© Sophie Zénon
Steven Leprizé, cabinetmaker and Villa Albertine resident
Winner of the Grand Prix for Innovation, Steven Leprizé is a renowned cabinetmaker whose innovations never cease to surprise and delight. A true pioneer in his field, he combines creative work with revolutionary technologies in a career dedicated to reinventing materials. Recently awarded a residency at the Villa Albertine in Brooklyn (Industry City), he is keen to push back the boundaries of high standards, while passing on his expertise to younger generations.
Published on 23/08/2023
Born in 1986, Steven Leprizé is the grandson of a carpenter and joiner. Immersed in the craft from an early age, he decided to devote himself to it after obtaining a BEP (vocational training certificate) in fittings, followed by a baccalaureate in cabinet-making. He then began training in the building trade before taking a DMA (artisans' diploma) in cabinetmaking at the École Boulle between 2006 and 2008, graduating top of his class. During his studies, he discovered drawing, design and contemporary art. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three, he set up his own company, ARCA (Atelier de recherche et de création en ameublement), based in Bussy Saint-Georges. Since 2011, he has been teaching at the École Boulle, where he passes on his expertise to new generations of cabinet designers. That same year, he was awarded the Grand Prix de la Création by the City of Paris.
Winner of the Grand Prix for Innovation in 2018, Steven Leprizé joined the Sauvons les métiers d'art collective in 2020, becoming one of its spokespersons. He denounces the reform that led to the new Diplôme des métiers d'art et du design (DMA), which benefits the luxury industries to the detriment of students.
In the early years of his work, Steven Leprizé and his partner developed an "inflatable wood", known as "Airwood". This revolutionary technique involves "applying marquetry to a flexible material, allowing the wood to be distorted by the injection of air". Shortly afterwards, he designed a new process, "WooWood", which made it possible to replace drawers with elastic pockets. For this invention, in 2017 he received the Liliane-Bettencourt prize for the intelligence of the hand from the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation in the "Exceptional Talents" category.
Today, he runs his company alone, working in a 550 sq.m workshop. He offers a range of creative services, including a design office integrated into the workshop, which allows him to produce made-to-measure pieces, as well as publishing and prototyping. He is also involved in a thesis project with the École des Mines on the thermal spraying of materials on wood.
Committed to the quest for innovation, Steven Leprizé has perfected wood lamination, a two-millimetre veneer of wood on metal, designed to make wood more resistant. With this concept, he wanted to push standards to the limit, moving from centimetres to millimetres. This futuristic technique won over Hermès, for whom ARCA produced a collection of 200 bags, the Kellywood.
In the future, the cabinetmaker-entrepreneur is keen to continue pursuing ambitious challenges, and plans to create a new autonomy in metalworking. At the same time, he wants to expand internationally with his increasingly outlandish top-of-the-range projects. In autumn 2022, he represented the worlds of arts and crafts and design in New York at the prestigious Villa Albertine.
Steven Leprizé wins the Grand Prix de la Création de la ville de Paris.
He wins the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation's Prize for the intelligence of the hand, as well as the "Étoile de l'Artisanat" from the Observeur du design.
He wins the Prix PME-RMC in the small business category.
Steven Leprizé is in residence in New York during the autumn, at the Villa Albertine.