The world of furniture and lighting artifacts: joint-interview in partnership with Revelations

On the occasion of Révélations, Biennale of Crafts and Contemporary Creation, Ateliers d'Art de France and the Paul Bert Serpette market organized the meeting between a designer and an antiques dealer around a common theme.
Cross interview produced and realized by Ateliers d'Art de France, organizer of the event.
Revelations - May 23 to 26, 2019, Grand Palais

Bruce Cecere is a metal craftsman and makes custom furniture in his workshop in Pantin. Passionate about different metals, he talks about his activity alongside Adrien de Liedekerke, antique dealer to Paul Bert Serpette at the Saint-Ouen flea market, who also loves to transform weathered furniture.

Tell us in a few words what characterizes your work?

Adrien de Liedekerke: My job is to bargain hunt, even if I do not particularly like this word, but it is also thinking and restoring These last two notions are important because we must know how much we buy, how much we can sell and what are the different modifications that we will be able to bring to the objects that we found. We also have to ask ourselves "Is it worth it? », financially. 

Bruce Cecere: for me, in the custom made of furniture and lighting, it is a question of trying to go to the simplest, to innovate in the technique. In the way that I work, I attach myself to go to the lighter ... to break, to find a way to go always more in the finesse As the metal is a heavy material, I really try to bring lightness.

You both have a common area of interest, furniture and lighting, what brought you there?

Bruce Cecere: it's the diversity of techniques and shapes that seduced me. It's less repetitive than when it comes to layout. After having made stair rails for 10 years, I do not could do more. And in the context of furniture, we can really use a wide panel of techniques, materials, colors. It's very interesting ... As I said, the search for lightness, form and balance, fascinates me a lot. I discovered it in a workshop where I went. They made Art Deco furniture. So there was a notion of heritage, and I immediately entered this universe. The historical research and the proximity with the antique dealers, the chance to see iconic pieces, the production of the 40's-50's centuries, everything was a real source of motivation for me.

Adrien de Liedekerke: For me, it comes from childhood. My father and my mother brought me at fleas. I continued to go there very regularly, even without my parents, without telling me that I would work there one day. I have also studied letters. But, as I went to a lot of flea markets, objects began to pile up at home. I wanted to resell those which I did not want any more ... everything started like that, until I took a booth. I started with industrial furniture because it was "fashion". There was very easy to purchase, and the object being in very bad condition, it involved major restorations. It was an aspect that I liked a lot. I liked to restored pieces in my workshop. I learned to work on metal and wood. After a while, I had the impression to had saw enough so I started to open myself to other things, like lighting.

In your respective activities, what is your relationship to time and transmission ?

I have a daughter and I have the feeling of less transmitting to my customers than to her. In the same way that my parents took me to auction houses or flea markets, I am happy that my daughter is moving into a world of objects, which are ours, to my wife and me. And in terms of time ... this word concerns me about my work, I realize that there are things made in the 80's, and I say "this is really nice, these pieces have their place at the flea market » I see current objects, which were part of our childhood, become more interesting. Regarding the immediate temporality in my job, I really feel like I'm running out of time. Especially since a lot of things are going on Internet now and things are going very fast. When we are an antique dealer, we take care of everything, all by ourselves, trying to stand out as much as possible.

Bruce Cecere: I join Adrien, in my activity too, we miss time a lot. We have a company to run. So we have to position between the time spent to make his business work and the time spent in his real job. As Adrien, I find that it goes faster and faster. As much as when working on the command, the notion of deadlines is very present. You have to spend the time on a piece, you really have to go to end and not deliver something unfinished. It's really important to take the time. For me, the transmission is also important. I always make sure to have one or two interns, and at least one apprentice per year. Pass on his knowledge as much as his passion, it's very important for me

Bruce Cecere, when you're working on a piece, are you imagining his life outside your studio?

Bruce Cecere: yes, absolutely. When I start to work on a piece, I always try to find out where it will be going, what it going to become, for knowing how I'm going to build it. These are really the first questions that I ask myself. It is very important for me to know its function, where will it be and what it should look like. This will guide my way of working and the attention I will bring to certain peculiarities. I think a lot about that!

Adrien de Liedekerke, how do you select the parts you offer? How do you know that they will be appreciated, noticed, bought?

Adrien de Liedekerke: It is important to know that there are different types of buyers, including decorators, architects and dealers, who will focus on the notion of quantity. There is also of course the aesthetics aspect. At flea market, most of the time, the merchants set up a very particular universe. Me for example, I want to stabilize in opaline ceiling lights to be identified and become a real referent. And in terms of what will make the object work, there are not really rules. We realize that people are not closed minded. 

How do you integrate the buyer into your creation / selection process?

Adrien de Liedekerke: I do not really integrate him... I am committed to following my line, that I fixed to myself. I can have either the favorites, or the desires of tests and depending on the results, I decide or not to continue. At fleas as elsewhere, there may be a time when you are only going to sell a certain type of furniture and after nothing. So we can find ourselves a little annoyed with a large stock and finally people come back. We must especially say that beauty does not exist, that it is in the eye of the one who looks. And the beautiful is also deformed ... So, we can wonder when does one have to prioritize one's own taste ... even if, at first, it's very personal

Bruce Cecere: Yes it is there from the start. Generally, our buyers come with an idea, a concept. In my workshop, it works to the order so it is necessarily integrated. And I will guide it especially in the manufacture and I will tell him what is possible or not in the way of manufacturing. After, with the label SB26, that was created with Samuel Accoceberry, it is less the case. It is first of our desires to us, raw materials, textures, colors. That's what will motivate our choices.