Since 1935, La Maison Pierre Frey has made a point to celebrate artisanal interior design as well as the specialized knowledge and dedicated craftsmanship that makes it possible.
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That goes a long way toward explaining why the family-owned French textiles brand known for their ability to give customers exactly what they want has stepped in to acquire Bernard Thorp, the London-based experts in bespoke screen-printed wallpaper and fabrics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Although the acquiring brand is known for its deep French roots and a sense of stewardship of the country’s interior design legacy, bringing in Bernard Thorp will allow the company to tap into English aesthetic sensibilities, as well as its commendable work ethic and design wisdom.
For 51 years, Bernard Thorp himself and a tiny team of three printers have carefully screen printed wall coverings and fabrics ranging from cotton to suede from the brand’s studio in Norfolk, England. Clients can select from among 470 patterns and 300 colors to create their custom work, resulting in the possibility for one-of-a-kind designs available in sizes as small as just five meters of material. Under the acquisition, the Bernard Thorp team (consisting of two customer service and sales representatives and three printers) will remain.
As a company with its own belief in the value of made-to-order wovens, the chance for Pierre Frey to add bespoke, screen-printed wallpaper to its portfolio while preserving Bernard Thorp’s legacy made perfect sense. “The printing process they use is remarkable and unique, yet this gem was in danger of disappearing for good,” founder Pierre Frey explains to PRO. “We feel so lucky and proud to have saved a craft that was about to be lost, and to continue our mission to offer unique products that are not found elsewhere on the market.”
Bringing Bernard Thorp into the fold is just the latest manifestation of Pierre Frey’s focus on broadening its offerings through acquisition. Since the 1990s, the company has rounded out its classical and contemporary fabric offerings by absorbing storied textile brands like Braquenié, Boussac, Fadini-Borghi, and Le Manach. More recently, the Maison acquired Irish wool textile brand Sequana, partnering on a collection launched last season that centered on traditional patterns.
At a time when supply chain snags have made the process of fulfilling custom orders more challenging for some, the hope is that injecting Bernard Thorp’s customization capabilities into Pierre Frey’s product offering can continue to prove that there’s real, lasting value in well-honed artisanship that draws on time-honored traditions. Expect to tap into Bernard Thorp’s made-to-order services in Pierre Frey’s U.S. showrooms by early 2023.