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François-Xavier Richard
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François-Xavier Richard © Eric Flogny
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François-Xavier Richard

One of the advantages of arts and crafts is working with living materials.

François-Xavier Richard is a designer and printer of hand blocked wallpaper. A highly skilled Dominotier (maker of decorated paper), he is helping to revive a forgotten craft while exploring new avenues, particularly by combining traditional techniques and new technologies. 

Updated on 15/09/2021

2 min

François-Xavier Richard's family history may have marked him out for his profession: as a young man, he helped his father with the restoration of private residences. He initially turned to stage design during his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in Angers, creating theatre sets using ancient techniques such as egg tempera (water-based paint with egg as a binder), stamping and wood engraving. 

But his taste for craftsmanship and his quest for technical enrichment soon led him to wallpaper. In 1997, he was hired by Mauny, one of the last remaining wallpaper manufacturers in France. There he discovered a discipline he was passionate about and whose heritage he wished to perpetuate. He launched the Atelier d'Offard workshop in 1999, specialising in the creation of custom-made wallpapers. 

In 2017, he founded Studio Of XXI, in association with Louis Richard Marschal and Simon Plumecocq. This research, design and publishing laboratory engages in multidisciplinary explorations around a common vector: paper. 

Printing, painting, embossing, interior design... Atelier d'Offard preserves the expertise in block printed wallpapers developed by the great 18th and 19th centuries manufacturers. The company often works on restoration and reconstruction projects for prestigious clients (Château de Chantilly, Maurice Ravel's house, Institut Pasteur, etc) in France and abroad. 

A fervent defender of the intelligence of the hand, François-Xavier Richard has assembled a replica of an 18th century press himself, modified to be operated by a single person. His processes allow him to revive the techniques of yesteryear, such as toning, a velvet effect obtained with glued textile powder. The technique used to produce the blocks themselves - giant stamps measuring 50 by 50 centimetres - remains a closely guarded secret. 

The workshop recreates and invents tools to suit each project, to meet the most demanding and unusual requirements. Great architects and decorators such as Jacques Grange and Alberto Pinto have used the studio, as have international artists such as Jean-Michel Alberola, Jean-Michel Othoniel and Miquel Barcelo. Atelier d'Offard's work has also featured in exhibitions, including an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo (2018) for which François-Xavier Richard created a space using a material specially developed for the occasion: cardboard stone. 

Passionate about his favourite material, François-Xavier Richard also pursues his own personal research. Since his residence at Villa Kujoyama, he has been developing a unique paper organ. This singular positioning has made the Atelier d'Offard world renowned. In twenty years of practice, he has received numerous awards, as well as the support of the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation. 

Montage de l'Orgue de Papiers de François-Xavier Richard / 2021
Montage de l'Orgue de Papiers de François-Xavier Richard / 2021
  • 1999

    1999

    Reconstruction for the house of Georges Sand.

  • 2009

    2009

    Prize for the Intelligence of the Hand, Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation.

  • 2012

    2012

    Prize for Audacity, Les Talents du Luxe et de la Création.

  • 2017

    2017

    He works on the Organ paper during his residency at Villa Kujoyama.

  • 2017

    2017

    "Nevé" in Toguna at the Palais de Tokyo.

  • 2021

    2021

    Limited edition of the artist's book Une nuit sur le Mont Chauve (Editions de la Différence) in collaboration with Miquel Barcelo and Michel Butor.

The Institut français and the artist

Former laureate of the Villa Kujoyama (a residency for artists in Japan supported by the Institut français), François-Xavier Richard worked on the Organ paper in Japan. The organ will be shown for the first time during the European Heritage Days, on 18th and 19th September, 2021, at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in partnership with the Villa Kujoyama. 


 

 

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