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.


Interview with Donna Glubo-Schwartz

This week we would like to introduce one of our favorite women on Instagram. She is doing incredible work, which looks like it could be from another universe. We interviewed her about her life, her work and her passions.  Introducing: Donna Glubo-Schwartz.

With this interview we also start a new section on our news page, in which we would like to show you new and interesting accounts, pictures and impressions of Instagrams world of interior design. Come and join us to explore the variety of art and design, starting with 3 dimensional sculptured fabrics.

Thank you very much Donna for doing this interview with us. We have been following you on Instagram for a while now and are always amazed by your pictures of these colorful fabric sculptures. First, I would like to know “Who is Donna Glubo-Schwartz?”.

I am from New York, currently living in Fort Lee, NJ with a studio that overlooks the Hudson River. I studied fiber arts, sculpture, painting and most influentially Color Theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. One semester, I took a class in Shibori, a Japanese resist dye technique and I experimented with the general intention of the processes and adapted it to gain a more dimensional result. My study of color has also informed my work.

Oh nice! That sounds fun! So, how did you became a designer? How did the idea of doing the pieces, on your instagram referenced as “3 dimensional sculptural fabrics”, how did that start?

Since graduating, I formed my own fabric company Spatial Element. I developed the concept of having my pleated fabric laminated in glass. The technology was not available when I first developed the idea, so I had it cast in clear resin. It was juried into Material Connexion, a materials resource library, as a new material. A new glass company, Livinglass, Inc. developed the process of laminating dimensional materials in glass, and found my work through Material Connexion. Since then we have been working together (starting 2004) and have completed many projects both domestically and internationally.

Amazing! And how do you install your sculptures, because it should be used as decoration in rooms right?

Yes, exactly. For example my newest work, Twisted Objects, are made with the intention of mounting them on a wall, either attached to a canvas or directly to the wall. I envision grouping multiple pieces for a full installation in a grid pattern or if directly hung, in different forms and shapes.

Okay, and are those sculptures the only thing you are working on at the moment? Or is there something else? What would you say is your main focus?

My focus is with the 3 dimensional fabrics, either with the Twisted Object series or with Livinglass, Inc. for laminated glass for my Kimono and Halo series of glass. The laminated glass has been used in multiple projects installed anywhere from Hotels, Airports, Casinos, Health Care, Residential, Restaurants, and Corporate venues .

And do other designers do the same? Do you know anyone working in this way?

Not exactly. Although there are other fiber artist that use more traditional shibori techniques, I do have my own unique interpretation.

Okay, nice. Now we have already talked a bit about your pieces. Can you tell me something about how you are making them? On your Instagram, you explain that everything is handmade and one of a kind.  It must be very special to craft such pieces.

My technique includes multiple degrees of folding and crimping the fabric. It can involve one or two color combinations to complete the second part of the process. When completed, I manipulate the fabric to create its form, then sewing it in place. I came to this process through years of experimentation, research and development. It can take anywhere from two days to a week or more to complete a piece or series of pieces.

Wow, a week is quite a long time! How does it work if someone would like to order your work? How do you ship and manage the whole process?

I would work directly with designers to determine color and size and overall desired result. Although I plan on offering specific sizes: 20” by 20” and 12” by 12”, I can do custom work in color and size. You can order directly through my site. Designers can direct message me for custom work. Each piece will be specially packed for shipping through FedEX.

Alright, my last question is, which projects have you worked on so far, or further more what clients have you worked with? Also, which rooms do you think are best homes for your bespoke creations?

I have worked most successfully with the Interior Design industry. Hospitality projects are the most receptive to color and experimentation. I can see the Twisted Objects, which can be made in any size, as feature walls for hotel lobbies, reception area, restaurants, airport lounges, etc. I have completed projects for Delta Airlines including LAX, San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta. Other projects in Las Vegas include McCarran International Airport, Aria City Center Las Vegas, Red Rock Resort and Casino, Mirage Hotel and more. In New York, for example,  you can see my work at the Shoreham Hotel on West 55th.

Oh nice! I think I am gonna check this out then! Very cool. Well, that’s all for now! Thank you very much Donna, for answering all my questions.

You are very welcome! Thank you very much for having me for this interview!

If you are interested in Donna´s pieces, check them out at her Instagram page here or you can also contact her via email or phone, to order your very own special 3D sculptured fabric.


Phone: 917.701.9134


Trends of 2019

We searched down the internet to explore the future design trends of the new year 2019, and we found some interesting statements of different designers. We know that is all supposition, because in the end design is art and art has its own living life and behavior. But to know what some of the best designers would like to create and what not, is a very good start to see where 2019 is leading regarding interior design and decor arts. So here are 5 IN’s and OUT’s for 2019:


“Collection Illuminations” by M. Lehanneur

Each year, French Architectural Digest magazine organizes “AD Intérieurs” exhibition in Paris, France. This displays of the salon are done by by famous interior designers and young talents in the parisian heritage monument.

With the theme “Rough and Precious”, the exhibition’s 9th edition invites visitors to visit the Hotel de la Bûcherie from September 5th to 23rd and discover the interiors imagined by the 15 interior designers who were selected by the AD magazine editorial board.

On the second floor of this parisian historical monument, Hotel de la Bûcherie Mathieu Lehanneur collaborated and invited Par Excellence partners to conceive an immaculate meditation room. For the very first time the French designer entrusted all our partners to fabricate a collection of furniture, which will be soon seen in New York.


Kips Bay Decorator Show House

Each spring, well-known interior designers transform a luxury Manhattan apartment on Upper East Side into an exhibition that’s called Kips Bay Decorator Show House. This project began back in 1973 when the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club launched it as a fundraiser for New York City children.

Upholstered walls, window treatments and sofa by Jouffre

This year’s show takes place at 110 East 76th Street, in a seven-level townhouse. The most outstanding features of this estate are its spiral staircase, lots of windows and high ceilings. The project is a high-profile showcase with both young and experienced designers and some of the field’s top brands. More than 20 interior designers put their stamp on the mansion’s rooms that go from classic to colorfully modern.

One of the rooms shows a magnificent salon and bar in a yellow hue. Caleb Anderson and Jamie Drake designed this space with the goal of creating a grand but also intimate living room. It is a combination of modernism and classicism. The salon has deep gold upholstered walls by none other than Jouffre, our Partner in upholstery, window treatment and stretched wall fabrics, with hand-sewn beads by Ankasa. Jouffre also did this wonderful sofa which seems flawless due to its rounded and smooth shape.

During the whole month of May 2018, the house is open to visitors, with all proceeds benefiting the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. Don’t miss your chance!


"Stereotomy 2.0"

On April 20th, Par Excellence hosted the opening of the event “Stereotomy 2.0“. The exhibition was in collaboration with NYIT School of Architecture and Design and showed prototypes of stone architecture from ancient stereotomic construction systems to the most modern stone experiments for architecture and interior design.

From April 20th to April 29th, Par Excellence exhibited a proposal for constant stress arches constructed from voussoirs (building blocks) that were 3D printed using binder jetting technology. The exhibition was co-edited by Giuseppe Fallacara, associate professor at the Polytechnic of Bari and visiting professor at NYIT, and boasted an amazing line-up, including entries from ZHA Code, p.ART and AKT II, the Block Research Group etc.

One of the most outstanding pieces was the Lapella stone lounge chair from Zaha Hadid Architects, ZHA Code, AKT II, New Fundamentals Research Group and Generelli SA. The chair is made out of unique Palissandro Classico marble and carbon fiber, and is a reinterpretation of the iconic 1963 design by Hans J. Wegner.


"Démesure" by Par Excellence

“Démesure” (“lavishness”), from November 5t until February 5th is a disproportionate exhibition created for Par Excellence. This brand new scenography exhibits new pieces designed and realized by our eight talented craftsmen through a collaborative work inspired by Le Corbusier and its Modulor, and by the 432 Park Avenue Tower!

From the infinitely large to the infinitely tiny, human beings always perceived the universe using their very own size/dimension. Le Corbusier even used the human size as a measurement standard for his study of “inhabiting”. But how is it possible to inhabit the lavishness of cities, of architectures, of dreams?

Every day, the craftsmen represented by Par Excellence have to deal with the lavishness of the projects they work for such as the 432 Park Ave tower or even with the craft they practice.  Thus, each piece of work reflects the great architecture in New York and lets us experience the “Démesure”.


Interview with Etienne & Eric, founders of Ozone

Ozone is a company from Paris which joined Par Excellence as their partner for lighting design. All of their products are designed and handmade in Paris, and are available for American customers. Let’s get to know Etienne and Eric, the founders of Ozone.

When did you start working in lighting design?

In 2000.

Can you give us a roadmap of how you found your way to this career?

We had been friends and work colleagues for a few years. We wanted to start a business together and associate our industrial first step to a creative approach. Plus light is magical!

What were the biggest contributors to your learning?

Meeting with craftsmen and interior designers has been very enriching. We were complete beginners, with both our skills and our professional network. Craftsmen and interior designers are passionate people who take the time to listen and pass on their knowledge despite their busy schedule.

Eric Jähnke and Etienne Gounot, the two founders of Ozone

How long does it take for someone to really build some confidence in this craft? 

It requires at least 10 years to develop esthetic, conceptual and technical sensibility and skills of lighting and light making.

What is your advice for learning how to become skilled in their craft? 

There is no real school in this field. You have to take the plunge for real and learn.

To what or who do you owe your success? 

We do not know if we can speak of success, because success can be relative and short-lived. We try to last in the long term by enhancing our models each year. The changes might be imperceptible, but contribute to catch the eye of the enthusiast. Although the shapes we design are sleek and geometrical, we commit to make them more beautiful and couple the latest technologies with the past. The seniority of artists matters in this field as the truth of know-how and consistency. We actively collaborate with the Cristallerie Saint-Louis, which was founded in 1586 and we currently light the new store of the Monnaie de Paris, which has existed since 864.

Tell us a little about the inspiration behind some of your pieces. 

That is very hard to answer in a few words. We discussed this topic in a very beautiful text written by an author for the last Ozone magazine. It speaks about walks in Paris, contemporary art, meetings with architects, and the sky.

Do you have a “key” realization? What is it? 

The L line for the simplicity of its shape and the beauty of its light. A discreet piece designed to serve the atmosphere of a place. Actually, it is more a sunset than a beacon.

Why did you choose to come to New York? 

To us, New York is a city that focuses and brings out the maximum amount of energy and creativity. Like Paris, but stronger and more open to the world.

According to you, how can Par Excellence support your development in the US?

It is better to be accompanied by others and well supported to succeed in this city and country.

What question would you most like to be asked? 

Etienne: Do you like questions? The answer is no. I am quite introverted so I prefer to ask. “
Eric: Would you have some time to see John Pawson this afternoon? (John Pawson is a British architectural designer born in 1949 whose work is known for its minimalist aesthetic.)

If you weren’t a craftsman, what would you be? 

Etienne: Photographer or filmmaker.
Eric: Doctor or physicist.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? 

Etienne: Doing yoga, reading and meditating.
Eric: Surfing, playing the piano.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

Etienne: To the moon.
Eric: Right now I would like to go surfing in Bali.

What do you dream about?
Etienne: Nature.
Eric: I often dream about the ocean, waves and surfing. This is actually the reason why I started to practice this sport.

And last but not least, what’s your mantra? 

Etienne: One day at a time, live in the present.
Eric: “Take good care of this day, because this is life”, by Mawlana Rumi.

For more information about their products and their work find the website of Ozone here!