Atelier de Ricou’s restoration of the Ballroom and Marble Room at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York

As part of the renovation project of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, Atelier de Ricou was selected to restore the Ballroom and the Marble Room. After restoring the Venetian Room in the same building several years ago they were honored to be able to continue to preserve this historic space. They were tasked to restore this Payne Whitney mansion on 5th Avenue to its Gilded Age splendor while infusing it with a contemporary spirit. By using a historical analysis, it provided them with some valuable sources of inspiration: a high ceiling, the ingenuity of the ballroom’s entrance portico, which made it possible to re-establish a centered composition of the room, the use of symmetry in a classical order, and finally, the use of special materials: gilding, mirrors and marble.

The Ballroom of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy

Two “false” windows have been completely recreated and added to the ballroom to bring symmetry. Mirror mosaic doors and columns as well as majestic pilasters in eglomized glass adorn the walls covered with a mural on canvas. The lanterns, designed in the Parisian workshops, echo the long curtains that adorn the windows, which were made by Jouffre and painted by Atelier de Ricou. The electrical outlets were created by Meljac.

In the Marble Room, the older sections have been restored and, in order to bring harmony to the room, L’Atelier de Ricou has created false marble that now covers the cornice and stairs.

After 1 and a half years of restoration work, the results are extraordinary!
In honor of this special achievement, on November 10th a special cocktail reception took place where both the press and interior designers were introduced to this exceptional place.

The guests were captivated by the magical atmosphere conferred by the soft and warm glow of the candles on both sides of the Ballroom, which underlined the elegance of the work done. The many journalists and other guests were able to discover the extent of the work carried out through a captivating talk given by Stéphanie de Ricou.
A sublime décor that gives back to this mansion its magic and elegance of yesteryear.

“We are very happy to have been able to restore the Ballroom and we are particularly delighted with the final result.
We wanted to mark the occasion through this inauguration because a project like this, we do not see fifty in our lives. Of course, we had to face, alas, the Covid conditions that forced us to go back and forth. We are all the more proud to have succeeded in carrying out this unlikely project and we are very grateful for all the people who helped us to make it a reality .” – Stéphanie de Ricou


Our new artisan Souchet - Interview with Nicolas Souchet

We are very happy to announce that Souchet Inspired Woodwork has joined the Par Excellence collective. This high-end woodworking workshop specializes in chair making and manufactures seats, sofas, coffee tables, side tables and consoles in their workshop in the French countryside. They work at the highest levels of craftsmanship and know-how and by working with the top gilders, carvers and upholsterers around France they make every project the best of the best. We sat down with the founder, Nicolas Souchet, to find out how they work in both traditional and contemporary methods to create such exceptional pieces.

Nicolas Souchet

We are so happy that you have joined Par Excellence. What are your thoughts on being part of this French design collective and what does it mean to Souchet Inspired Woodwork?

For the past ten years I have been working with Jouffre on projects where they would do the upholstery for my seating and we made wood structure for their seating. They introduced me to Par Excellence and I was immediately drawn to the fact that they work with artisans that have the highest expertise. They have the best straw marquetry artisans, the best decorative painters and so on. I believe strongly in being the best that you can be and working in the highest expertise and that we all have the same attention to details. When I work on projects with Jouffre, we come up with better solutions when we work together. There is a certain synergy that exists that makes one be the best that they can be. I am also very much looking forward to showing my brand in the US and I hope I can work on creating pieces with other Par Excellence artisans such as Atelier de Ricou and Atelier Saint-Jacques.

How did you become interested in woodworking, especially in chair making?

My father was a carpenter and when I was 15, he took me with him to visit the École Boulle, the famous school in Paris that opened in 1886 and trains students in the best of traditional arts and crafts. The school has different specialties such as upholsterer, finisher, metal worker and cabinetmaker, but when I walked into the chairmaker section, I said to my father right away that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 25 years later, I am still as passionate about chair making as I was when I was a teenager. During my 5 years at the École Boulle, besides chair making, I also learned upholstery, carving, gilding and wood turning. When working on projects today I know exactly what needs to be done when gilding and carving are required. I make the chair structure at my workshop, and I then work with a specialist in gilding etc. I am one of the best chair maker, so I want the best gilder, carver etc. I work with 3 gilders with one being a MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France – considered the best craftsmen of France). I also use 20 hand carvers that are located all around France.

Seats in the making, gilding and carving at the workshop

Following on the footsteps of your traditional skills your workshop has created digital and manufacturing processes that allow you to respond to unique requests. Can you please tell us about a project where you incorporated digital technology into your traditional woodworking process.

We recently completed a big project for a king. He wanted 10 chairs in the same design as a chair at the Louvre. They wanted the best details in the chairs so they came to us to recreate them. To hand carve these 10 chairs would take at least one year. I designed a machine where I can scan an object and the machine can do the first carving steps. The hand carver then finishes it by hand. Each chair has a slight variation as there is the “hand of that particular carver”. He adds his touch to the final product so that even though there were 10 chairs they are not exactly the same as if they had been made entirely by a machine. They have the spirit of the carver imbued in them.

With this scanning technology it saves us time for the initial manpower needed. For a new project for example, we create a sample of the chair’s leg which is hand carved. We then scan that and create a sample by machine that is then finished by the hand carver. Our attention to detail is meticulous and precise. We want to deliver the best. By saving time with using this machine we are able to provide good lead times for our clients.

CNC Machines

Please tell us a bit more about your workshop.

We have 20 craftsmen working at our workshop including several apprentices as we believe it is vital to train the next generation. My wife also works with me. She was an upholsterer and we met when we were both training at the École Boulle. She is now the artistic director at the workshop while I oversee the management of the company. I have been a chair maker for over 20 years and I still love my job. I have also found out that I love the management side of the work too. Having great working conditions, happy craftsmen, an efficient work flow it feels like being a conductor for an orchestra and it makes me so happy to see everything come together in a wonderful way.

You have worked with so many outstanding designers. Do you have any dream projects?

Yes, I am so fortunate to work with so many wonderful designers such as Jacques Garcia and on special projects for Christian Liaigre. We have also worked with the yacht designers, Winch Design. We have done custom pieces for hotels and luxury residences. Our projects have taken us from London, Monaco, Switzerland, Australia, to Kiev and Moscow. I don’t have a dream project as I know how lucky I am to work on each project. I give the best of myself for each project and that always makes me happy.

Your workshop is exceptional in that you create both Traditional and Contemporary pieces at the highest level.

At the workshop we work both in Traditional and Contemporary styles. We have a solid base in Traditional woodworking with over 20 years of experience. I like working on Traditional pieces as I am always discovering new things, new forms, new assembly techniques while looking at historical pieces. I am always impressed and inspired by the 18th century designers as they worked with very simple tools and were very imaginative in the way they made new pieces for royalty. The 20th century was wonderful too as the best designers had an academic base.

For our contemporary pieces we use the experience of the traditional work and know-how and adapt it to a contemporary feel. It is very freeing with these designs as we are always searching for new materials and new processes on the machines.

Left photo shows a Traditional design; 3 contemporary pieces designed by Grégory Lacoua © Mario Simon-Lafleur

Please tell us about your new contemporary collection, “Lifflow”.

Interior designers know us for our traditional competency and our mastery of carpentry in seats but they didn’t know that we can do contemporary pieces. I worked on a yacht, created modern chairs for luxury apartments and villas but they were always confidential projects so I couldn’t include them in my portfolio. So, 2 years ago I began to create a collection called “Lifflow”. The name is a contraction of the name of the village where our workshop is located in France, Liffol-Le-Petit, and the word “flow” which indicates that we are moving into the future with movement and momentum. With our first collection we wanted to show our know-how, how we can make contemporary pieces simple but with complex detail. We are combining traditional know-how and innovative production techniques. This collection consists of 3 pieces featuring elegant lines in a resolutely contemporary spirit. The “Imperial” chair is influenced by Asian designs and lends an air of elegance and finesse in a simple but sculptural way. The curved top of the chair is very hard to do with machinery and this design emphasizes the raw materiality of wood in its simplest form. The “Love Blocks” chair is a lounge chair that showcases an ultra-minimalist style. I wanted it to feel like a stone, so it has a mineral aspect to it that also gives it a brutalist feel. We used a Kvadrat fabric designed by the former designer at Dior, Raf Simons and it was upholstered by Jouffre. There is a trompe l’oeil effect seen in the two blocks that seem to be unrelated and the seat is detached from the backrest. The “Twirl” side table has 6 pieces that twist and turn into a playful and organic form. It took 2 hours by machine and 20 hours by hand to create this exceptional detail. The interlacing of the base which is actually very light as it is entirely hollow shows a flexibility that seems unexpected for such a material as wood. It truly highlights the complexity and beauty of the exceptional craftsmanship at Souchet Inspired Woodwork. I wanted this collection to be very detailed oriented and precise while at the same time preserving the exceptional French know-how through the exploration of new technologies. It is a beautiful link between past and present. We also use local wood such as beech, oak and chestnut. The region where we are located has since the 17th century been a historic center of the manufacture of carpentry in seats and we are proud to be carrying on this tradition. This collection was imagined by the designer Gregory Lacoua, a classmate from the École Boulle and recent prizewinner of the “Grand Prix de la création de la ville de Paris in Design”.

The Imperial Chair, The Love Blocks chair and the Twirl Side table – all part of the Lifflow collection designed by Grégory Lacoua
© Mario Simon-Lafleur

Souchet Inspired Woodwork is committed to the manufacture and creation of the highest quality furniture by preserving traditional techniques and know-how as well as projecting these traditional artistic values into the contemporary world. Click here to see their exquisite craftsmanship.


Our new artisan Auberlet et Laurent - Interview with Thierry Lebufnoir

Par Excellence is very pleased to announce that Auberlet et Laurent have joined our collective of French artisans. Founded in 1873, this exceptional workshop creates plaster and resin ornamental decorative work highlighting all the design styles of Louis XV through Art Déco, as well as modern and minimalist styles. They have worked on exquisite projects from French châteaux to palaces in the Middle East and for the first time will bring their know-how to American projects. Their expertise and skilful technique in bespoke restoration, reproduction and manufacture of fibrous plasterwork has made them a renowned leader in their field.

Thierry, you took over as the head of the family business in 1998. Can you explain to us how your father transmitted the art of ornamental plasterwork to you and how you managed to immerse yourself in the Second Empire style?

I had the chance to work with my father who had a great deal of knowledge of styles. I immediately asked myself a lot of questions about styles and architecture and did a lot of research on my own to learn by myself. When you face clients who ask you questions and you don’t know how to answer them, the only way to solve that is to research and learn through books, which I think is very important. Your eye gets sensitized to all this and your intelligence too, so you can sort it out afterwards. I was also lucky enough to work with architects and decorators who had a lot of knowledge. As the work progresses, and through repetition, that’s how you learn by facing certain architectural and decorative problems. It’s true that I was immediately surrounded by competent professionals, and my father helped me a lot in this learning process.

As for the Second Empire, the Napoleon III period is very important for decorative plasterwork. So, you really have to open your eyes, that’s what I always tell the people I work with, you have to look at the facades and the interiors to immerse yourself in this style and understand its subtleties.

How did you manage to take Auberlet et Laurent forward, while keeping what made your company’s reputation?

There was a period for Auberlet et Laurent when we did a lot of construction, which was before my father joined the company. Then he took over and developed the catalog, launching sales of our products.

The turn I took when I arrived was to take over and develop these construction sites, which turned out to be very important because it allowed me to win over a large number of decorators and architects, which enabled us to grow. For me, it was important to work on these sites because we are really in the thick of things, we understand in a much better way the relationships with proportions, volumes, etc., and so we can see the outcome of the project, which you don’t necessarily get when you focus only on a specific design element. The challenge was to develop the installation process while maintaining the company’s reputation in terms of manufacturing and quality of work.

Ornamental plaster in the making at the workshop

You train a lot of apprentices. How are you preparing the succession that is taking place, both in terms of family and apprenticeship regarding your heritage?

Historically, Auberlet et Laurent has always trained journeymen and decorative plasterers. Many of them owe their professional life to my father who trained them. He himself was an apprentice at Auberlet et Laurent when he studied Applied Arts. So, it was a path that Auberlet et Laurent took because training is essential, even more so today than before. The continuity and the longevity of the company is passed through our training because in all sectors, including ours, there is a shortage of manpower.

We have thus taken the step to train people internally because we are not satisfied with external training, neither in quality nor quantity of students. As a result, the company’s longevity depends on training, and so during Covid, with my son Thibaut, we set up our own training center. We also always have immersion periods so that people can get hands-on experience.

How do you work with decorators and architects in general?

I have been lucky enough to work with decorators with whom I have a very good rapport, while always remaining professional. Above all, it’s about relationships, and as a result the decorators and architects are very loyal.

Before, we were good executors and people trusted us because we brought a lot as professionals, but now we are more specialists, we have a real advisory role and therefore the same relationship is no longer there. Today we accompany more than we execute.

Your design office offers 3D modeling of projects for your clients. How have you managed to combine new technologies with traditional know-how?

We’ve always had a design office, ever since my father took over, because we were doing things that others weren’t doing. Before, we were more of a drawing office, we would draw up what our customers wanted, but now we have to be a constant source of ideas, which I really like.

We create 3D plans, perspectives, technical plans, table networks, cornices, ceilings, etc., but it remains a learning curve. Digital and 3D printers allow you to create sculptures, but even in the future, nothing will be done without working by hand. The quality of the rendering is still not the same as something made by hand. 

What do you think about the future of handmade craftwork when our future is becoming more and more machine-made?

I think the mechanized world has been around for a while, the Industrial Revolution having played a big role. However, today we see that people are looking for French know-how and that quality of French handwork. I can tell you that I have many foreign clients who want to rediscover French art, and what it represents. For example, we are currently working on a project in Jeddah, where all the Arabic decorations have been entrusted to us because our client wants to rediscover the spirit and the French quality that comes from this French know-how. For our profession, I am not very worried, even if, once again, I think that we must take the turn of the modern world and become more digital. I am really convinced that there will always be a real need for things made by hand.

How do you differentiate yourself from other specialists in this niche field?

“At Auberlet et Laurent, we focus on quality work and that is our reputation.” — Thierry Lebufnoir

Our clients trust us and understand why our services may be more expensive. It starts with having ideas that others don’t have.

Above all, we are very conscientious and pay attention to details. I also always insist on proportion because we still see too many things that are not harmonious and lack character. I believe that there is a good deal of confidence in knowledge.

We also distinguish ourselves through our catalog. We specialize in two areas of activity: construction sites, with installations; and manufacturing, with catalog and custom references.

You have won over the international market by forging a real reputation. How did you launch your company abroad?

The multilingual adaptation of our website has played an important role in acquiring new customers: it has been developed in English, Chinese, Russian, etc. I remember an Australian customer who ordered plasterwork from us via our website.

Word of mouth also works quite well. Today, we are still known in the world of consultants and demanding clients. They surround themselves with architects and decorators who know us.

What are the major challenges you have had to face, especially with this kind of international projects?

Every day brings a new challenge. When I propose the sketches, you have to get the client to say “this is what I want”. Then, the challenge is to go from the 3D drawing to the real world and especially that the final rendering pleases the client. When I work on a project, my goal is that at the end, the client says “Mr. Lebufnoir, what you did is fantastic!”

There are all sorts of other challenges, such as not being able to travel to the construction sites and creating everything remotely. What is really complicated is to physically transcribe something that you have in your head. For example, we worked on a castle, where we were in charge of creating a library in a room. The client wanted this library to be in the spirit of the one in the castle of Chantilly, but its proportions were all wrong. We started with a pencil sketch, then we moved on to the sculpture stage, and finally to the realization. Our client found the final rendering beautiful, and that’s the daily challenge at Auberlet et Laurent!

If you had to name only one, which project inspired you the most over your career?

Encounters are essential in life, and I met someone who made me evolve in a considerable way, especially concerning ornamentation and artistic aspects. So, if I had to choose only one work site, it would perhaps be the site we realized with this person who was himself an artist. I was lucky enough to meet this man, and there was a strong bond, a real sense of being in it together. We never talk about it enough, but we meet a lot of nice people.

Catalog references

We are so happy that you have joined Par Excellence. What are your thoughts on being part of this French design collective and what does it mean to Auberlet et Laurent?

I feel that there is a real dynamic and a good friendly relationship. I think we can go a long way together. I feel very good about it, and I hope we will have the chance to realize many projects together. We haven’t always been able to do what we wanted to do because we didn’t have the logistics or the infrastructure, which is why we are starting this adventure with Par Excellence today, to support us and give us what we need to access this market full of opportunities.


"What Inspires Me" with Katharine Pooley

After a career that is totally different from the one she pursues today, Katharine Pooley is now known and recognized for her luxurious interior design style. Having become one of London’s most sought-after designers worldwide, notably after being named “British Designer of the Decade”, Katharine now divides her time between her design studio and the realization of multiple projects around the globe. Her numerous awards and accreditations are a testament to her talent and investment in interior design, but Katharine is also very committed and supports many associations. Thanks to her large Instagram community with which she interacts regularly, Katharine invites her followers to discover the behind-the-scenes world of interior design.
Discover the inspirations of this talented British luxury interior designer, how Katharine managed to take her career to a whole new level, how her travel memories influence her projects today.
Thank you to Katharine and her team for taking the time for this interview!

Katharine, I understand that you spent part of your professional career in finance in Asia. Can you tell us about your career path and what led you to interior design? 

Although I was born in Hertfordshire, went to school in Oxfordshire, England, and then predominantly brought up in Bahrain, my family has travelled extensively and that has definitely inspired my global viewpoint. Having spent 14 years working in finance in Hong Kong and Singapore, for Morgan Stanley and Barclays, which I absolutely loved, I returned to England ready for a new business adventure. I had undertaken a handful of large-scale refurbishment projects for my family and friends over the years (including a Castle, ski chalet, Thai coastal retreat and various city homes) and it became clear that this was more than a passing interest and would become a lifelong passion.

Almost two decades later my design studio, working out of Chelsea, London, consists of 47 talented designers and interior architects and I have been named ‘British Designer of the Decade’ which is rather fantastic! The scale of the studio is quite unusual, and this allows me to undertake complex, sophisticated design projects globally for my wonderful clients. We ensure every detail of every project is conceived, designed and installed to the highest level, we offer a complete turn-key service.

You seem to have a traveller’s soul, is that where you find your inspiration? Which city awakens your creativity the most?

Many of my journeys have impacted my interiors and certainly understanding the cultures is a very important part of the design process. I look around my living and workspaces and I see the treasures and photographs that take me back to a wonderful adventure. Each one evokes memories; triggering the sights and smells of that time and it floods my senses. An innate sense of adventure has defined my life and shaped my design philosophy. I have visited more than 190 countries. However, what may come as a surprise is that I love mountaineering and raw adventure over city breaks and have driven a team of dogs on a sled to the north pole, and crossed the Sahara on horseback, all of my experiences feed into an original and adventurous design sensibility. I don’t think there is one city that inspires me the most, if anything it is wide open spaces!

Now that we can travel again, what would be your next inspirational trip?

I can not recommend more highly Sumba Island in Indonesia, known as ‘the Forgotten Island’ it’s absolutely incredible and I would love to go back. I also absolutely loved the Amanpulo in the Philippines, it’s the epitome of a tropical paradise. Usually though I like to go to totally new places, now that the world is reopening I need to get my map out and make a plan!

Kensington House – ©James McDonald

What is your favourite part of your job? What is your creative process when dealing with a new project in general?

Gosh a difficult question! I love all the aspects of this job for diverse reasons. Because we undertake projects worldwide it means I get to travel lots which I love. In terms of project stages; the beginning is always so exciting, forging a new relationship with the client and introducing them to some wonderful finishes and details they have not seen before, I love those early days. But the end of the project is a beautiful time too, some of our projects take many years and are a very personal journey for the client, its an honor to then show them the final result and is always a very emotional moment!

Nothing Hill Project – ©James McDonald

How do you bring your personal touch to the projects you work on?

I like to think that my interior style is intelligent, luxurious and timelessly elegant. Originality is critically important to me personally and I like to introduce unique detailing and personal touches to every project. I do not merely stick to a specific style, as I believe that creating a home is an intimate process that requires trust, listening to individuals and delivering a clients’ vision to make their “dreams come true”. Every KP project combines unique visual flair, unusual finishes, the best of British craftsmanship and beautiful luxurious home accessories and art.

Mayfair Home – ©Andrew Beasley

You interact a lot with your large community on Instagram. What is your approach to social networks and to what extent are they a professional tool for you?

I love Instagram and Pinterest in particular, if used in a positive and inclusive way, social media can be incredibly inspiring and a great way to foster relationships worldwide. I love to share my design insights, trend updates, lifestyle and family snapshots as it builds a really vivid picture of who I am and what inspires me.

Your studio also features the largest library of fabrics and finishes in London, how do you source the artisans you work with?

I am incredibly lucky, our library is so large and wide ranging and all overseen by our wonderfully organised librarian Julian. Over the years I have built very close relationships with hundreds of suppliers, this network of creative individuals, artists, artisans and makers ensures we have an incredible range of fabrics and finishes for our clients. My suppliers are very important to me, their beautiful designs are at the heart of everything I create and I make time to treasure and nurture these important relationships.

You have a shop in London with a wide range of furniture, lighting and home accessories. Where do you find your sources of inspiration for collectible design?

Having lived in Asia, the Middle East and throughout Europe I have been able to discover and immerse myself in many parts of the world. My time in Asia led me into starting my first interiors boutique in Chelsea, (Katharine’s boutique on Walton Street is famously a treasure trove of beautiful accessories) which sells rare and interesting products. These exotic and rare treasures mix delightfully with the best of European craftsmanship and English design. It makes for an eclectic, unusual and very luxurious combination!

What are the know-hows that you are particularly fond of at the moment?

Textures are everything; Think rich luxurious finishes that are cozy, inviting and beg to be touched. I love combining eglomise mirror with straw marquetry, shagreen, soft kid-skin leather, cashmere and silk or grass cloth wallpapers. The colours can be peaceful, calm and tonal, the richness of texture will give a refined and luxurious feel.

Do you know our Par Excellence artisans? Among them, is there a particular know-how that is close to your heart?

I have great respect for the work of the Par Excellence artisans, in particular I find the work of Ateliers Saint Jacques quite incredible. The stone staircase they created for Dior in Paris perfectly captures the classical timeless elegance of that iconic brand. The use of contrasting finishes and textures is exquisite. The Alvar dining table is to my mind a perfect piece, deceptively simple, sculptural and unforgettably beautiful, I adore it. This is the fabulous range of the Par Excellence stable of artisans, from the architectural to the smaller interior and furniture details, everything is immaculately considered and created.

What is next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?

It’s a very busy year, during the Covid period some wonderful new projects have come my way which has been incredibly fortunate, it helps I think that we have such an international presence. We have some incredible developments and private homes currently being designed and installed in the English countryside, London, Hong Kong, New York, Monaco, London and Switzerland (so the next few months will be very busy!) A favourite would be an incredible Chateau in the South of France where Grace Kelly and Cary Grant were once filmed by Alfred Hitchcock for the Hollywood classic ‘To Catch a Thief’, it has quite the most incredible architecture and gardens.


Volevatch - A Leader in French Bathroom Fixtures

Translated from a French article by Signatures Singulières

A leading purveyor of luxury bathroom fixtures, Volevatch is a company that creates exceptional pieces. This French manufacturer designs jewel-like faucets through which water magnificently flows.

Above: Serge Volevatch – On the right: Versailles collection

Chasing at the workshop of the manufacture.
Piet collection. Charles Zana project

The signature of French bathroom fixtures

Volevatch artisanal fixtures beautifully highlight the water flowing in the bathroom or kitchen. Founded in 1975 by Serge Volevatch, a craftsman and restorer, this French manufacturer uses ancestral know-how for its faucets. Its creations can be found in prestigious heritage sites as well as in luxury private residences. The firm is also listed in France’s Inventaire des Métiers des Arts Rares, the national inventory of rare craftsmanship. This recognition is part of the UNESCO’s cultural heritage protection program. Beyond their functionality, Volevatch fixtures are true jewels that tell the story of different design styles such as Art Deco. The company is often inspired by the founder’s collection of antique faucets. The history and the exemplary nature of this firm caught the attention of Signatures Singulières Magazine.

Bistrot collection, nickel finish.
Héritage collection. Bronze finish.

Unique contemporary pieces

Volevatch is one of the last French luxury faucet manufacturers to continue the heritage of excellence. In addition to restoring old faucets, Serge Volevatch has also developed his own creations. His first collection, “Bistrot”, has become iconic. Today, more than 40 craftsmen apply the traditional art of creating unique pieces in the factory. Founders, welders, assemblers, polishers, chiselers and engravers shape and sculpt solid lead-free brass, covered with precious finishes. This passion for beauty is also adapted to modern interpretations. The know-how established by Serge Volevatch is complemented by the latest generation of digital production tools assisting today’s artisans of the firm. Nevertheless, these masters of waterworks continue to perpetuate, with talent and know-how, the secrets of the art of bathing under the eye of the son of the founder, Igor Volevatch. More than a history of craftsmanship, the manufacture is also a beautiful family story!

Bistrot collection, nickel finish.
Bistrot collection, copper finish.

Unequalled know-how envied throughout the world

Since its creation, Volevatch has forged exceptional ties with its prestigious clients. Interior designers, architects and demanding aesthetes have all called upon the factory because of its reputation for excellence. Rudolf Nureyev was one of these discerning clients who turned to Serge Volevatch to design the fittings for his bathroom. Since then, each collection presented has continually enchanted lovers of French decorative arts. The company manufactures its own collections for renowned architects on a confidential basis. The company also designs true works of art such as sculptural showers. Finally, this famous manufacturer designs complete bathroom solutions such as sublime marble basins. Lovers of unique pieces can also acquire custom-made creations in an infinite variety of possibilities and luxurious materials. As highlighted in Signatures Singulières Magazine, Volevatch offers its singular vision of faucets not only in France but worldwide.

Piero Manara project. © Didier Delmas.
Bath/shower faucet, Heritage collection. Light bronze medallion finish.
Luxurious project signed Pierre Paradis. 24 carat gold finish.
The Volevatch family with impressions of the workshop

108, rue du Cherche-Midi
75006 Paris
Tél. : +33 (0)1 42 22 42 55


"What Inspires Me" with Victoria-Maria Geyer

Born in Germany but now based in Brussels, Victoria-Maria Geyer knew from a young age that she wanted to be an interior designer and architect. As a little girl she always moved her bedroom furniture around, which used to drive her mom crazy. She later started working as an apprentice in a small interior design company in Brussels, but she knew that she wanted to create her own interior design firm, so in 2008 she started Victoria-Maria Interior Design. It began very small as she was only working on decoration and interior design at first. The firm quickly expanded and today they are also working on everything from high-end interior architectural projects to full renovations. Fearless in mixing and matching styles and periods, Victoria-Maria has a style all her own that clients seek out for its originality and eclecticism.

We were thrilled to speak with Victoria-Maria to hear about what inspires her.

You are known for your eclectic style and in the way you mix styles and periods. How do you combine this with the expectations of your clients?

My clients come to me as they know I will bring originality to their project. I create around the pieces of furniture that my clients and I fall in love with. The beauty is in the item and in the furniture itself. If the piece of furniture inspires me, I put it in the project and I will find something that works around it. I am not afraid of mixing periods. Finding a way to incorporate and highlight in a contemporary project an antique piece of furniture that belongs to my clients is exactly what I find very interesting and exciting about my job. The idea is always to create something very personal for the client, something unique. I feel that an interior has personality when it is not mainstream, when you don’t follow one specific trend, one specific way of doing. That is why I think it is very important to have a thorough knowledge of furniture history and to be able to work with different periods and beautifully mix and match different styles and epochs.

Vicky project

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from quiet, mundane and random things. I can see something in a magazine, not specifically a design magazine, any kind of book or picture that I see. Recently, I went to a perfume shop, and I saw a very beautiful perfume bottle. It immediately inspired me to design a small side table. When I see something and it immediately strikes me, I instantly know that it is a good thing for me to use in this or that project.

What would be your best decoration advice?

My best advice would be not to be afraid. Very often my clients are afraid of doing too much, or of getting tired of a color or of a pattern. They would usually choose to tone it down and to go for something lighter, less present.

Diane project

What exciting new artisans/interior design items have you recently discovered?

For the moment I am very into Brazilian design. It is not new, but I am very interested in it. I also like Portuguese design from the beginning of this century and the end of the 20th century that is found in the United States. For example, I love the Portuguese and Spanish influences that you can find in Los Angeles.

How important is craftsmanship to you and how do you integrate it into your creative process?

Since we work on high-end projects, craftsmanship is of course extremely important to me and my design firm. We work with fantastic craftsmen who really master their art and their work.

I think Par Excellence is a fantastic organization and the way you promote your artisans and craftsmanship the way you do is really a necessity these days.

Can you please describe your favorite interior design project?

My favorite project is a post-modern house where we only did organic shapes, so nothing has an edge. Everything is round from the furniture to the carpets and there is a super large window. It is a very 70s inspired interior with warm tones. I am excited to have this project photographed very soon.

What is next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects?

We have a lot of wonderful upcoming projects. What I am most excited about is that we will soon be launching our own online shop where we will be selling our home design furniture. We have 10 prototypes at the moment.

Discover all of Victoria-Maria’s projects on her Instagram account, where she also shares many behind the scenes photos and videos, @v_i_c_t_o_r_i_a_m_a_r_i_a, and on her website (link here)

Valentine project


Exhibitions in New York, Paris, London you do not want to miss in June

With international borders slowly opening up, we are eager to start visiting museums and art galleries again. We have compiled a list of our favorite exhibitions in the three leading art capitals in the world – New York, Paris and London.

New York City

Modern Look: Photography and the American Magazine

The Jewish Museum, through July 11, 2021

This beautiful exhibition includes 150 works that explore how photography, graphic design, and popular magazines converged to transform American visual culture from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. These photographs, layouts and cover designs tell the story of the unmistakable aesthetic made popular by such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and photographers such as Irving Penn, Gordon Parks and Lillian Bassman.

Lillian Bassman, A Report to Skeptics, Suzy Parker, April 1952, Harper's Bazaar. Gelatin silver print. Collection of Eric and Lizzie Himmel, New York. © Estate of Lillian Bassman.
The Jewish Museum

Cézanne Drawing

MoMA, through September 25, 2021

The French artist Cézanne was best known as a painter, but he actually produced his most radically original works on paper. This exhibition brings together more than 250 rarely shown works in pencil and mesmerizing watercolor made throughout his career. Seen all together, along with several of his important paintings, these works on paper reveal how drawing shaped his transformative modern vision.

Image taken from MoMA website
MoMA, New York

Centre Pompidou x Jersey City

Breaking news… The Centre Pompidou just announced that they will open an outpost in Jersey City, NJ in 2024. The Pompidou will plan on showing work from its vast art collection while its original location in Paris undergoes a years-long restoration project. This new museum will be known as Centre Pompidou x Jersey City and will also organize talks, performances, screenings and more. Watch this space…

A rendering of Centre Pompidou x Jersey City. COURTESY OMA


Bourse de Commerce

The eagerly awaited opening of the newest museum in Paris was finally realized on May 20th when the Bourse de Commerce opened its doors. The historic 18th century structure, which was the former stock exchange building, was transformed by the renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. This museum was the brainchild of the French businessman and art collector Francois Pinault to showcase his vast art holdings known as the Pinault Collection. This contemporary art museum will showcase pieces from the Pinault Collection that includes over 10,000 works that offer a perspective on the art from 1960’s to present time. There is also a spectacular fresco restoration as well as artworks that have been specifically commissioned for the space.  One of the exhibitions is titled “In-Situ Works” (until Dec 31, 2021). Several artists created site-specific works inside and outside the museum that creates an intriguing dialogue between the architecture and the art it is exhibiting.

Bourse de Commerce
Bourse de Commerce, Paris

JR’s site-specific street art

JR is a French photographer and street artist. He started posting large black and white images printed on paper in the streets of Paris and now does monumental installations in public locations around the world. JR’s latest large-scale urban artwork is back where he started, in Paris. His large-scale photographs are collaged together revealing a breathtaking “split earth” beneath the Eiffel Tower. It is a head spinning installation that optically distorts reality giving the viewer a sense of a magical illusion. They can then create their own photograph of themselves peering over the cliffs or jumping across the abyss. It also has a dazzling effect even after a rainstorm. Located at Esplanade des droits de l’homme (Place du Trocadero) and will be taken down around June 20, 2021.

JR Artwork in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Instagram: @jr

Mosaic street art by Ememem 

Another French artist is making his mark on the streets of Paris and beyond. Ememem, a Lyonnais artist is turning cracked pavements into art. He finds potholes and sidewalk cracks and fills them in with mosaics a process he calls “flacking” (which is a play on the French word “flaque” for puddle), as it feels like these mosaics fill the cracks and holes as organically as rainwater would. The colored glass mosaics create textures, colors and patterns that turn bleak, broken down areas into a beautiful urban landscape. He has left his mark in such cities as Lyon, Paris, Barcelona and Turin. He is currently part of a group exhibition, “Ceramics Now”, at the Galerie Italienne in Paris through July 17, 2021.

Follow him on Instagram @ememem.flacking or better yet, keep your eyes peeled to your local streets. Who knows where the next one will pop up!

"Bleu de Lyon", Ememem
Galerie Italienne

The Clearing Grand Ménage

The art gallery, Clearing Gallery, has taken over an empty hôtel particular that dates from around 1728. This group show titled “Grand Ménage” is in a mansion that has been away from the public eye and uninhabited for the past 10 years.  Paintings and sculptures have been placed in each room and on each floor in a slightly haunting exhibition. While one will visit for the art exhibit, the abandoned mansion itself is also intriguing to view as you can see the original architecture, colors and wallpapers now in their decaying state. Located at 72 Rue de l’Université, Tues – Sat 10am-7pm and it will close on June 20, 2021.

The Clearing Grand Ménage Gallery Exhibit
The Clearing Grand Ménage


Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life

The Design Museum, June 19 – September 5, 2021

After a blockbuster debut exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in 2019/20 this outstanding show is opening at the Design Museum in London. They have recreated some of her most famous interiors and have included many of her iconic furniture along with sketches, photographs, scrapbooks and prototypes. It is fascinating to see her creative process and this show gives her her rightful place in design history. This iconic French designer helped define the modern interior as her belief was that good design is for everyone.

Charlotte Perriand on the chaise longue basculante B306, 1929, © ADAGP Photo taken from the Design Musem website
Design Museum

JR: Eye to the World

Pace Gallery, through July 3, 2021

This exhibition brings together photographs from several bodies of JR’s work showcasing his unique view of humanity seen through his camera lens.

Note: this Pace Gallery exhibition coincides with the largest solo museum show to date at Saatchi Gallery

"JR: Eye to the World" at Pace Gallery
Pace Gallery, London

JR: Chronicles

Saatchi Gallery, through October 3, 2021

This exhibition features JR’s most iconic works from the past 15 years. This show first opened at The Brooklyn Museum in NYC in 2019 and was a blockbuster exhibition.

"JR: Chronicles" at the Saatchi Gallery
Saatchi Gallery


"What Inspires Me" with Gaëlle Hintzy-Marcel

Many of us had to pivot in different ways during the pandemic but for New York-based French sculptor, Gaëlle Hintzy-Marcel, when she found out that the atelier where she had been working for almost 4 years would be closed for an unspecified period, she quickly had to change her way of working so that she could continue to sculpt out of her home. While she used to work mainly in bronze, pewter became her new medium along with resin, plaster and wood, as these allowed her to keep her hands involved throughout the entire process of creating her work. Strangely, the lockdown opened up new perspectives for Gaëlle, as she had always felt dispossessed of her work when a foundry was casting her bronze pieces.

Change is not new for Gaëlle. For the past 25 years, her sculptures have been influenced by the slightly nomadic life she has led. Born and raised in France, Gaëlle was introduced to working with her hands by her father, as she was helping him with odds and ends around the house. Thanks to him, she already felt comfortable with tools.

While working in Paris, she modeled in clay and plaster. She then lived for several years in Indonesia where she was introduced to bronze and developed her skills and honed her techniques. Her path soon took her to Russia where she concentrated on figurative work which plays so prominently a role in Russian culture.

But it was when she moved to Mumbai, India and, ironically, could not find an atelier to work in, she instead spent time in the practice of yoga which itself would open her up to new ways of expression in her artwork. These different cultures and encounters she made while abroad can be seen in her work both technically and philosophically.

As Gaëlle once said, “Being exposed to such different cultures, I had to adjust, understand, rebel, accept and love all of them! Each country gave me new eyes on life and the world, a new understanding of where I lived and who I was. And, you can read these influences in all of my work.”

Her sculptures are mostly figurative, and she uses positions and body lines to convey certain emotions. This is where the mind/body practice seen in yoga comes to play in her inspiration. 

Working on a plaster and paper mix on the sculpture “Leapfrogging”

On a bright Spring day, I headed to Gaëlle’s home atelier on the Upper West Side. I was eager to see the sculptures that she was working on for her upcoming exhibition at Par Excellence and to hear more about what inspires her.

When and how did you discover sculpture?

I was inspired by a university friend who I stumbled upon sculpting one day which then led me to discover a sculpture store in my Parisian neighborhood. This was 25 years ago, and I am still inspired by sculpting every day. In the beginning, I did 2 years of clay modeling on my own before joining a sculpting atelier in Paris in order to learn the fundamentals.

I read that you are inspired by contemporary dance and that a gesture, a position of the body expresses a feeling that you try to capture in your sculptures. Can you please speak more about this?

Positions of the body are a different alphabet to communicate. Each time I see a dance show, I am inspired by a new position to express a certain feeling in my work. If you see a shoulder higher and you think, “so what?”, shoulders open and you read confidence, arms to the sky and you feel gratitude, feet planted firmly to the ground you get a sense of security, shoulders folding inwards you get a sense of humility. Each new variation of the body opens our sight to a new feeling. The position of the body speaks without any words spoken.This interaction between body and mind fascinates me and I use these positions as a tool to communicate through my sculptures. This is why I titled my new exhibition at Par Excellence, “Lignes de Vie” (Lines of Life) as the line of the body is always showing us something.

Sculptures by Gaëlle

Where do you find inspiration?

I am inspired by every piece of art I am enjoying, by yoga, by modern dance, and by all sorts of objects such as a stone, a piece of wood, a piece of steel.

“Incertitude and white stone” was inspired by a dance performance that included white stones

Which city awakens your creativity the most?

New York City.


What do you do when you are stuck on a project and need inspiration?

I take a pause, I create a distance with time. If possible, I put my project in my living room in order to live with it. If this is not possible, I take a photo of it…and I write down in my phone anything that comes to my mind…otherwise, I go and see art in a museum, this always gives me some new inspiration.


Where is the place that you can’t wait to get back to?


Where is the first place you want to travel to after the pandemic is over?

The Great Wall of China but I know I will not go anytime soon…


What is your favorite city or place in the world?

Bali. For peace and surfing, authenticity and kindness, smiles and Frangipani flowers!


Favorite gallery/museum?

In NYC, The Met, MoMA and Fotografiska.
In Paris, all of the galleries around Rue de Seine in the 6th arrondissement, the streets, the squares, all the feelings around there inspire me a lot.

Fotografiska Museum in NYC

At your studio do you work in silence, listen to music or a podcast?

I mostly work in silence but there is no silence…I like to hear the real world around me.  When I use electric tools, I sometimes like to cover the noise with music.


What advice would you have liked to receive at the beginning of your career?

Trust your instincts.


Do you have a favorite quote?

“The more I know, the more I realize I do not know”, from Aristotle.


What is something that people don’t know about you / would be surprised to find out about you?

I love science fiction and comic books:  Enki Bilal, Jodorowsky, Moebius, Jean-Claude Meziere.


Did you discover any new artists recently?

Tawny Chatmon is a photography-based artist that I discovered at Fotografiska. I like that she uses photography as a first layer and adds collages and paint to the surface which gives her portraits a powerful emotion.

God's Gift by Tawny Chatmon from her "Inheritance" exhibition at Fotografiska

Julie Mehretu is a great artist that I discovered at The Whitney Museum. She creates impressively gigantic paintings with colors, lines and shapes. Her work is mostly abstract, but she sometimes adds some figurative parts as a canvas for abstraction.


Who are your favorite sculptors?

Alexander Calder, for his ingenuity.

Alexander Calder, “Spider”, 1939 Taken from MoMA’s website

Auguste Rodin, for the details of the human body.
Subodh Gupta, for the use of everyday life objects in his sculptures.
Louise Bourgeois, for the expression of her subconscious as a woman.


What podcast are you listening to?

“Demain n’attend pas” by Delphine Darmon (dynamic discussions with inspiring people acting in various fields to change the world).

“Les PassionariArts” by Adeline Couberes (giving a voice to women, inspiring and engaged in the art world).


What are your current favorite books?

L’Anomalie by Herve Le Tellier (there is a bit of science fiction, humor and philosophy in it which resonates with me so much).
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (pure nature, pure beauty, pure sensitivity).

What is your favorite room in your house?

My terrace where I can hear the birds sing.


What is something new you learned, or a project you started at home during the pandemic?

I started working with plaster mixed with paper as it is less messy to work this way at home.


What is an object that you would never part with?

My glasses.


Springtime in Paris or Autumn in NYC?



This year I want to…

Travel more and to keep on working on collaborative projects with other artists.

Gaëlle’s solo exhibition, “Lignes de Vie” (Lines of Life) will be on view June 11-19th, 2021 at our showroom at 344 Bowery. It will be open to the public by appointment only. Schedule an appointment at Eventbrite:


For private viewings, please email

You can see more of Gaëlle’s work at and on Instagram @gaellehintzysculpture.


Marie Grillo, a poetic focus on stained glass

After training at Olivier de Serres and with other glass artists around France, such as the Ateliers Saint Didier and Saint Georges, Marie Grillo set up her workshop “La couleur du verre” (The color of glass) in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. She designs and manufactures stained glass and collaborates with interior designers.

The Par Excellence team stopped by her workshop to talk with her about her relationship with this art.

When Marie Grillo began her studies as a craftsman, she chose this discipline because of the similarities with her classical dancer education, in the search for the perfect gesture and in the relationship with light. “Like the dancer on stage, the stained glass window needs light to exist”, she explains.

Marie Grillo in her workshop with a floral piece of art ©Paul Grillo

Marie Grillo speaks passionately about the nobility of handmade glass: she believes that working with this material is getting closer to the past, creating a relation with time which contrasts with the fast-paced nature of our current society.

Working this art requires calmness, concentration and a certain precision that puts her into a deep meditation.

“The creation of a stained glass window is complex, because you have to take into account the subtle play of the light that it reflects, and that varies according to the glasses, its colors, its relief or its nature, whether painted, translucent or sandblasted. This interplay also changes depending on the type of light the glass reflects: direct, grazing or artificial, and all of which varies over the course of a day,” she explains.

Creating a stained glass window is about creating a work taking all of these elements into account.

Marie Grillo’s creations respond to the place, and the given function of the stained glass. The best-known application is window ornamentation or the window coverings, that illustrate the nobility of a place. But it is also used to hide or separate parts of a room, like a veil that lets light through.

For example, she has done it for a restaurant to separate the bar from the dining area. In a more unusual way, it can be found as a decorative element for furniture.

Marie Grillo particularly likes creations that offer a large surface of expression, which she intends to develop in her new workshop.

Follow Marie Grillo at @lacouleurduverre. For any information on her artworks, reach out at


"What Inspires Me" with Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

After growing up in Brittany and training in metal sculpture, and then continuing his professional training in Paris, designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance is now pursuing his path in Portugal, while also running the Paris studio. He began his career as a designer in 2000 and quickly met with dazzling success thanks to his emblematic achievements such as the design of the restaurant, Sketch, in London. In 2018, he moved to Lisbon to open his Made in Situ gallery and explore the richness of a “place marked by a strong identity”.

Par Excellence had the opportunity to interview this renowned designer. Noé opens up to us about the reasons that pushed him to move away from the French capital, gives us his vision of Portuguese craftsmanship and lets us discover some pieces of his new collection.

Noé, before joining the Arts Décoratifs school in Paris, you trained as a metal sculptor. What did this initial training bring you? Can you tell us more about your path, your career?

My creative process is often based on working with my hands. It is sometimes by directly throwing myself into working on a model that the inspiration materializes.
In my view, you are in the same process whether you are sketching or drawing. I understand it as artisanal work; there is, for me, this idea of working with a tool to create.
Compared to an industrial design profile, it seems to me that a visual artist’s eye is liberating in the creative process; in the sense that I approach projects in an abstract way or, by contrast, very instinctively, directly through the material.
This manual work also extends later into the design process; I make many decisions based on prototypes or sections with my teams and partners.

From my training in sculpture, I like having contact with the material and the textures, the perpetual questioning of the way to build and make each thing.
I like going to workshops, to interact with craftsmen. Compared to other designers, I am perhaps less apprehensive about approaching manual skills. I don’t hesitate to go into the manufacturing techniques, to ask questions to bring quick answers. Through this direct link, in a way, we together erase the lines between conception and realization.

Since 2018, you have been based in Lisbon and are sharing your time on projects between France and Portugal, why this departure? Does your move to Portugal mark a new period in your career?

Indeed, I moved to Lisbon in the summer of 2018. Choosing a new country means leaving your comfort zone, looking and perceiving things differently. I grew up in Brittany. So, while I was living in Paris, I was looking for a place to breathe and see the horizon. It was a time in my life when I really needed space and a place with a strong identity. These elements are necessary and inspiring for my work. In Portugal, the ocean/land relationship offers this opportunity.
I have worked a lot in my life, sharing time with artisans. I also find the industry fascinating, the whole process that involves the know-how. I wanted to find a place where design was an integral part of the economic activity. Portugal is a country in flux, in transition, rooted in heritage but currently on the move and this dynamic is one of its assets. It seems to me to be one of the only countries that always returns to its roots. Certain traditions are still very present. The country remains attached to a certain form of “simplicity” which, in my opinion, is essential. 

“Choosing Portugal means taking a new approach – getting physically close to the work of the artisans, to their workshops.” – Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

It’s exciting to be a stranger in a new country, it gives you energy and momentum. This feeling allowed my project to come to life, with great moments of excitement and exploration, like the beginning of a love story. In Portugal, I launched a design “laboratory” called MADE IN SITU. In parallel, I continue to run the Paris studio. It is more and more dedicated to high-end and collectible design furniture. We are developing custom pieces for international private clients and are preparing the release of a furniture collection for next year. We continue our fruitful collaborations with major international players such as Bernhardt Design, Saint Louis, Revol, La Manufacture and Ligne Roset. It’s all about the people and the exceptional encounters I make along the way.

Made In Situ Gallery in Lisbon

In the course of your life, you have lived in Brittany, in Paris, and now in Portugal. We understand that nature and travel are a great source of inspiration. How do these inspirations translate into your design and choice of materials?

I have fond memories of a childhood spent far from the city, by the sea, which I regularly reactivate in my projects.
Without imitating it, I am inspired by nature, its universality, the mysteries it contains, and the fascination it brings. The flexible line of an armrest, the organization of a space, the softness of a seat, the ramification of a structure, are all elements that allow me to express this organic and sensitive link between the body and the environment.

Manta Desk ©Riccardo Bianchi

Is there a different approach to craftsmanship between France and Portugal?

When I started exploring the know-how in Portugal, I came to a brutal conclusion: craftsmanship is valued more highly in France than in Portugal where it suffers from a cruel and unfair lack of recognition. It was considered for years as a lesser art. The most immediate consequence was that few young people wanted to take over the workshops and during the last decades, expertise disappeared when the craftsmen retired from their businesses. But things are changing very quickly at the moment, and this is a very good thing.
On our scale, with the MADE IN SITU collections, we participate in highlighting certain trades, vernacular materials and people. We are quite far from French-style excellence, but we create direct relationships with people, with the material, and try to tell through the pieces the stories anchored in their heritage.

Crafting of the BARRO NEGRO Collection

In 2020, you opened a gallery in Lisbon, called Made In Situ. Can you tell us about this great project? Which artisans do you collaborate with on this project?

After my first year in Portugal, I initiated the MADE IN SITU project. It is about exploring Portugal through crafts, human encounters and vernacular materials. Last September, MADE IN SITU unveiled its first collection in our Lisbon gallery: BARRO NEGRO. We created an immersive installation with sound, and a film, to magnify a series of objects made of black ceramic. It was very moving because it was a personal project that I had been carrying around for a long time and that finally saw the light of day. The collections are the result of our investigations and long-term collaborations with Portuguese artisans. We are now preparing the release of our second collection, BURNT CORK, a series of sculptural furniture, carved in blocks of cork, which will be on display from May 20 in Lisbon. 


 BARRO NEGRO, first collection of the Made in Situ Gallery

You put a lot of importance on craftsmanship, how do you interact with artisans and to what extent do you integrate them into your creative process? Is the starting point the material, the technique, an encounter, a drawing?

Over time, I have realized that the ideal project is actually quite simple on paper. It is a project where all the protagonists speak with one voice. A client who trusts you, partners who understand you, and a design that is in line with its context… From this equation, honest and often obvious projects are born.

I approach creation through its context, no project should be dissociated from it. It is this context that feeds my inspiration. So, for the partner craftsmen, the meeting is the starting point. I like it when the first exchanges are fluid, when the artisans teach me things, when they are open to going beyond their habits, to explore new techniques, to propose new solutions, in the service of design.

You have collaborated with several artisans from the Par Excellence collective, Ozone, the Manufacture de Tapis de Bourgogne, Jouffre and the Ateliers Saint-Jacques.
What common quality do you appreciate in these artisans? Can you tell us more about your collaborations with each of them?

We can indeed identify common traits between the professionals of the PAR EXCELLENCE collective with whom I have had the chance to work.
Clearly, the standards are very high and they are partners capable of a strong work commitment.

“With our interlocutors, we feel that each one is full of the same passion for his job. In the daily relationship, they are all experts, eager to learn new things, who show a desire to progress, and an ability to overcome obstacles at each stage of the development or manufacture of the pieces.”

Especially for the past 3 years, we have been working on many projects with the collective. It’s impossible to honor everyone!

The first example that comes to mind concerns Ateliers Saint-Jacques and their work on an exceptional desk, an extremely sculptural, not to say very complex piece that we delivered abroad in 2020. On the one hand, I was sensitive to their appetite for dialogue on design from the very first exchanges. It was like fuel. We also appreciated the way the wood and stone workshops collaborated throughout the project; their great technical knowledge but also their openness or perhaps their humility, they know how to question their knowledge and propose tailored solutions. On the other hand, I want to emphasize the commitment and personal engagement of the teams: they really gave everything to complete the manufacturing in time, always with great professionalism and they showed great nimbleness when it came to installing the office on site in record time. Well done!

I would also like to mention a past collaboration with the teams at Ateliers Jouffre for a custom seating package in 2019-2020. With my team, we benefited from their expertise in guiding and monitoring the project from start to finish. It was focused and ahead of time; the work provided was very thorough at each stage on the pieces while the timing was very tight. This exceptional sense of service was very reassuring for us and the clients. It enhanced the technical work of developing and executing the perfect furniture. A form of elegance that suits the type of project and client that we accompany.

Discover the current and upcoming projects of Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance:

  • Educational direction of the Fondation d’Entreprise Hermès, the 5th edition of the Académie des savoir-faire, vintage 2021, dedicated to glass and crystal    
  • May 20, 2021: launch of the Burnt Cork collection, Made In Situ Gallery, Lisbon
  • May 2021: Launch of furniture for La Manufacture (armchair, coffee table)
  • Summer 2021 : Creation of glass coffee tables with the InGalleria gallery, Punta Conterie, Venice
  • Collaboration on a collection of bronze pieces with Maison Intègre
  • Development of the publishing house Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance Editions which will be launched in the first half of 2022

Follow Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance at @noeduchaufourlawrance. For any information on his design, reach out at