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La boiserie by Rinck

January 2019

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For more than two years, while our interior architecture studio has been working on a Louis XV interior-design project, we have been documenting the creative process. These slices of Rinck life are precious treasures for our archives, tracing the birth of a boiserie de style, from the first sketches to the scale drawings, from the sculpting to the gilding. This information serves as testament to our method as applied to neoclassical interior architecture – one of Rinck’s specialties since the late 19th century – as we design interior décors that satisfy our clients’ express wishes and precise tastes.

But let us first remember what the Louis XV style is: a moment in French history that followed the ennui of the old court of Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, sullied by bigotry and a far cry from the era of pleasure that marked the great king’s younger years. Upon his death, after a 72-year reign, the stifled aristocratic youth intended to pursue amusement, which could only strengthen the regency of Philippe d’Orleans, which was just beginning. The regent, being such a bon vivant that he might be characterized as a “partier” today, sought to be a protector of arts and culture. Libertinism overtook Paris and was swiftly reflected in interior décor:  the rocaille style, Rococo’s French counterpart, made its present felt during the regency, initially with flamboyance and then in milder expressions during the personal reign of Louis XV. Palmettes, batwings, and shells became ubiquitous features of the ornamental repertoire. Boiserie was installed in more personal, private spaces, expressing an enchanting, exotic ornamental language exuding grace and lightness. So what if the old king’s reign favored ornamentation with warlike themes? The new century was about having fun! Musical instruments were juxtaposed with baskets of fruit, arabesques, and animals in decorative boiserie, while expanding trade in Europe brought back many outside influences that would soon come to be carved in chinoiserie, turquerie, and other lighter forms of exoticism.

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New colors, too, appeared. Who cared if the former reign was content with mere white and gold? That was fine, of course, for receiving rooms, but elsewhere there were daring forays into shades of blue, gray, yellow, white moldings. A new fashion soon became de rigueur: boiserie à la capucine, meaning bare wood with neither paint nor gilding.

In the video accompanying this article, you will see how we created our own version of the Louis XV style for a classic interior décor in white and gold, incorporating many different ornamental features from the animal realm. This boiserie was designed in our Paris creative studio before being manufactured in our own workshops in Bourg de Péage in France’s Drôme department. A seamless process of start-to-finish creation that we carefully preserve, honoring the great legacy of the ensembliers décorateurs of Faubourg Saint Antoine, where Rinck has been serving its clients since 1871.