In mid January, I joined Grange Furniture on a tour of their furniture manufacturing facilities in Lyon, France. This French manufacturer, makes everything by hand from this factory of 100 craftspeople in the mountains, above the culinary capital of Lyon. Started in 1904, Grange was one of the first French furniture companies to export its reinterpreted period-style furniture the 1980's, when they first entered the U.S. market. Seeing the way a chair makes its way from a piece of lumber to the retail floor, I was able to experience why this 30 step production process is so time consuming, and how the human hand is integral each and every step. When an order comes in, it gets made. Follow along as I take you behind the scenes through their factory, sharing the varying stages of production, from woodworking to painting to assembly, using 19th century methods with 21st century techniques.
A large sideboard from the Haussmann collection made of Cherry wood with leather panels in the Directoire style
The wall-o-blades for precision wood cutting
It all begins with raw lumber that is then crafted into chairs, chests, armoires and more
A craftsman taking measurements for a piece before he cuts the lumber
Each piece has a template that the design is based upon that then gets used for consistency's sake
We walked by some drawers that were being sanded, this is the way they keep the components organized and the same craftsperson can work it
An elevated table on wheels keeps pieces at eye level for detail work. This dresser was making its way to get stained.
When a piece goes into their spray booth for painting, they let the first coat dry for six hours. It then gets sanded, and a second coat of color is applied. It then receives a third coat of paint, and a lacquer or patina finish is added.
The Provence Chair in black is drying and on its way back for another coat of paint
This is where things get fun- I love saturated bright colors, so I was fairly mesmerized at this part of the process
The current color range on hand at the factory
This is how the color and finish chips are viewed in their shops and showrooms, and there are over 75 finishes and wood stains to choose from.
After the tour, we made our way down the mountain, past raspberry fields into town, where we visited Grange's Lyon location, right in the center of town
The front entrance features a beautiful room, fitted in wood paneling from an old chateau. I love the contrast of old and new, with the current Grange pieces.
As one of the best known furniture brands in France, they introduce new pieces twice a year. Their strength lies in creating accurate reproductions with French heritage roots.