Inside the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès project MANUFACTO

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Inside the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès project MANUFACTO

Reaching out across different regions of France, Manufacto reinforces the Foundation’s activities promoting artisan expertise to tomorrow’s generations

In 2020, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès continued its programme Manufacto, the Skills Factory, dedicated to artisan skills in the classroom, and guided by a commitment to promote artisan trades and their associated skills (joinery, leatherwork, saddlery/ upholstery and plasterwork) to the public.

Manufacto is an initiative from the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, launched in 2016 with a pilot programme over the course of a school year, in association with the Paris Board of Education and our partner organisations, the Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France, the École Camondo (Paris) and the Villa Noailles (Hyères). Primary, middle – and high-school pupils learn practical skills by making objects in classroom workshops with specialists in their feld – each workshop is led by an artisan, an assistant and the class teacher. Building on the success of the programme in previous years, Manufacto 2020 extended its reach to more than 1,400 pupils at 55 schools within the following Boards of Education: Paris, Créteil, Nice, Lyon, Besançon, Bordeaux, Versailles, Normandy and Occitanie (south-west France).

Reaching out across different regions of France, Manufacto reinforces the Foundation’s activities promoting artisan expertise to tomorrow’s generations.

In 2016, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès launched a new scheme to promote skilled manual trades in the classroom, in association with the Paris Board of Education, the Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France (a nationwide apprenticeship network) and the École Camondo (Paris). Each series of workshops comprises twelve two-hour sessions, held over a four- or fve-month period during the school year. The programme also includes visits to professional artisan studios, organised with participating schools. Each pupil receives their own journal, devised by the programme organisers and illustrated by Mathilde Brunelet: a fun “logbook” that helps participants to consolidate their understanding of the raw materials, tools and gestures involved in the handmaking of an artisan object. The Skills Factory enables pupils from primary to high-school age to discover the world of artisanship in the classroom under the guidance of a practising professional, assisted by their class teacher. Leatherworkers, joiners, upholsterers and plaster-workers share their expertise with pupils, who discover the gestures, techniques and tools involved in the step-by-step making of contemporary objects, using fne natural materials. Participants experience a completely new kind of teaching and learning, as they acquire craf skills handed down by the workshop leaders. Some will discover hitherto unimagined skills and aptitudes, while the workshop environment naturally fosters a spirit of mutual help and support. Outlooks evolve, and each pupil fnds enjoyment and pride in the demanding task of making of an object with their own hands. The transmission of skills helps pupils to fulfl their potential, nurture emerging talents and, perhaps, discover their own artisan vocation.

Manufacto 2020-2021 in fgures

The programme involves 57 classes (ages 9 to 16) for the academic year 2020-2021, in 55 schools across seven administrative regions: Île-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Auvergne-RhôneAlpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Normandie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie.

— 1 400 pupils
— 9 Académies/Boards of Education*
— 55 schools (19 primary schools, 32 middle schools, 4 high schools)
— 57 classes (pupils aged 9 to 16)
— 57 teachers
— 41 artisans (10 joiners, 15 leatherworkers, 12 saddler/upholsterers, 4 plaster-workers)
— A choice of 4 skilled trades: 17 joinery workshops, 18 leather workshops, 18 saddlery/upholstery workshops, 4 plaster workshops
— 13 objects designed by Studio BrichetZiegler
— 12 workshop sessions per class, throughout the school year

*Paris, Créteil, Nice, Lyon, Besançon, Bordeaux, Versailles, Normandie and Occitanie boards of education.


Caroline Ziegler & Pierre Brichet (founders of Studio BrichetZiegler and teachers at Paris’s École Camondo) have created thirteen specially designed objects (lamps, stool, portable speaker, pencil case, folding desk tidy, shelf unit, document wallet, etc.), based on a set of demanding technical specifcations. With the introduction of plasterwork in 2019, new objects were added: a plaster lamp and a wall tidy. Adapted to a range of ages and abilities, the making of each object encourages pupils to learn and apply specifc manual skills.

Check also: Fondation d’entreprise Hermès – MANUFACTO – 2019-2020 

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