The art of straw marquetry is having something of a moment and a champion of the craft is Paris-based maker Lison de Caunes. From her buzzing atelier tucked away in a quiet courtyard in the 6th arrondissement, Caunes employs this exquisite technique to cut, flatten and paste blades of straw onto surfaces to create brilliant patterns.
Using a technique in existence in Europe since the 17th century and made popular during the art deco period – by her grandfather, designer André Groult, in particular – Caunes has built a thriving business and counts Jacques Grange, Peter Marino and Jean-Louis Deniot among her faithful clients. “I never say no to a request,” says Caunes. “I’ll always find a way to make it afterwards.” In addition to bespoke creations for private homes, Caunes makes site-specific works for marques such as Guerlain and Hermès.
Using straw sourced from three farmers in Burgundy, who tint the naturally durable material using fabric dyes, Caunes and her team create patterns that catch and then reflect the light. Caunes is happy to accommodate colour requests – hues range from indigo to emerald green – “but nothing lighter than the natural straw, so no pastels or white.” Patterns include starbursts and assorted geometric shapes, such as chevrons, often embedded with organic elements such as butterflies and flowers. “I love this peaceful, Zen technique,” says Caunes, “and I also love that the pattern possibilities are endless.”