In Héricourt, the rebirth of a manufacture | Hermes
In Héricourt, the rebirth of a manufacture
How can the working conditions of 21st-century artisans be reconciled with the memory of a building that is over a hundred years old? This is the project launched by Hermès with its leather workshop in Héricourt in Franche-Comté, built on the site of the Pâquis textile factories.
An early 20th-century black and white photograph gives an idea of the size of Héricourt's former flagship textile factory by the long line of workshops and the hundreds of workers standing behind its railings. Of the buildings constructed by Schwob Frères around 1900 and closed by Texunion in 1991, Hermès has retained a surface area of around 4,000 square meters, and a number of original features.
These include around twenty cast iron posts supporting the metal structure, as well as the saw-tooth roofs which flood the workshops with natural light. The deafening clatter of the 1900s weaving looms, on the other hand, is long gone. In this leather workshop opened in late 2015, careful consideration was given to the technical and acoustic comfort of the 200 artisans. A greenway has also been created to link the manufacture with the town centre.
Taking over a site with a long history, rather than undeveloped land, is not the easiest of choices. Local architect Michel Thouviot and Hermès together worked on the rebirth of this former textile factory in Héricourt, located 15 minutes by road from Seloncourt, Hermès’ first leather workshop in the Franche Comté region. This textbook example inspired two new brownfield site redevelopments in 2017: the Ganterie de Saint-Junien glove workshop in Haute-Vienne took up residence in a former wool processing factory, and the Maroquinerie de Normandie leather workshop at Val-de-Reuil in Eure moved into a former electronics
Montbron, from Charentaise slippers to Hermès bags
Montbron, in its picture postcard landscape, was sliding into oblivion. The opening of the Hermès leather workshop created over 250 jobs that contributed to the regeneration of this town in the Charentes area of southwestern France.
Hermès employs 13,500 men and women, including 4,500 craftspeople, who form the first métier of the house. This land of hand changes and hires nonstop. To train, pass on, develop, ensure well-being, health and solidarity… Our ambition is to stimulate the personal growth of everyone involved.
Hermès endeavors to exalt, in twenty or so métiers, the most beautiful materials offered by nature. Our artisans’ skillful hands respect leather, silk, fabric, wood, crystal and precious metals. To preserve, optimize, revalue and draw… Our duty is to achieve the sustainable use of these resources.
Hermès owns 41 of its 52 manufactures in France and more than 300 stores around the world. Our proximity with suppliers, partners and territories is cultivated in the field. To fertilize, mesh, renovate and be committed… Our role, as an environment-friendly company, is to build sustainable ties.