A visit to the workshop of Puiforcat

Seeing a group of people working meticulously on a tiny spoon – bending, engraving and polishing it – is immensely inspiring. When receiving the invite from Puiforcat to visit their workshop in Paris, I couldn’t have imagined it to be like this. Ancient working materials, 300 different kind of hammers and thousands of tiny iron files. A normal size tray can take up to 80 hours. I tried to fish for the price, but didn’t get an exact price. But let’s assume it doesn’t come cheap. A complete dining set can take up to three months before its done.

Trust is what we do this for
But the final result was not what inspired me the most, it was the trust you have to have as a silversmith. After a long day working on a cup or tray, you have to pass it on to a colleague who will engrave the entire piece. Yet another silversmith polishes the piece, which must be done very careful to avoid erasing the engraving. One mistake and you can start all over. Something which rarely happens according to the head silversmith.

How precious it is to completely trust your colleagues? I don’t know many workplaces where this is the case; too many people who are preoccupied with their own career paths and egos. It was refreshing to walk around and see them working, it made me long for a simple and uncomplicated life where there is no maskarade and political correct facade. But then again: maybe I’m romanticising the Puiforcat workshop. Probably.

The archives of Puiforcat revealed some amazing graphics by the way. Jean Puiforcat, 4th generation of the Puiforcat family, designed the initials of his costumers in avant-garde style. The image below for example shows the initials N.I. and the archives revealed many more, from one abstract graphic to another. Amazing!