Art and Crafts : hands of gold

There is no end to the inventiveness of craftspeople. Whether they develop their own techniques or combine ancient and modern processes, they reinvent their craft. Some do so in conjunction with designers, architects, interior decorators or luxury brands, their privileged partners. In some cases, they wear two hats, that of designer and manufacturer. Artists cum craftspeople, they come up with a shiny new aesthetic language.

Traduction | Céline Nickmans
4 minutes
VILLAS Decoration métiers d'art 114
© Lolita screen, created by Humbert and Poyet, The Invisible Collection Immersion bleue, collaboration with Jongkim design studio for Samsung

1. ATELIER DU MUR : fresco artist and muralist

Free expression linking the emotion of the gesture to that of living nature.

She gave up oil painting to turn her sights to watercolours. Solène Eloy, a graduate of the ENSAMAA Olivier de Serres school of art and design, was attracted by the Fresco and Mosaic workshop. She went on to further indulge her passion for fresco painting and to develop a unique style, before creating l’Atelier du Mur in 2010, combining traditional techniques and contemporary graphics. Influenced by her travels in Japan, along with her team (up to 7 people on the same project), she creates modern decorations tailored in keeping with the site, its activities, its origin. Her hallmark style is expressed by her quest for textures, sometimes strong, sometimes fine, but always elegant: copper leaf decoration, brass lines on alcantara, copper scales and bronze, pale green and white gold texture, combed and patinated coatings applied to sections of walls, wall panels, cupboard doors or architectural elements. Solène Eloy also creates handmade wallpapers, with inlaid metallic leaves that are hand-printed on a golden background, evoking precious, liquid or mineral textures. Inspired by Italian Renaissance frescoes or Japanese screens, the wallpapers, which go by the evocative names Les Dorés or Les Paysages Singuliers, have become her second hallmark.

VILLAS Decoration métiers d'art 114

Gaëlle Le Boulicaut | Les Paysages Singuliers, Remous design

2. ARCA : cabinetmaker of the future

The magic of wood in motion, swelling and deflating, like a new kinetic art.

ARCA is a workshop that designs, experiments and innovates with wood and that is best known for one of its astonishing inventions: Airwood® , the inflatable wood technique, which took 10 years to develop. Panels of veneered wood, with a chiselled facing of wood, plastic, leather, ceramic or cork are glued to an elastic membrane offering reversible relief patterns. Their surface varies thanks to automatic or manual pneumatic equipment that controls air injections and extractions. For the Woodwood © process, derived from inflatable wood, the ARCA workshop won the Liliane Bettencourt Foundation prize in 2017. Its creator, Steven Leprizé, a material explorer and former student of the Ecole Boulle, bends, inflates and tames wood, revealing a hitherto unseen aesthetic. Bois Larmé© , reinforced with metals and forming tears, after sanding, combines a veneer of fine essence and a non-ferrous sheet of aluminium, brass, bronze or copper. It can be teamed up with thermoformable C° Wood© , combining curves and counter-curves to create arched works. The Zirv process, for its part, makes it possible to create false inlays by means of a drilling technique inspired by Georges Vriz. When it comes to wood, today, nothing seems to be impossible!

VILLAS Decoration métiers d'art 114

RC Foundation Marc-Antoine Mouterde | Saucitronc in Airwood©, representing the cut of a tree and the rings of the wood

3. ATELIERS BERGER : muralists and materialists

Vibrant interior landscapes made using tools that further extend ample gestures.

Martin and Ariane Berger, supported by a team of a dozen or so specialists, work in synergy to develop a repertoire of raw and sophisticated materials based on earth, sand, lime, fragments of fabric and paper, as well as pigments. In their universe, nothing is smooth. Light, emotion, relief: those are the three words that best evoke their textures, which come to life thanks to the precise gestures and custom tools they make themselves to engrave, scratch or sculpt the material. The spectrum of their materials is broken down according to 3 universes of inspiration. The world of Horizon is expressed through lines and strokes, with optical illusion games. The world of Odyssée is inspired by the marine world, from the foam to the waves, but also by graphical landscapes, fields swept by the wind, the strata of a mountain range or the striations on a shell. Origin’s influences evoke earth and prints, a raw and sophisticated spirit made up of skin textures. They wield a unique know-how and expertise in the field of paper and its entirely handmade marquetry, raised to the level of an XXL work of art. Gaïa, a unique piece developed with the Montex embroidery workshop, pays tribute to the beauty of the Alps, where their Grenoble workshops are incidentally located.

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Ateliers Berger | Lolita screen, created by Humbert and Poyet, The Invisible Collection | Immersion bleue, collaboration with Jongkim design studio for Samsung

4. PIERRE BONNEFILLE : painter and designer

Assembly of copper, brass and bronze evoking the natural compositions of rocks.

This Master of Art, who has developed a poetic approach that is very much his own, draws his inspiration from his travels to the four corners of the planet and distils his infinitely rich colours into wall creations, sculptures and pieces of furniture. He creates materials, textures and surfaces based on natural pigments, mineral powders, limestone, lava or marble. The Rhizome series (a console and a bookcase) was born out of a fascination with a collection of bamboo Ikebana baskets. While the Metamorphosis collection and its Stone coffee tables were inspired by a trip to Iceland where he observed the submerged rocks polished by the current of icy torrents and covered with green moss. The discovery of a collection of stones from ancient African mines triggered an irrepressible desire to probe the riches of the earth’s crust by transposing the results of microscopic chemical reactions on a monumental scale. Pierre Bonnefille’s approach to working with materials is to assemble fossilised textile prints, shaded by superimposed colours and his own stamping techniques. One memorable milestone was his research into bronze, which was exhibited at the Horta Museum in Brussels, using his powder, which he explores and transposes in a very personal way, suspended on a vibrating metal mesh.

VILLAS Decoration métiers d'art 114

Luca Bonnefille, Gaëlle de Meeûs d’Argenteuil | Cabinet Bloc, Vert de Gris, Metamorphosis series

5. SOPHIE COUCKE : materialist

Sophie Coucke juggles with colours and materials to give a contemporary identity to age-old techniques. Whether a concrete or Mortex coating, the application of silicate, decorative flocking, chroming, gilding or brushed lime, from spatulo, patina with oil, water, sand or talc to stucco and Chinese lacquer… Her experiments are playful to say the least. A graduate of the Ecole supérieure des arts Saint-Luc in Liège, restorer and curator of works of art, she first specialised in the field of glass before undergoing additional training in an art school in Ghent. She is a strong believer in the subtlety of the gesture, the indepth working of the nuances to give unique reflections to each created texture, where opposites are reconciled, the matt and the shiny, the rough and the polished. She uses cold metal and acid spraying on different supports, wood, mirror, concrete, with her exclusive Metalier Coatings ® technique

VILLAS Decoration métiers d'art 114

Wood covered with cold sprayed metal using the Metalier Coatings ® process

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