French English Back Back

MANUFACTURA


Sophie Brändström and Valérie Paumelle

MANUFACTURA Resembling an intimate journey to all corners of France, Manufactura allows us to feel at close quarters the emotion of proud and passionate of craftsmen and craftswomen. They are tapestry weavers, arch craftsmen, saddlers, master roasters, chasers, glass-blowers, colourists, trunk-makers, silk-makers, sanders...All we know of them is the object they produce, sometimes unique, often admired and exceptional. Between the hectic din of a weaver's loom, the rattling of a sewing machine and the thud of a hammer, their secrets are scattered with anecdotes in praise of time and a job well done. Given a privileged glance from the wings of their workshops, our minds marvel at the immaterial richness of these prestigious French firms whose history remains deeply rooted in our shared heritage. Text by Valérie Paumelle


 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500057

Gobelins tapestries and Savonnerie carpets are woven by intertwining warp threads held verti- cally and coloured weft yarns threaded through on special bobbins. GOBELINS

Paris - 14/03/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500090

Two dyers at work. The colours are matched very slowly through the dying techniques. GOBELINS

Paris - 14/03/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500059

Weaving is like a journey. When an artist offers us a work, most of the time, he doesn’t know our job. It becomes a real joint effort. He lets himself be guided by our vision and our knowledge of the final effect,” says weaver Audrey (27). GOBELINS

Paris - 14/03/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500054

Chevreul’s colour wheel is the reference par excellence for weavers. He invented it here in the manufactory in 1838; using yellow, blue and red as his base, he defined 72 colours and 14,400 shades. GOBELINS

Paris - 14/03/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500084

On the set of warp yarns, the pattern is copied using a transfer inked on with a stick to guide the weaver. GOBELINS

Paris - 14/03/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500060

Like Philippe (34), a dyer, all the workers say they are impregnated with the magic and history of the workshop. It is as if Colbert and Le Brun had never really left the place. GOBELINS

Paris - 14/03/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500007

Books of samples of the firm’s fabrics, some dating back to Catherine the Great, Marie-Antoinette and Napoleon, to times when there was no difference between furnishing and ceremonial fabrics. TASSINARI&CHATEL

Lyon - 12/10/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500003

Geneviève (39), a weaver and warper, and Florence, a beamer, pass the threads one by one from the warp beam into the comb for the warp to be woven. “It’s long and finicky. You’ve got to have slender fingers. It’s not men’s work – they wouldn’t have the patience!” TASSINARI&CHATEL

Lyon - 12/10/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500016

In this room where the warp threads ‘marry’ the weft threads, the mechanical looms work 24 hours a day, under the constant surveillance of weavers and head weavers. TASSINARI&CHATEL

Lyon - 12/10/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500019

Detail of the heddles on a hand-operated loom. The fine cords allow the warp to be raised to let the weft threads through. TASSINARI&CHATEL

Lyon - 12/10/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500017

A handmade test waiting to be confirmed TASSINARI&CHATEL

Lyon - 12/10/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500131

In the buffing room, an Art Deco-style piece, degreased and rinsed, dries on a bed of sawdust.

06/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500130

Astrid (30), chaser and silversmith. “I fell in love with the profession when I visited the École Boulle’s chasing workshop. That was what determined my future. The year I took my diploma, there were only two candidates!”

06/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500147

An engraver’s bench.

06/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500078

Small chisels, scrapers, riffler files and tracers as used by chasers to reveal the decoration on a piece.

06/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500134

In the buffing room, an Art Deco-style piece, degreased and rinsed, dries on a bed of sawdust.

06/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500145

Patrick, 57 ans. Chaudronnier à 15 ans, orfèvre dans la maison depuis 35 ans, son ancienneté inspire confiance au sein de l’atelier. Il est celui qui connaît l’ouvrage et ses difficultés. Passionné des pièces Art Déco, il en est devenu le spécialiste. “Le travail paraît simple mais ce sont les plus compliquées à fabriquer. Les arêtes épurées ne pardonnent aucun défaut.”

06/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500129

Thomas (21), trunk­ maker. Each trunk­maker becomes more and more autonomous, trained and supervised in the workshop by a senior craftsman. From the oak, carpenter-built box to the decorative elements, over a few months, he gradually takes sole charge of his trunk. “When I attached my first label with my initials on, it was pretty emotional.” GOYARD

Carcassonne - 14/06/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500128

Skins and hides waiting to elegantly grace bespoke trunks. GOYARD

Carcassonne - 14/06/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500164

Gonzague (32), artisan­ painter. Formerly a trunk­maker, converted to personalizing, he declines over and over again initials, family crests and other designs, and customizes one-off collections. “I have to be just as demanding and precise as with trunks. GOYARD

Carcassonne - 14/06/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499977

For bending and rounding off leather, the edge beveller is an indispensable tool for trunk­makers. GOYARD

Carcassonne - 14/06/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499973

Emblematic of trees and Man, the ‘Y’-shaped herringbone pattern painted on the coated canvas mixing flax, cotton and hemp, symbolises three centuries of Goyard family history and their log-driver companion ancestors. GOYARD

Carcassonne - 14/06/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499972

Florent (25), trunk­maker. Specialised in pre­production models, he develops the product while always searching for the best work method which will subsequently serve as a reference for the other trunk­makers. “Even if trunks are always made the same way, it feels as if I’m self-taught every time, because each new product is different.” GOYARD

Carcassonne - 14/06/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500166

“You’ve got to understand the object and know how to live with it.” Franck (46), a glazer for 21 years, seems to be at one with his piece. Glazing by hand entails swift gestures barely lasting the time it takes you to breathe. “The glaze dries in a few seconds. To avoid running, it’s got to be positioned fast. There’s no room for error.” Thus finely decorated, after a second firing, the porcelain reveals all its qualities: whiteness, transparency, resonance, solidity and brilliance. BERNARDAUD

Limoges - 20/05/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500177

Vases are waiting for the oven. BERNARDAUD

Limoges - 20/05/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500171

“Nothing can disturb me when modelling, the matter takes over. For me, it is a game. My motivation comes from deep down. The job has changed my vision, my personality and my relationships with others.” Stéphane (46), Maître d’Art and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, runs the workshop. BERNARDAUD

Limoges - 20/05/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500170

To create a piece, the volume is first shaped in plaster and then decorated by the modeller. Unique, it allows the master mould to be made, which will serve as a reference for the moulds used in mass production. BERNARDAUD

Limoges - 20/05/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500172

Turning out a piece is as much a question of strength as of dexterity. It takes years of apprenticeship to acquire the skill to delicately handle the considerable weight of a mould . BERNARDAUD

Limoges - 20/05/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500173

“You’ve got to understand the object and know how to live with it.” Franck (46), a glazer for 21 years, seems to be at one with his piece. Glazing by hand entails swift gestures barely lasting the time it takes you to breathe. “The glaze dries in a few seconds. To avoid running, it’s got to be positioned fast. There’s no room for error.” Thus finely decorated, after a second firing, the porcelain reveals all its qualities: whiteness, transparency, resonance, solidity and brilliance. BERNARDAUD

Limoges - 20/05/2011

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500048

“All the lace produced here passes through my hands. To discover it on haute couture dresses or Kate Middleton’s wedding dress is a great source of pride for us,” says Séverine (39), an inspectress. SOPHIE HALLETTE

Caudry - 18/10/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500043

A loom operates only when the lace­maker is there. Standing, bending or lying on the floor, he keeps a vigilant eye on the patterns being woven to the deafening rhythm of the bobbins. With its perfect knowledge of the music of the machinery, his sharp ear allows him to stop the loom when he hears the slightest wrong note. SOPHIE HALLETTE

Caudry - 18/10/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500035

The centrepieces of the loom, the bobbins prepared by the wapper weave the weft of the lace. It takes no fewer than 5,000 bobbins per loom to weave 12 metres of fabric. SOPHIE HALLETTE

Caudry - 18/10/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500038

After being woven on the loom, tulle, lace and guipure are entrusted to the menders’ nimble fingers. For hours on end, the missing points are reconstructed and the miracle takes places “as if nothing had gone wrong”, according to Brigitte (56), inspectress and mender for 27 years. SOPHIE HALLETTE

Caudry - 18/10/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500028

I’ve always seen lace. My mother mended at home and my father was a lace­maker. When I was young, I loved watch- ing him working on the looms.” By training Béatrice (19), Maryline (47), a mender for 24 years, shares the know­how of the Caudry fac­ tory, like some emotional inherit­ ance, handed down as a gift. SOPHIE HALLETTE

Caudry - 18/10/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500026

After 2 months in the vats, the amber hides spend 48 hours in a tanning drum. Softened and coloured a fine, uniform amber, they are ready for the tanning pits.

00/00/0000

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500113

Alongside Alain (52), a Blake stitcher, Thierry (50) is in charge of the firm’s stock of lasts, the temple of shapes, sorted according to size, half size and width.

00/00/0000

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500121

Boots for the Republican Guard

00/00/0000

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500174

Tanning starts in the vats where the woody smell of the tannin mixes with the smell of the hides. Three times a week, tanners Patrick (35) and Pascal (48) move the hides from vat to vat to immerse them in increasing concentra- tions of vegetable tanning agents “for them to penetrate the skin slowly,” as Pascal says.

00/00/0000

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500119

Marie­Isabelle (33), workshop assistant.

00/00/0000

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500123

The apparent simplicity of the iconic boot made by Weston, the Chelsea boot, conceals uncommon know­ how: arching. For the single piece of leather making up the boot to envelop the foot elegantly without marking it, Jean­Luc (46), arch crafts- man and master boot­maker shapes the leather, moistened by hand, on a wooden last. “It is the only way you can obtain a shoe that is unique, sensual and warm.”

00/00/0000

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500150

A mythical object for the glove­maker, the heated hand for laying out. In the final stage, the glove is ironed to take on its definitive appearance. CAUSSE

Millau - 17/02/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500156

A Cutter at work. They mae about twenty pair of gloves a week. CAUSSE

Millau - 17/02/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500162

Marie (38), seamstress. It takes 6 months of training to be able to assemble a glove free hand, without any marking. “The thumbs are the hardest part. You’ve got to practice on hundreds of them before you get perfect stitching and curves.” CAUSSE

Millau - 17/02/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500160

CAUSSE

Millau - 17/02/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500158

Made legendary by Rita Hayworth and Garbo and indispensable on the catwalk, gloves are a woman’s accessory par excellence. From traditional forms to the most unusual limited editions to Karl Lagerfeld’s trade­mark ‘glovelettes’, almost 30,000 pairs are made annually.  CAUSSE

Millau - 17/02/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500153

Nadine, 47 ans, directrice artistique. C’est avant tout le savoir-faire des artisans qui l’a séduite puis convaincue de travailler là, à leurs côtés, au cœur de la manufacture. “Préserver la qualité des créations et de la production passe par un échange quotidien avec eux.” CAUSSE

Millau - 17/02/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500106

The themes inspiring René Lalique, a creative genius of boundless imagination, are summed up in three ‘Fs’: Femineity, Flora and Fauna. Timeless, this striking horse’s head in mat, black crystal with satin finish illustrates his passion for animals and seems moulded from nature. LALIQUE

Wingen-sur-Moder - 10/04/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500100

Once the molten crystal is collected, blower Jean- Pierre (53) adeptly rotates it on his pipe. LALIQUE

Wingen-sur-Moder - 10/04/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500102

When the crystal leaves the mould, the surface excess is ground away on a wheel. François (38), a cutter, gives their final form to the legs of a ‘Cactus’ table before further finishing processes to ensure their final brilliance. LALIQUE

Wingen-sur-Moder - 10/04/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500105

Decorator Christiane (43) uses bitumen to skilfully mark out the details of the decoration to be given LALIQUE

Wingen-sur-Moder - 10/04/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500099

This cast-iron mould on its own reflects the richness and refinement of the decorations, the truemark of the Lalique ethos. Mechanic- ally engraved, the slightest details of the bas-reliefs and the decorations are re­worked and manually chiselled for days on end by Tania, the interior decorator. “A computer can’t design as spirited a decoration as the human hand can. The latter makes the piece less austere and truly unique.” LALIQUE

Wingen-sur-Moder - 10/04/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499976

Pierre (34), polisher/cutter/ engraver and Meilleur Ouvrier de France. Crystal inspires his very being and his eyes sparkle in its reflected light. “I got hooked when I was 8 on a visit to a crystal factory, and that’s been the story ever since. If I couldn’t do this job anymore, I’d be completely lost.” LALIQUE

Wingen-sur-Moder - 10/04/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499987

For Mickaël (21), who mans the grinder which turns the chocolate nibs into chocolate liquor, there is no day when he does not feel, taste or touch the raw material to detect the slightest of anomalies. VALRHONA

Tain-L'Hermitage - 07/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499995

Entirely handmade VALRHONA

Tain-L'Hermitage - 07/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499989

The cocoa liquor slowly turns into chocolate and gives off its aromas, following the oldest rules of grinding and conching. Geoffrey (32), head of the team here in the shop, is present at all the stages in the creation of the firm’s recipes. From the mixing of the ingredients in the kneading machine to the refining of the powdered cocoa paste mixed for a long time in the conches, nothing escapes him. The conformity of colour, grain, consistency and flavour of the raw materials are part of the fundamentals. VALRHONA

Tain-L'Hermitage - 07/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499992

The men in the grinding and conching workshop, Geoffrey (32), Wilfried (40), Laurent and Ludovic (31), are responsible for creating some 70 recipes, from gourmet chocolate to couverture chocolates. Each recipe has to pass the test of these expert gourmands, and no concession is made to its gustatory qualities. VALRHONA

Tain-L'Hermitage - 07/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0499988

Antonia (48) is in charge of the shop where the chocolates are boxed. A great connoisseur, she is able to recognise with her eyes closed the voluptuous taste of Caribbean chocolate, the sharper taste of Manjari or the bitterer taste of Guanaja. VALRHONA

Tain-L'Hermitage - 07/02/2013

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500051

Stacked up like precious ingots, a stock of typo- grapher’s quadrats. LA COMPAGNIE DU KRAFT

14/11/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500042

Jérémy (25), foreman. Both designer, cutter and assembler, he enjoys working on the capricious wheels of his presses. Obsessed with old machines from a very tender age, he likes tinkering about especially with the ones that have to be greased, repaired, polished and pampered to continue to live for those who love ink and paper. LA COMPAGNIE DU KRAFT

14/11/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500036

The Compagnie du Kraft workshop. LA COMPAGNIE DU KRAFT

14/11/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500031

When the printing press goes all haywire, there’s no recovery disc. Resourceful- ness prevails. Sometimes, solutions as elementary as paper wedges are enough to reactivate the old presses. LA COMPAGNIE DU KRAFT

14/11/2012

 

Sophie Brändström / Picturetank BRS0500046

Nicolas (46), a ‘re­inventor’. One day, his daughter’s simple question: “What do you do for a living, Daddy?” came as something of an electric shock. Although publishing software, he preferred to impress her differently. Daddy would manufacture nice notebooks, timeless and durable, in the style of foresters in the Landes. And even if he says he runs “the most unproductive factory in the Western world”, he relishes following his route, reviving know­how lost in the 1970s. LA COMPAGNIE DU KRAFT

14/11/2012



top