Blade by blade

Ancient savoir-faire for contemporary interior accents: Lison de Caunes’ straw marquetry

For some they are just dried stalks of grain; for her they are the valuable basis for her extraordinary handicraft: straw. French artist Lison de Caunes has mastered the almost forgotten and elaborate technique of marquetry, which dates back to the 17th century. In her Paris atelier, she transforms the tall blades of rye from Normandy into wonderful and luxurious interior creations: wall panels whose multi-faceted texture creates exciting light reflections. Furniture, lighting and design objects: they become eye-catchers with their playful patterns and rich colour nuances – always with a touch of art deco in contemporary design.

The shelves are piled high with long-stemmed straw bundles in natural shades of gold and brown, bright colours and elegant shades of grey and black. Blade by blade, the straw is cut and smoothed by hand to produce the finest of strips, which are applied individually to the supporting surface. Through the natural product, artistic concept and craftsmanship, individual and unique artworks are created: geometrically clear and with a spatial depth effect owing to their radial, herringbone or checkerboard layout; daring and innovative thanks to their richness of colour, patterns or material blend. It is ancient savoir-faire, which can be perfectly and sustainably integrated into modern interior concepts.

Lison de Caunes
Lison de Caunes learned the rare craft of straw marquetry as a child from her grandfather, art deco interior designer André Groult. Following apprenticeships as a gilder and bookbinder and academic studies, she decided to dedicate herself to the ancient technique. After restoring furniture for several years, she started to develop custom solutions for interior designers, as well as her own design line. For her outstanding contribution to craftsmanship and artistry in traditional straw marquetry, Lison de Caunes was made a Chevaliere de la Legion d’Honneur.

Whether you visit the Guerlain flagship store on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Cartier showrooms in Paris and Geneva, the luxury Bulgari hotels in Paris or the Woodward in Geneva, they all bear Lison de Caunes’ signature. The uniqueness of her craftwork sets its own standards in prestigious interior design. Renowned designers are also delighted to partner with the Ateliers Lison de Caunes: for example, MYDRIAZ's iconic Loïe pendant lamp perfectly blends the know-how of both manufactories. Discerning private clients also furnish their luxurious residences in New York or Dubai, for example, with Lison de Caunes’ exclusive wall panels, furniture or home accessories. And simple straw becomes a decorative statement.

Thanks to its special surface structure, straw – unlike wood – absorbs light in a natural way and mirrors it in exciting reflections and shimmering colours. Each object – whether large-scale wall panelling, individual piece of furniture or accessory – sets an artistic accent with natural vibrancy, warmth and a delicate lustre, bringing a special touch to the whole room. If you want to experience the beautiful marquetry technique live or learn it yourself, you can sign up for one of the workshops that Lison de Caunes regularly offers at her Paris atelier. Over the course of a weekend, you can try your hand at your own creations under expert guidance – and share in the wonder of how design objects can be created from simple straw and ancient craft traditions.

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