Through its 110-year history, leather crafts company Maison Fey has made a name for itself through the creation of leather desk tops, faux books and Cordoba leather mainly destined for the interior decoration market. Today, the Parisian atelier is working on embossing stone for decorative panels, an innovation that could also be a fit for luxury packaging applications.
While natural and reconstituted leather are Maison Fey’s traditional catchment area, with a specialty in embossing, in recent years, the company has also branched out to other techniques including engraving, weaving and embroidery. Yet Managing Director Fabienne Saligue, who took over the maison 10 years ago after three generations of leather craftsmen, has been eager to explore not just new ways of working leather, but to apply these techniques to novel materials in a bid to enrich the atelier’s portfolio.
The latest novelty is to work on stone, or more precisely StoneLeaf, a patented range of stone leaf panels created by the eponymous French supplier. “Last year, as we began experimenting with StoneLeaf panels — namely mica and slate — and began embossing, we were transferring our know-how from leather to stone,” Saligue says. “The pliability of the material makes it amenable to embossing and even engraving, and therefore allows for an infinite range of designs.” The atelier has gone so far as to double emboss StoneLeaf panels, which can result in significant relief effects depending on the type of stone. Maison Fey has a collection of some 50 embossing plates — and clients can have plates custom-engraved.
While the stone panels are mainly created for interior decoration projects — 90% of Maison Fey’s turnover is in B2B — the workshop can also use StoneLeaf to sheath wooden coffrets and boxes. “We’ve been able to obtain perfectly pristine angles and edges as the material is pliable, meaning that it could be a good fit for premium coffrets for the wine and spirits and beauty markets,” notes Saligue.
In addition to embossing and engraving, Maison Fey has experimented with applying different patinas to its StoneLeaf panels, the same as those used on their leather products that impart a range of different shades to the stone. Clients can also customize panels via a made-to-order combination of stone and patina.
Saligue explains that working with StoneLeaf also has a financial advantage compared to traditional stone panels: it is lighter-weight, which can be a significant advantage for applications on yachts or private jets, for example, but also on coffrets.
Beyond leather and stone, Maison Fey regularly collaborates with its fellow craftsmen. Recent projects include weaving (leather and thread) with French studio Design Textile and blending Cordoba leather and feathers, with Paris-based feather artisan Julien Vermeulen. “This is our way of always looking ahead at seeing how we can push our creativity one step further,” Saligue concludes.