Rendez-Vous chez Atelier François Pouenat

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After the past few years of exploring the design landscape I had a lot of conversations about production, process, artisanal techniques and material. After meeting hundreds of designers, editors, gallerists, students I realised that there was one side of the business I knew nothing about - the manufacturing side. Over the past few years I have had lots of conversations with students and designers going out on their own, curious about how to make prototypes, the manufacturing process and where to get started.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Paris based design studio POOL, who are the artistic directors for Atelier François Pouenat, which is a French atelier and manufacturer specialising in Metal. Léa Padovani, one half of POOL, opened the doors of Atelier François Pouenat to me to get an inside view of how designers work with artisans to bring their creations to life. We ran a live Q+A on our Instagram with the community to give them the chance to ask whatever questions they had AFP which we share in the article below.

Atelier François Pouenat, a family run atelier, was established 130 years ago in Varennes, France and works in everything from aligning with independent designers to develop objects, develop their careers together to restoring the hand railing in the prince’s bedroom in Versailles (um, wow??). We were excited to have the chance to sit down and explore how an Atelier like AFP work with young designers on developing projects and manufacturing by taking questions directly from our design community.

Although being established in the last century, this ain’t no old fashion atelier. One of the things that specifically drew me to Atelier François Pouenat specifically was their engagement with young collectible designers. The will be launching their first exhibition of work, which has been a collaboration with a number of emerging French furniture designers on bespoke pieces - here in Paris this week.

See what we learned in our chats with AFP and stop by if you are in Paris to chat more in person!



January 10, 2019


LIVE Q+A from our Instagram Community


| @sayhito_ | What is AFP’s speciality? Is it in a specific material?

| Mary - AFP | The atelier’s know-how is focused on metal work (brass, copper, aluminium, steel, stainless steel). Our work on metal allows us to change the shapes and forms (folded shapes, rounded, arched, hammered) and also to work the metal’s surface to change it’s appearance (we can polish the metal, brush…)

| @no_paulitical_agenda | How do you work with young designers to bring prototypes and small collections to life?

| Mary - AFP | Yes, the atelier loves to work with young designers. It’s a savoir-faire that specialises in made to measure pieces. It’s always a challenge to make new pieces for the first timed to test what new possibilities we have with the material.

When young designers don’t have a huge amount of resources, the workshop can take time to support them and build a lasting relationship. It often works out to be a successful partnership.


| | Do you always need 3D drawings? Or no regular indicative sketch work?

| Mary - AFP | A sketch is enough - we make a technical plan from the drawing that we will then fine tune with the designer. This exchange between us and the designer is very important to make sure we are able to make what they had envisioned.


| @nikkimendon | What machines and skills are the most important for a metal workshop?

| Mary - AFP | There are old and more contemporary machines to bend, drill, or sandblast the metal. But the most important factor would probably be the skilled artisan who controls the intensity and finesse of execution on the machine for example.


| @like_any_other_guy | What is the biggest draw factor for working on a design?

| Mary - AFP | To understand the intention of the designer.


| @bold_designers | Hello, Can we work together?

| Mary - AFP | Anything is possible !

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Exhibition ‘Série 01’

In their first ever exhibition, Atelier François Pouenat presents ‘Série 01’, a collection of the 8 one of a kind pieces by designers Paul Loebach, Fredrik Paulsen, Fabien Cappello under the artistic direction of Paris based studio POOL.

Four years ago, POOL envisioned a project to put the spotlight on a group of talented international designers and approached Atelier François Pouenat to collaborate on bringing that series of bespoke pieces to life.

Paul Loebach, Fredrick Paulsen, Fabien Cappello and POOL will all be premiering pieces for this first collection and exhibition. The exhibition aims to put light on the unique and special savoir-faire of the techniques of Atelier François Pouenat; pushing the boundaries of what is capable in the realm of metal working.

To showcase the true relation, the proximity between, to see the complexities between the collaboration between Atelier François Pouenat, the artistic direction, between the varying concepts of these four designers, the aim of the exhibition is simply the authenticity behind that process.




Galerie Joyce
168, Galerie de Valois 
Jardin du Palais Royal - 75001 Paris

Dates_ January 10 - 30, 2019

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