Educational Tour With Kravet – France 2017
After London and Florence, the team at Kravet invited 8 designers, their best clients in the country, to an educational trip to France this last April and Richard Ouellette was honored to be part of this amazing 5-days travel. It was the perfect opportunity to discuss new trends, upcoming collections or simply talk about our experiences with other designers, all the while surrounded by an amazing environment filled with palaces, showrooms and workshops.
This year, Maxime Vandal was lucky to be in Portugal and France during the same period and be able to join the group for a memorable evening at the Chateau of Grand-Lucé.
Thanks to Kravet, we always have exclusive access to places rarely accessible to tourists and, as a result, are able to fill our heads and minds with so many new ideas. This trip was no exception and we are happy to share this experience with you.
Day 1 – Arrival, St-Ouens’ flea market and Tisserant Showroom
We met at Le Meurice, a sumptuous Parisian hotel and the perfect example of the French way of life. In this palace, the 18th century architecture has been brilliantly preserved and the result is an elegant and charming ambiance to start of peregrination.
Afterwards, we went to St-Ouens’ flea market where we found some inspiring objects. This must-see market, one of Europe’s biggest, is renowned around the world for its numerous stands filled with quality and unique products for all budgets.
We were delighted to find, at the corner of a street, some long forgotten treasures like these bronze benches from India that caught Richard’s eyes.
We conclude our day with a visit of the Tisserant showroom, a family-owned business founded by Émile Tisserant at the high of the Art Deco style where we admired fine light fixtures and bronze accessories. From the restoration of Versaille’s chandeliers to the creation of new lighting for luxury hotels around the globe, this workshop truly display finesse and expertise.
Day 2 – Vaux le Vicomte and Ateliers Saint-Jacques
On the second day, we stopped at the Chateau of Vaux le Vicomte, the same who inspired Louis XIV for Versailles. Visiting this domain is rarely possible for tourists but we were fortunate to have Kravet’s team arrange it for us. Truly one of the most appreciated moments of our voyage.
We then traveled to Saint Remy les Chevreuse to visit the Coubertin Foundation and the Ateliers Saint-Jacques with whom we have a collection of bronze accessories in the making. It was a delight to show our work, get some feedback and, surprise, receive our first orders!
See these artisans at work allow us to truly appreciate their knowledge. For instance, they are constantly entrusted to restore art pieces including these majestic bronze statues which show how much they are notorious in this line of work.
Our day ended at the Chateau of Grand-Lucé, property of designer Timothy Corrigan who decided to restore it to its former glory. Between the sumptuous outdoor architecture, the elegant interior design and the attention given to the gardens, we don’t know what we prefer, only that we are charmed by the place and its surroundings.
We are particularly enchanted by our room, the perfect mix between modernity and history, and where the morning light is simply divine.
Day 3 – Le Crin workshop
In the morning, we headed to the small village of Challes located in the Sarthe region to visit Le Crin workshop. Le Crin is the only workshop in the world specialized in horsehair weaving, a technique requiring a lot of patience and finesse. This company, favored by the greatest brands such as Hermès, only produce merchandise of the highest quality.
Day 4 – The Country Life
Tourists for a day, we ventured in the village of Grand-Lucé. Each designer has been entrusted with a mission to prepare dinner… Richard having chosen to pick the flowers…
Maxime joined the group in the afternoon, just in time to enjoy the bucolic vicinity.
Back to the Chateau, the team enjoyed a last dinner together and took the opportunity to celebrate Richard and Barclay’s upcoming birthdays.
We were back in Canada full of memories, inspired like never before and ready to take on new challenges.
We wish to thank everyone at Kravet who made this possible. Thank you Brian, Cary, Sara, Paul, Ellen, Lisa, Nathalie, Gary and Karen for your hard work!
We would also like to salute our fellow designers who were part of this great adventure: Victoria from Enviable Designs, Philip from Philip Mitchell Design, Scott from Scott Yetman Design, Kelly from Kelly Deck Design, Liz from Elizabeth Metcalfe Design, Melanie from 4cdesign, Paul Lavoie from Paul Lavoie Interior Design and Barclay from Barclay Butera Interiors.
Hope to see you soon!