Stéphane Parmentier puts a graphic spin on hardware design with divine new collection
‘Going into the archive room and finding a handle is part of the magic of working with them’, says Stéphane Parmentier musefully, when recalling the many years he has worked with Maison Vervloet.
More than a century old today, the Brussels-based atelier that creates high-end handcrafted hardware is a favourite among top-tier designers like Paris-based Parmentier. ‘Everybody in my field loves this company, as it makes no compromises on style or quality’, he says, calling the Belgian family-owned company ‘one of the best hardware companies in the world.’
Maison Vervloet is known for its extensive collection of door handles, but most of all for its exceptional team of artisans who don’t shy away from any technical challenges. With Parmentier’s ‘Starlight’ and ‘Stardust’ collections, both launching at Maison & Objet in September, they venture much further than the usual door, window and furniture handles. It has become a true lifestyle collection, an idea that arose after many conversations. ‘Stéphane didn’t have just one idea, but ten at a time,’ says Isabelle Hamburger, director of Maison Vervloet. ‘When he presented his sketches to us we [were] convinced immediately – stunned that he understood the direction we wanted to go in so well, without having to explain it.’
‘Motu’ totem set from the Starlight collection by Stéphane Parmentier for Maison Vervloet
The industrial-style Stardust collection consists of door handles and doorknobs that integrate Parmentier’s signature ‘double zero’ motif, developed further through elongations and distortions.
The perfect perforations are found here – described by Parmentier as ‘tattooed on the collection like an industrial code’ – were a technical feat that proved challenging to the artisans on the atelier team. To Parmentier’s delight, they persisted – and succeeded in creating meticulous circular perforations even in the smooth curvatures of the handles.
Alongside these straightforwardly functional pieces, Parmentier, renowned for his knack for graphic experimentation, also created the enigmatic ‘Starlight’ collection, which comprises limited edition objects ranging from desk accessories, a side table, a box set and a totem set. These last two, named ‘Motu’, can be seen as families, or ‘petites architectures that live on their own or in a group: like people do’, explains Parmentier.
‘Each box is a small altar devoted to beauty and craftsmanship’, says the designer, who looked to the idea of gods and symbols from Maori culture for the objects’ aesthetics. The solid bronze totems, which have an aluminium base covered with pure gold, have no function as such, Parmentier admits, ‘but on the other hand, I would say that beauty is a kind of function for me. I tried to have this feeling of graphic and vibrant shapes. They are very sensual and mysterious at the same time: like little gods keeping an eye on you.’§