Emery & Cie

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

I think that I must have fallen into painting as soon as I was born! 
Agnes Emery

I’m brimming with excitement about this post ~ perhaps because my favourite colour is green or maybe because the designer behind it all is a refreshing original; an eccentric lady with a talent for combining colours into deep absinthian hues, the makeup of deep dreaming and heady intoxication.

Agnes Emery, a belgian architect and designer spinning gold out of her Brussels town house, is the protagonist of today’s hallucinatory journey and who’s inspiration stems from art nouveau and Arts and Crafts to a worldly Asia, India, Morocco and 18th century Europe. Her visions are channeled into a distinctive offering of Emery & Cie tiles, wallcoverings, rugs, ironworks, textiles, paints and pottery with folky undertones and imbued with spirits of the forest.

The location of her magical showrooms themselves is poignant and intended to be so. In Antwerp and Brussels which I haven’t had the chance to visit, but also in Paris, at the heart of Faubourg Saint-Antoine, an area historically filled with ateliers and craft led workshops. The settings becomes part of her story as she explains, ” its historic roots in the craft furniture trade, and also because of the dynamism and energy generated by the uncertainty of a district undergoing radical change. –  since the 13th century cacophony of the 13th century carpenters, cabinetmakers, blacksmiths and ironworkers nearby.”

In London, Emery’s magic cavern sits in a secret 1st floor corner of Retrouvius the NW10 architectural salvage specialist, which in itself warrants a storyboard. Filled with curiosities, the space is used to reimagine and reawaken a soul in unwanted and abandoned wooden furniture and quirky one-offs, orphans of demolition, as well as modernist classics. An unmapable jumble of corridors and  stairs, in which to stumble upon Emery’s colour blast of offering is akin to finding the heart of middle earth after a long and enchanted adventure.


The origins and properties of sourced materials are important to Agnes and beautifully expressed on her portal which is filled with stories that imbue her creations with the culture of distant lands and indigenous people. The affectionate expression in and around her creations is the antithesis of today’s mass produced soul-dead goods and a clear heralding of the values base of the ancient and skilled artisans. At times a lament.

“One can certainly regret it, but in the meantime, the mere fact that such an anachronistic production survived till this day, while so many other wonderful crafts disappeared, turns it into some kind of treasure. It’s a magical shred of the past times, but unlike those circulating on the antiques market, this one’s still alive … at least, as long as we keep buying it ! …”

Agnes Emery – an old soul  that not only fell into a painting but down a rabbit hole and never came back. I for one am grateful for that.



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