Peau de Chagrin was started on a belief that things should be made to last and as sustainably as possible in a world of limited resources. To that end we searched for artisans that had the traditional skills to make our objects so that they would last and paid them properly for their valuable knowledge.
It wasn't until Sofie, the creative director of Peau de Chagrin, stayed at Monaci delle Terra Nere, a hotel and farm near Mount Etna in Sicily that it became evident that we embraced many of the values of the Slow Movement. Monaci delle Terra Nere is run on the principles of organic farming, sustainability and biodiversity, putting emphasis on local knowledge and skill.
These ideas were first championed as a reaction to the disposable nature of contemporary culture and consumption by Carlo Petri, the founder of the Slow Food Movement. The values of focusing on local produce, grown organically and cooked using traditional methods, which often take time, and financially respecting the farmers' work were soon applied to other aspects of living such as the Slow City movement and the general concept of Slow Living emerged.
The idea of valuing the objects you use or the food you eat and the way they are made or grown is a powerful counter force to the modern need to constantly consume with no thought for environmental impact or the people whose work is being consumed.
One of the important beliefs of the Slow Movement is to not only consume responsibly but also less, a belief echoed in Balzac's novel la Peau de Chagrin and one of the reasons why we chose the name for our company. The thoughtfulness behind one's actions is an essential part of the Slow Movement and it helps to give balance to overly complicated consumer fuelled lives.
Without consciously setting out to embrace the Slow Movement we have found that our approach to Peau de Chagrin chimes closely with its principles of production and living and we hope that this is evident in every object we make.
Photos by Allan Griffiths. Copyright Peau de Chagrin 2016.