How It’s Made: The Petal Lamps
Here at Maison Flâneur, we’re not just interested in great design; we’re interested in each piece and its story, in how it’s made. It’s one thing to see an incredible armchair or a charming platter and appreciate it on the surface level. It’s another thing entirely to understand what goes into crafting it.
When we know how something is made, we appreciate it all the more. Some of the most fabulous things on our site are the delicate, striking lights dreamt up by Mylene Niedzialkowski of Georges.
Each light that Georges churns out is carefully crafted – with serious thought given to every step, every element. Before the talented makers at Georges even begin to begin shaping and molding the fixtures, the materials must be sourced and selected. The team thumbs through their enormous library of materials – Lyonnaise silk, Pyrenean wool, their own wood – and selects something that’s just right. Then, guided by these materials, the artisans let things unfold organically, creating things that seem as if they could have existed all along.
Should cotton be the order of the day, the team has beautiful Normandy cotton to hand. The Georges wool is sourced from a beautiful sheep farm in the Pyrenees or from the Valgaudemar Valley in the Hautes-Alpes. The shepherds weave the wool by hand before passing it over to Mylene and her team, so they receive only the finest.
Lyonnaise silk is also a favourite material at Georges, though antique linens abound as well. The linen collection is an ever-growing one, as the team picks up bits and bobs from brocantes and surplus stores year after year. From the Pyrenees-Atlantiques to the Haute-Pyrenees to the Haute Garonne, all corners of France afford Georges with the opportunity to uncover treasures.
Le Chateau de Méritein
There’s magic happening around every corner at the castle. This stunning building was erected in 1852 and is nestled in a 4-hectare park in the middle of Béarn’s rolling hills. The factory – if one can even call something so beautiful a factory – is divided into three workshops. Each room is dedicated to a different stage of creation for a Georges lamp. One room plays host to fabric dyers, another to artisans chiseling brass. Creatives temper rattan in one corner, while others diligently mount palms in another.
The artisans let things unfold organically, creating things that seem as if they could have existed all along.
After Mylene hammers out the details of each new prototype, a Georges object really comes to life in the expert hands of her team of craftsmen. These thirty artisans set to work in the beautiful Chateau de Meritein. Whether they’re producing subtly scented candles, elegant stools, sweeping light fixtures or earthy linens, a thread of continuity runs through their work. Each piece is pure, distilled down to its most essential form, and crafted to feel as if it sprung from the earth naturally.
They make their own magical potions, brewing flour and natural pigments together to create the paint they’ll use to colour the cotton. Bordeaux, ochres, indigo and pastels are also used to hand-dye the cotton, ensuring rich yet subtle hues for all.
The tableware is crafted from Orriule stoneware, while more complicated pieces are produced using ecological materials. The team honors the natural state of their materials, leaving them in their rawest form or treating them gently (hand-dyeing, polishing with steel wool to restore shine).
Outsourcing is sacrilege at Georges. Mylene has ensured that everything is as local as possible and that everything that can be done in-house is done in the castle. Why look elsewhere when you can do it better and more beautifully at home?
Once the team has created their paints and dyes from scratch, they begin preparing their fabrics for colouration. They carefully paint or dye the fabrics, leaving some in their unadulterated states, and then allow them to dry. After they’ve dried fully, the fabrics are ready for the next steps.
On the first floor of the castle, the artisans work with brass and wood. The end product dictates the technique used, but they are wide-ranging and require an immense skill. The team presses, drills, wets and soaks to tame the raw materials. This union of man and nature allows them to form the petals for the signature Georges petal fixtures.
Next comes cutting and gluing. Though they may sound simple, these techniques become deceptively precise when in the hands of Georges artisans. The team tackles each step meticulously, spreading out to ensure everything is done exactingly. Proper scissors and a good brush are key.
Though it is a detailed and lengthy process of creation, the care and attention are worth it. The beauty and delicacy of the Georges petals are proof positive.
Everything is handmade. We paint our canvas with natural pigments ourselves; we cut the raw brass, wet the rattan. Each of our objects is unique.