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Immersion at Duvivier

It is in the heart of the Saint Germain des Prés district, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, that Duvivier Canapés brings to life the most beautiful of its showcases with its Brand showroom. A showcase that meets the development objectives of this brand, which has been awarded the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Company) label and has integrated design into its strategy for several years.

For Aymeric Duthoit, who bought Duvivier Canapés in 2016, “the dynamics of a company are evaluated on its projects.” The company, created in 1840 by the saddler-bourrelier François-Baptiste Duvivier, has been working hard for the past six years. Today, it has about 70 employees, including 50 craftsmen, and a turnover of about 10 million euros in 2021. The brand’s showroom in Paris is where it expresses the meaning and values of French know-how excellence. On two levels, in a scenography that takes us back to the chic Paris of the 70’s, the collections are presented in situation, under different finishes and in a relaxed mix.

This Parisian-style showcase is the brand’s third site; in fact, the two in fact, it is in the Vienne region near Poitiers, that the two workshops are located in the Vienne region near Poitiers: one for cabinet making and the other specialized in one for cabinet making and the other specialized in saddlery, sewing, upholstery and assembly.

Handmade in France


True handmade, from French know-how, is a rare and lasting asset that hides a unique beauty. At Duvivier Canapés we cultivate and perpetuate this artisanal excellence that has been passed down for generations, here in the heart of the Vienne region” explains Aymeric Duthoit. Duvivier Canapés is continuing its development by building a new cabinetmaking shop, which will open at the end of 2022, adjacent to its saddlery and upholstery workshop in Usson du Poitou. This project is in line with the company’s commitment to the region. “Significant investments have been made to acquire state-of-the-art equipment that will strengthen the company’s capacity for innovation and value creation. Our ambition is to create, two hours from Paris, a center of expertise and know-how to serve the company’s collection and the community of architects, designers and other specifiers,” continues Aymeric Duthoit. This is one of the important steps to strengthen the company’s activitý on two markets: manufacturing for private individuals (the current main market) and a made-to-measure service for B to B. In fact, manufacturing for major French luxury houses is already practiced. “Beware, we are not in a primary objective of volume. Our desire is to preserve and develop know-how and skills worthy of high quality craftsmanship.”

Guillaume Heraud
Duvivier Sofas, Serge collection, design by Pierre Gonalons © Paul Blind

Design at the heart of the brand’s repositioning


With the know-how in working with wood and leather; with the exceptional beauty of the leathers, design has become a priority for Aymeric Duthoit. He opens the company to external collaborations, calling on designers like Charlotte Juillard: “For the Jules collection, Charlotte’s brief was to bring together the three fetish materials of the house, leather, fabric and wood.” In 2018, Guillaume Hinfray, stylist and designer in luxury fashion accessories, began a collaboration with Duvivier Canapés and became its artistic director in 2019. His mission is to reposition the ranges with a more contemporary spirit in a casual chic style, while respecting the artisanal DNA of the house. His own Elsa collection is a good example of this, with rounder lines highlighted by the presence of leather straps around duffel cushions: elegant and warm. He will also revisit the chilienne with Émile, which brings together the codes of luxury and a certain French art of living, a casual chić, which mixes wood and leather work. Pierre Gonalons, meanwhile, signed a majestic chesterfield last year, named Serge, in homage to the Left Bank Paris of the 1970s (read Intramuros 210). The collection will be launched at the Milan show in September 2021, and will then be presented again at Dubai Design Week. The Elsa collection will equip the George Sand lounge in the French pavilion at the Dubai World Expo.

The commitment of a human-sized company


Duvivier Canapés produces completely to order. If this requires a certain agilitý, the workshop’s craftsmen get a strong motivation from it: “In manufacturing, two models that follow each other are totally different.” Very involved in the issue of maintaining employment and know-how locally, Duvivier Canapés is facing, like the whole sector, recruitment difficulties. It has therefore set up a partnership with Pôle Emploi, whose objective is to identify candidates with the right skills. The company then trains the craftsmen who will accompany the development of its activity, in a principle of transmission. As Aymeric Duthoit notes, “we are moving from a world where we hire people because they know how to do the job, to a world where we hire them for what they are and train them. Know-how takes precedence over know-how. And we see a number of people undergoing retraining who find it meaningful to do manual work in a small company.”

Duvivier Canapés, Elsa collection, design Guillaume Hinfray © Paul Blind

The experience of a unique brand


Successive periods of confinement and restriction have accelerated the digital transformation that the house had begun: the site is redesigned with a virtual tour of the brand’s showroom that allows to find inspiration and locate a model. By flashing this one, the Internet user switches to a configurator, specifies the desired dimensions, materials and colors, and can even project it in 3D augmented realitý in his own interior. Once the configuration is complete, the price appears. “Transparency and sincerity towards our customers are important concepts for our house,” says Estelle Wierzejewski, marketing director. “We want to share with them the values that drive us all: designers, creators, craftsmen… Whatever the way they come into contact with the brand, physical showroom or website, throughout their journey, they will discover its universe, its values, its know-how, its signature, its quality requirements.

Nathalie Degardin

Showroom Duvivier Canapés – 27 rue Mazarine – Paris 6ème