« I’ll have a large coffee with cream and a croissant, please »
I’ve placed my order and am comfortably seated on the terrace of a Parisian brasserie with a perfect view of l’avenue Mozart; the conditions are ideal for me to write an article on the elegant chaises Drucker (Drucker Chairs).
I visited the company a few days ago. They’ve been creating beautiful rattan chairs since 1885 in the style of une Maison Haute-Culture.
It’s 80 km north of Paris, in the little commune of Gilocourt (Oise), where this exceptional company continues to thrive and to produce their beautiful chairs.
A beautiful History …
In 2005, Bruno Dubois overtook ownership of the Chaises Drucker business, which had been run by the Drucker family for 120 years. Today, his undertaking has certainly payed off : with the help of his son and thirty employees, whose expertise is well-noted, the company spreads the vibrant colors and patterns of the Maison Drucker around the world.
From Gilocourt to Hollywood…
From the liana (vine) to the chair:
I started my visit by learning about the long strands (3 to 5 meters) of rattan needed to make the chairs. The rattan comes from a southwest Asian tree called calmus rotang or simply rotang, which grows well in shaded regions of dense, wet forests. The workshop mainly uses the following types of rattan: white manila rattan and dark mallaca rattan.
The first step is to sort the rattan strands and to cut them according to whichever piece of furniture they’re intended to make (some will become chairs, others armchairs, and still others will become stools etc.)
Next, each node is sanded and stained by hand; occasionally it’s necessary to straighten some branches using a special machine, which is pictured to the right.
Heat and humidity are applied to shape the branches.
In the center of the workshop are two large cylinders, “steamers” or “broilers” that soften the rattan to allow the workers to shape it.
After 20 minutes in the broiler, the workers give the rattan its shape by placing the malleable pieces on a mold for 48 hours that bends them to their proper shape. While I was watching the molding process, Fabien, the shop-leader, told me that, at this point in the process, the rattan is living material, still being sensitive to heat and humidity, and that, consequently, drying times vary according to the season. He also taught me that, before the instillation of the broilers, the strands were placed in the river Automne, which runs alongside the workshop!
Concentration maximale au cannage (Intense concentration while caning) :
While the strands are being bent, in a room away from the loud saws of the workshop, workers begin to weave the seat itself around a frame of either exotic wood or of beech wood.
In the colorful room which houses the Rislan ® Polyamides, which are naturally made from ricin oil, and are suple, durable and 100% French, the women of the shop intermix weft straps. This technique recalls that of Jacquard des métiers Leavers.
In total, a vast selection of 50 colors, matt or satin, satisfy the aesthetic needs of any environment, whether it be indoors or outdoors!
The atmosphere of the canning room is serious and studious, since the company offers more than 50 different caning patterns (basic, classic, prestige, exceptional et even master-piece). It’s essential that the workers carefully apply each pattern to its respective piece. Consequently, centering the lozenges (diamond patterns) on larger seats or stools requires tremendous attention; one cannot afford to make a single error!
Next, the different pieces of rattan, are assembled on a chassis, and then are weaved into the wooden frame.
The beautifully semi-completed chairs are then re-enforced with additional wood. This important step touches up the chair by hiding the staples and screws needed for assembly.
Moreover, this step, which is always carried out in warm conditions, shows off the beautiful shape of the chairs.
Before the chairs are varnished, each will undergo a strict quality inspection. Aurélie herself carries out these meticulous inspections, she devotes 25 to 40 minutes to each chair; nothing escapes her !
When the chair is perfect, she attaches chairs pad and the Maison Drucker trademark.
Now appearing in prestigious places…
The beautiful pieces are now ready for the final step: packaging, in either sheath or cardboard; this is an important step, since the pieces must be packaged well enough to travel across the world to locations such as London, New York, Dubai, Sydney, Singapore…
One can find them at many prestigious places, such as l’hôtel Château Marmont and on the Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood! A Parisian café atmosphere in the hot Californian sun !
The workshop is not open to the public, but, if you’d like to learn more about it, I strongly advise you to read « La chaise parisienne – Maison Drucker » d’Alix De Dives & Serge Gleizes which isillustrated by the amazing photos of Jean Marc Palisse.
In this book, one may find a well done portrait of Bruno Dubois, the history of the company, details on different models, the assembly and collaboration with designers …
You could also visit the site and discover different collections Capucine, Rivoli, Turgot, Parisian, or la collection Eiffel (these are merely my favorites; go to the site to discover your own favorites!).
If you enjoyed this article, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and subscribe.
Join me on facebook and instagram.
Read other post in english :
cicada of provence
A très vite, Christelle