A Paris Antoinette Poisson, restorers of an 18th century decoration heritage
When two friends passionate about decorative arts discovered a long-lost artisanal technique while restoring a historic house in Auvergne (central France), they knew they were on to something. This encounter with centuries-old domino paper beneath layers of wallpaper led heritage restorers Vincent Farelly and Jean-Baptiste Martin to bring what is called dominoterie, back to life. In 2012 A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson was born, and the rest is history, 18th century history to be exact.
Named for Marquise de Pompadour, born Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson pays tribute to a woman with an affinity for interior decoration, wallpaper included. The name also calls to mind a very regal era, one in which French savoir-faire was at its prime. With the invention of continuous paper in the 19th century, this decorative paper gradually fell out of fashion. That is, until dominoterie, also known as domino paper returned thanks to this designing duo.
What exactly is dominoterie? This 18th century technique involves the domino paper being cut into the printing block from a metal block in which the pattern is engraved with floral or geometric patterns. Afterward, the paper is painted by hand or stenciled resulting in individually crafted 32 x 42 cm domino paper. Traditionally, this paper was used to cover books, boxes and caskets or to decorate the interior of cabinets. Small rooms or hallways could also be decorated with these colorful prints. Commonly, larger productions of domino paper were used to bind paperbacks. Domino paper by A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson can either be used as wallpaper or individually framed and hung up like artwork.
Respecting the traditions of the time, Vincent and Jean-Baptiste create their original designs based on both historical documents and objects that inspire. Drawn and printed sheet by sheet and painted in their Parisian workshop, A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson designs include playing cards, ikat prints, a variety of floral compositions and geometric designs. The colors used in creating these papers are limitless.
Domino papers are not the only decorative products found at this charming Parisian boutique located within a courtyard in the right bank’s 11th arrondissement. Other signature items include wallpaper, printed linens, stationery and a variety of decorative handmade objects. From hand-crafted notebooks that can be used to document journeys in Paris and beyond, to linen fabrics to decorate the home, some that even pair with the domino papers. Cushions too are part of the selection, ranging in a number of unique prints. A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson has also collaborated with Gien, the famous French tableware manufacturer, to create five patterns inspired by the 18th century.
Past collaborations also include a fabric collection for iconic fashion label Gucci, two exclusive designs composed of roses for fragrance brand Diptyque, a rose pattern for Ladurée’s macaron collection “La vie en rose”, and three designs for Parisian fashion brand Sezanne, including Petite Indienne, Ikat, and Treillages. Even the Chateau de Versailles called upon A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson to design their boutique Cour de Marbre, in the style of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XV, of course. The most recent collaboration included a capsule collection of tableware, ready-to-wear, bed linen and decorative objects with French store Monoprix.
Stepping away from home decoration and into the world of fragrance, A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson also presents a collection of three intoxicating perfumes wrapped in their own custom paper, each one whisking you away to another era. The perfume “Bien Aimée” with its floral notes, takes you on a stroll to the gardens of Versailles while “Joli Bois” sets the scene, and the plant-induced scent, of a meeting between a young woman and the King of France. The third perfume “Tison” is composed of smoky and woody notes and evokes the warm glow of a fireplace. The latter also represents the flame that long burned for the Marquise de Pompadour.
Another notable creation by the innovators behind A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson are fashionable silk scarves and twillys. While these perfect Parisian accessories are inspired by the historic prints of several of the domino papers, they prove a timeless accessory. And what better to complement your home décor than a matching scarf?
What’s next for A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson? Keep an eye on this dynamic duo whose creations are certain to keep us inspired in the present day while reminiscing of 18th century French savoir-faire for many years to come.
By Kasia Dietz
Top image: Boutique Antoinette Poisson, photo Anne-Charlotte Moulard
Side image: Atelier Antoinette Poisson, photo Anne-Charlotte Moulard