Xavier Lavergne Ateliers is a place shrouded in secrecy. Discretion, mystery and alchemy reign in the workshops. To enter, one must first consent to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. The experimental procedures and production techniques are jealously guarded secrets, defending an expertise at the intersection of cutting-edge technology, artisan craftsmanship, and the trade secrets of a master chef.
All this secrecy imbues the collections with an exclusive character and an instantly recognizable style.
The extraordinary master craftsman Mr Estaigner was found in the heart of France. Tasked with running the main workshop, he has embraced Xavier Lavergne's conceptual approach, reaching above and beyond his traditional expertise to deliver on the technical and artistic scale of the project. Together, Artist and Master Craftsman cast aside the standard procedures, choosing instead to experiment with rare materials.
This art is crafted primarily from the purest pewter –the fourth precious metal after silver. Pewter is delightfully malleable, producing powerfully expressive forms and graphics in all states.
Pewter can be used as sheet metal or cast, bent, hammered, heated or molten, its pressure, heat or humidity tweaked behind closed doors. It can be projected, then frozen solid upon its ice-cold target, or combined with precious glass, metal or mineral materials. It behaves like a silvery limescale, fossilized or made into marble by terrestrial phenomena.
The pewter whoops, sobs and sings, crackles and catches the eye. The table top it forms is set aside to slowly cool. Once settled in its new state, it is submerged in a crystal resin that fills in the cracks. The piece is then freshened up: sanded and polished to give it a marble finish as smooth as a geological profile.
In the words of Xavier Lavergne: “Every piece is a guided experiment, often generating a surprising outcome that exceeds our expectations. We seek to understand these phenomena and to reproduce their effects, however our alchemy is flawed and our pieces are not reproducible, to the delight of our collector clients. When I bring a new idea or ambition to the master craftsman, the creative process happens in the here and now, hidden away in his workshop. Design, experimentation and production come together under the eye of a select few.”
The success of each piece is built one day at a time by skill and fearless ambition, confronted or supported by the power of the elements, through tumults and lulls. Every piece is a journey both personal and collective, made possible by the pact between an extraordinary crew that has embarked on a long voyage to bring us the beauty of the world.