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Irèneirène, the brand specializing in vintage design answered our questions. Meeting with the two founders and directors of the brand, between Metz and Paris.
What is Ireneene?
Sara: Irèneirène is first of all a site of vintage furniture but not that, from next year, we will enrich our collections with contemporary creations. It is a complete universe for the home, of good taste and at affordable prices. The idea is to make confidential objects available to as many people as possible, often reserved for a financial or intellectual elite. This online site has given birth to a second activity: interior decoration for individuals and professionals. This decoration service has become, like the site, the heart of our activity.
Why is this name so unusual? Can you explain it to us?
Esther: Irene is the first name of Sara's grandmother. It was the latter that gave him a taste for design and vintage. The dubbing of the name refers to the fact that we are two, to everything that reminds the family and groups. Our slogan is also: FFFF - Family Furniture For Friends, family furniture for friends. It is an intergenerational brand, which highlights the past and the links that unite us with furniture.
How did you meet?
Sara: 8 years ago, I set up a small contemporary art gallery in Paris and Esther came to work with me. From there was born our friendship and our desire to continue working together.
Where do you hunt for furniture?
Esther: We started in flea markets and garage sales, as well as on auction sites and specialized sites. Then over time, we have created a real network of professionals, who contact us when they have parts to offer us. Thanks to this we are often the first on this furniture, which allows us to have exclusives and low prices. Then, like detectives, we track the source and history of each of the objects, which often come from afar.
How do you retype furniture?
Esther: We try as much as possible to keep the spirit of the furniture, to stay in its time, its spirit and its style. It is vintage that is inscribed in contemporary, by reusing the techniques of the time with more recent materials for example.
Any advice for budding bargain hunters?
Sara: The first step is undoubtedly to be well informed. The aesthetic is of course important and the instinctive side too. But it is always interesting to contextualize the era. Many books on design from the Second World War to today, in Italy, in the Scandinavian countries, in France, a little in the United States, retrace the history and the evolution of design. These homes that have brought out new ways of doing and seeing design. It's like doing homework at school. During the holidays, we then make a maximum of flea markets and garage sales. We must favor the province where the prices are more attractive. We then meet amateurs and professionals who have a real passion for vintage and who can offer you incredible products. Esther: The Internet can also be a way to find out prices and ratings so you don't get tricked into buying. Being eye-catching by reading and learning allows you not to have to pay more than the market price and to avoid errors in flea markets.
Can you tell us more about your decoration service to individuals?
Sara: We have everything, coaching for young people who do not have big means, but also huge apartments where it was necessary to redo the tiling, electricity, tear down walls… We wear the caps of architect, bargain hunting, decorator… We always mix contemporary and vintage in the interiors to create dialogues between the past and the present. We also take care of projects for professionals such as restaurants or shops that we build. At the start of the 2013 school year, you will be able to find Irèneirène's editorial line on their site with new exclusive contemporary selections, in their new office-boutique in the 17th arrondissement in Paris, if you want to see the objects in 3D, or at the show Wondervintage at the Commines area from September 20 to 22, 2013. More info on irenirene Our practical decoration videos