There were newcomers and the old traditional attendants at the Salon du Patrimoine culturel in the Carrousel du Louvre and it is always amazing to find unique specialists of French art de vivre who cater mostly to historical places. They are not all geared at the restoration of castles and churches but the 300 participants all use exceptional materials and savoir faire like under-glass gilding (verre églomisé) or new wallpaper techniques to recreate the 18 th century treasures. Whether restoring an old clock or creating vintage costumes for historical purposes, building fantastic garden follies or weaving wool carpets with linen so that they resist longer, there are hundreds of finds at Salon du Patrimoine. I personally got the name of a good roofer, of a robot which scans old ruins and can recreate castles in 4D. There are also magical websites like Sites et Monuments which defends views and fights éoliennes or Fondation pour la Sauvegarde de l’Art Français who was hosting for the first time, its new partner the World Monuments fond. Sadly, its President Olivier de Rohan, was stuck on opening day in Brittany by the major tempest.
Everyone was young and enterprising in this salon where the human factor is determinant in the success. The two Charlottes met at the Mobilier National in the Gobelins and decided to create a new style of carpets with the technique of the Savonnerie where color is replaced by relief in wool and linen. They work from the 18 th arrondissement under the name of Font- Romani and cater mostly to decorators and architects. François Xavier Richard studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts and switched to precious woodblock wall papers which he makes at Atelier d’Offard in Tours. When he was a resident of Villa Albertine in the US, he transformed old military uniforms into recycled paper and is working on the same project with the French Army. Marie Hélène Poisson specializes in the very unique Boulle technique for furniture and art objects.
Lisa Bergarra is Basque and manufactures walking sticks called Makhilas. She is the fifth generation to do so in her family and her grandmother was already creating them with silver and medlar tree wood. Each stick is made to measure according to the client’s morphology and it is both a useful tool for climbing the Pyrénées and an honorific item. Each one is engraved with the owner’s name. The wood grows for ten years and is then cut, baked in an oven and straightened. It is patiently nourished and died for another ten years. Twenty years are necessary to make these Makhilas. Goat leather is used for the handles ornamented with engraved silver or stainless steel. This craft is listed in the Unesco traditional craftmanship.
Another character is Emmanuel Poix from le Moulin à couleurs in Ecordal, in the French Ardennes. He specializes in pigments as his shirt indicates. Also in the East of France, an organist who doubles as an ébéniste, Victor Mangeol has restored a small organ for his family. He trained for 7 years in music and wood carving as well as organ pipes. He plays the organ standing up and activating the pipes with a pedal. It is magical. At the moment, he restores the organ of Notre Dame de la Nativité de Bercy in Paris.
I spoke to a number of tile and slates manufacturers who work on all the grand castles and public monuments. To illuminating artists who use medieval techniques on parchment but what amused me the most was a little robot on the capture4cad stand who scans ruins of castles and recreates whole cities on the web for the company Héritagevirtuel. It was a nice way to conclude the visit of the fair with a futuristic tool. All these incredibly talented craftsmen are fun to meet and if you need any name you can search through the Salon du Patrimoine culturel’s website to find their address. It is a mine of ideas.
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