This Paris Life

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Around Faustine’s desk on the Rive Gauche: an interview with Philippe Chupin, founder of shop and gallery SIECLE

This is the next in the series by our office manager Faustine Cressot, giving you regular glimpses of the neighborhood around her desk on the rue de Verneuil. An interview with Philippe Chupin, founder and creator at SIECLE, a gallery and shop that sells tableware, home accessories, and gifts.

I was attracted first by the subtle gilding on display in the window. Then my eyes were drawn by the treasure chest of elegant objects that is SIECLE, at 24 rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement (district). I interviewed Philippe Chupin, SIECLE’s founder and creator, who had just returned from a private exhibition that he had organized at the Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore.

Hello, Philippe. Could you explain the concept and the history behind SIECLE?

SIECLE is the company that my wife Marisa and I set up 28 years ago, specializing in tableware, linen, home accessories, and gifts. We were both trained at the Louvre School, so we are decorators first and foremost, and we have a taste for the decorative arts in their most creative form.

Our company effectively preserves a repertoire of techniques that belong to the European decorative tradition. However, we incorporate contemporary variations, making use of light, color, and original images.

Our reputation is founded on our numerous designs for cutlery and tableware, which we have created from the start, using enamel, engraving and wrought metal. We also apply these techniques to ornamental door handles.

More recently, we have developed the decorative technique known as “decoupage”. In 2008, we were awarded the coveted French label, Living Heritage Enterprise. This prevents counterfeiting and protects our techniques. Another of our specialties is the technique of painting on glass (also used by Matisse and Marie-Antoinette, for example), which has earned us a longstanding reputation in the U.S., Australia, Germany, Russia, and South East Asia. And we create jewelry out of stones that we buy and mount ourselves.

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How long have you been here and why did you choose this neighborhood?

Our shop has been here since 1992 and displays on two floors tableware (cutlery, porcelain, glasses, linen) and jewelry. Our workshop is located south of Fontainebleau in a little village in the département (county) of Seine-et-Marne. You can see it on our website.

Owing to its location in the Carré Rive Gauche, the shop benefits from a prestigious position between the Carré des Antiquaires and the surrounding museums. It’s a neighborhood that is steeped in art and creativity.

Who are your clients?

We have a very international clientele. We have always made more than half of our turnover from exports and we benefit from the tourist market. But we also have a loyal French clientele, who come to us regularly and have done so for a long time.

We also work with decorators on commissions with a particular theme. It’s to our advantage to be able to create timeless objects that have a French character evoking the past, but which also fit perfectly in a contemporary interior.

What do you think of this neighborhood ?

This is a historic neighborhood, very authentic and with plenty of charm. It has changed in the sense that the residents have become more international, but the small shops remain. It’s a delightful and appealing quarter.

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