WORLD OF INTERIORS, always a great resource for the unusual, recently wrote about Maison du Pastel, a treasured old French pastel manufacturer in existence since 1712. I made their shop a must see on my quick trip to Paris in mid January. The tiny atelier in Paris, open on Thursday afternoons only, is hidden in a courtyard in the Marais. This firm has been attracting artists and amateurs alike in this same location since 1912. While newly cleaned and slightly updated, it appears much the same today as it did when it first opened its’ door; a welcoming front entrance, a long wall of painted drawers, open shelves holding boxes of colors, a well used wooden counter, charming student lamp and two enthusiastic, knowledgable young women to open your eyes to the world of pastels.
The firm is now owned by a cousin of the three sisters who ran Maison du Pastel for many years. Isabelle Roche, a former engineer, and her now associate American Margaret Zayer, research, formulate and create new pigments in a charming stone farm building about an hour outside of Paris. Remnants of earlier generations lurk in boxes and drawers as inspiration and history. From Volcanic Orange to Imperial Purple, each with its own special number, the powders are mixed to exact specifications with secret formulas housed in a special binder.The color choices are now up to 913.
We are in the midst of creating a new tile palette. I was inspired by the range and depth of the colors, from soft pastels and neutrals to rich and intense brights. There is a sophistication and artist quality to the material and a sense of organization about how to think about color. My own special box of colors should arrive soon and I plan to make it a centerpiece of our new launch.
Isabelle Roché / Margaret Zayer
La Maison du Pastel
20, rue Rambuteau
Tél. : +33 (0)1 40 29 00 67
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