Astier de Villatte — Process

Artistic inspiration and creative energy drawn from things forgotten...

Astier de Villatte — a mash of story and soul between Ivan Pericoli and Benoît Astier de Villatte in Paris — produce an eclectic collection of artisanal items, such as tableware, candles and incense, each phenomenal art pieces handcrafted by skilled artisans. Dedicated to creating beautiful objects, they also work to revive the functionality of forgotten relics from the past. This combination sets Astier de Villatte apart.

"We are intoxicated by the beauty of the past and want to bring back some of those fading pleasures." — Benoît Astier de Villate

Astier de Villatte has built a story that tells of two people that met by coincidence at an art school in Paris, at a historic residence for artists in Rome, and at an atelier back in Paris. It tells of how the creators make ceramics following inspiration over strategy, how they make perfume that evokes nostalgia for a certain place, and how they replicate that smell of printed books with printing techniques that have been in danger of becoming completely obsolete. Despite living in this fast-changing world, Astier de Villatte create not so much against the grain, but with a devotion to time and processes that serve their vision. Each product from Astier de Villatte contain human stories that arouse lyrical sentiment. "Paris is one of the most important themes for Astier de Villatte. The Saint-Honoré store in Paris is a live character that epitomises the brand's identity. It feels like a small treasure box with a window, we just keep trying to create ceramics to put in that treasure box." — Benoît Astier de Villatte
Image of Astier de Villatte boutique, on rue Saint-Honoré, in Paris.
Astier de Villatte collection, featured in B magazine.

CLAY & PROCESS: Terre Noir, which means 'dark earth' in English, is sourced from the Paris Basin of the Seine River. It is then mixed with local spring water to make clay. Crafts people at Astier de Villatte prefer to knead the clay by hand, so it is not perfectly smooth — a signature look of the brand. The clay is then shaped by mold and left to dry by air, depending on the season it can take anywhere from two days to two weeks. The piece is then scored and hand brushed before going into the kiln at a low temperature. The signature white enamel is then applied, and dried for a whole night.

Astier de Villatte have collaborated with a wide range of makers and artists. One of those being painter and sculptor Setsuko Klossowska de Rola, wife to the late French painter Balthaus. Her cat series for Astier de Villatte, including the Cat Incense Burner and the Cat Teapot, are steady sellers with their fans. While Setsuko's collections are classic, contemporary ceramic artist Serena Carone's works are freewheeling. Her mugs, known as Ring Mugs, reveal the brand's playfulness. "The Ring Mug was an object I made while thinking of my daughter. I was playing with clay because I was out of ideas. I quite liked the result. I brought the Ring Mug to my first meeting with Ivan and Benoît. I proudly took out the mug and the two shot puzzled looks at me, as if to say, "Just a mug?" But when I pulled my finger out from the handle, they understood the design and roared with laughter. The said they mistook the ring for an actual ring on my finger. A few days later I started making samples." — Serena Carone, Sculptor for Astier de Villatte

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