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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Has there been a project that has challenged you?

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

Please tell us more about your workshop?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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