Ampersand is our first collaborative project between a talent, an artisan and a brand that values the unison and need of both to deliver excellence. Joane Chopard, Swiss architect and owner of architecture firm Maison Joane Chopard (joanechopard.com) is the talent. She chose the name Ampersand ( “&” ) in recognition of the value of her partnership with the artisan, carpenter Jacques Burkardt, who helped her realize the precision woodwork for many of her custom made homes.
Joane employs same principles when creating homes for her clients. In that scenario, she is the brand that values the unique life stories, experiences and perceptions of others and provides a platform to amplify them.
Same applies to materials she chooses, careful study of their potential in a passage of time, space and light and by expert hand of a skilled craftsman, result in a space filled with authenticity and of timeless quality. A home accepting of its owner, irreplicable and unique as every passing moment of our experiences.
Since she had started her architecture firm in Switzerland in 2004, the recipe for creating timeless and authentic homes was to employ the unique dreams and life experiences of her clients, local artisans and her own talent to execute homes that project timelessness and authenticity. Building a home with Joane Chopard is a pursuit of essence and excellence.
Although Joane obsesses over shades of grays, she is everything but a minimalist. She invites us to bring our own experience and fill a space with our own stories. She is - an experientialist. Her different hues of grays don't have name labels, they are a different perception of light. As an architect, she does not impose, but enables. Prepares a space, in the most careful and studied way for us to bring forth the very unique and individual way that we perceive the world around us.
Jacques workshop crew in Geneva..shared loved for woodworking, suspenders and bicycles. ( Jacques is the second from left on top row).
Jacques Burkardt owns his carpentry workshop in Geneva. He refers to himself as a “Maker”. It was very difficult to get a picture of him or an interview, but since Joane has been working with him for over a decade, she contests that is just how he is- completely focused on creating beautiful woodwork. The rest is noise..He made our wood boxes for the love of high quality material that would otherwise go wasted. Interestingly, neither Jacques or Joane own any social media profiles.
Besides woodwork, Jacques and Joane share love of grey markers.
How it all happened:
First time I heard about upcycled oak wood containers and Jacques' woodshop was on a picnic in Prospect park. Joane and Jacques were thinking for a while how to use all the quality wood remnants from large woodwork of cabinets and furniture. Jacques was finding a way to compress the scarps into a pristine new wood sheet. Joane had nesting wood trays in mind that would utilize the existing router and machinery sizes. To propel the idea forward, without hesitation I extended the invitation to create an exclusive product for Conmateria. It was the pull of synergy of minds that was hard to overlook and the prospect of creative conversations and watching such a minimal object chiseled to perfection that seem too enticing to leave me restless and wanting to see it to conclusion. From various cafes, Conmateria office and sidewalks of Manhattan, the idea of a stackable boxes started to emerge, seemingly simple “architectural “piece. Making the lid perfectly latching, consideration and testing of wood finishing and packaging- should a box be shipped on another wood box? Many test on ground at Jacques workshops and Joane kept elaborating on problems invisible to many, as if working under a microscope ( I am tempted to say of a Swiss watchmaker ).
Joane's idea plans.
Routered shapes from compressed oak board.
Samples of Ampersand symbol burnishing.
Architecture envelopes the experience and perception of objects around us and gives everything context. It captures light, that makes us perceive, most elementary thought. Containers encompass, enclose and organize our objects. Here are Joane's thoughts and why's on Ampersand :
Ampersand boxes are designed with essential lines that frame simple daily acts and rituals. Their beautiful oiled oak translate Conmateria's ideal of being confident and honest to the intrinsic quality of the matter. They have been thought and made with love to provide useful companions that you're pleased to touch and hold, and glad to see get the patina of time.
***Unfortunately this product is no longer available***