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Ateliers SP: Artisanal Excellence at Versailles

Ateliers SP proudly participates in the exhibition “Sous le soleil des savoir-faire, Les Maîtres d’art à Versailles” celebrating the rich heritage of artisanal craftsmanship

From 19 June to 22 September 2024, the exhibition “Sous le soleil des savoir-faire, Les Maîtres d’art à Versailles” (‘Under the sun of savoir-faire, Masters of Art at Versailles’) is taking place at Espace Richaud in the heart of Versailles. To coincide with the 2024 Summer Olympics, the Association des ateliers des Maîtres d’art et leurs Elèves (‘Association of Masters of Art and their students’) and the City of Versailles are organising the event to offer the public an original cultural program highlighting French craftsmen’s remarkable work between creation and heritage.

“Sous le soleil des Savoir-Faire” reveals a selection of pieces chosen for their aesthetic and artistic qualities, modernity and originality. From feather work and porcelain to fine embroidery and cabinetmaking, it proves the creative excellence of “Maîtres d’art” (‘Masters of Art’).

The exhibition features contributions from Ateliers SP, showcasing artworks crafted by cabinet maker Frédéric Hamel and chosen for their exceptional quality. These pieces, made from exotic woods and adorned with materials such as shagreen, mammoth ivory, and mother-of-pearl, exemplify his dedication to perfection and creativity.

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The pursuit of perfection drives Frédéric Hamel to make his own tools, cut raw materials to size, and study new manufacturing methods. As for the works on display, Frédéric used a guilloche lathe (« tour à guillocher »), a very fashionable machine in the 18th century, which was particularly popular with Louis XVI. This lathe can be used to cut curves, draw scrolls, and create ornaments of all kinds. Examples of its use include engraving watch cases, timepieces, and goldsmith’s and silversmith’s items.

Versailles is a unique location for the exhibition because of its history as a city synonymous with the art of craftsmanship. The works proposed by the Masters of Art and their students reflect the approach of Louis XIV, who once made the French know-how demonstrated at Versailles known around the world. Espace Richaud offers visitors a chance to discover craftsmanship that combines tradition and innovation, demonstrating mastery of rare and precious skills.