de Caunes, the straw marquetry is a childhood memory born in the workshop of his grandfather and master of Art Deco, decorator André Groult. She revolutionizes this technique by means of bookbinding tools such as this bone bender that never leaves it.

Signatures Singulières: What made you want to go into straw marquetry?

Lison de Caunes: straw marquetry has always been very present in my life thanks to my grandfather André Groult who introduced me to it. Indeed, I spent a lot of time in his studio. And then, I was surrounded by my parents objects and furniture in straw marquetry. When my grandfather died, I had the desire to restore his furniture. That's how I started straw marquetry.

Signatures Singulières: It is an art recognized in France. Is it the same abroad?

Lison de Caunes: it's a very French specialty since the 17th century. For a long time this art remained very confidential. But since about fifteen years and especially thanks to my work, the marquetry of straw has regained an interest with the public. It is now well known and fashionable in the United States, Russia and Europe.

Signatures Singulières: What kind of welcome did you receive in New York?

Lison de Caunes: I joined the American market thanks to Peter Marino. He was the first decorator to incorporate straw marquetry into his interiors. The revival for art deco also played a role in the enthusiasm found for this matter. And now for fifteen years many decorators have decided to work with my workshop and offer their customers straw marquetry.

Signatures Singulières: You have joined Par Excellence, which promotes French talents in New York. What do you expect? Do you already have benefits in this way?

Lison de Caunes: Despite the fact that we already have a lot of projects in the United States, it was important to have a place to be represented. It seemed all the more interesting because we are alongside talented artisans. They all contribute to show the excellence of French craftsmanship. We decided to embark on this adventure to expand our repertoire and meet new decorators. We have already had a big project with Drake / Anderson which is a direct result of our presence at the showroom Par Excellence.

Signatures Singulières: What challenge would you like to meet in 2019?

Lison de Caunes: my challenge for 2019 is to continue to innovate and modernize this material to show the infinite and unexpected possibilities of straw marquetry. We are currently working in association with other craftsmen to combine our know-how and to always present novelties.