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.
“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.
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!
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.