The court of Auditors drew up a report very severe on the Mobilier national and the manufactures des Gobelins, de Beauvais et de la Savonnerie that depend on it. Hervé Lemoine, director responds to the Court’s observations, and says that he is ready to shake up the uses.

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LE FIGARO – The Court wrote that the presidency, the ministries or the embassies do not want more of the Furniture collection. What are you going to make your 130.000 objects?

Hervé Lemoine. – A large part of them are happily deposited, including castles such as Chambord or Azay le Rideau. All in all, we furnish 600 places in France and abroad. But the departments are conspiring against him more and more the antique furniture. The taste has changed, and it must be acknowledged that the seats in Empire are not always ergonomic. The solution, for us, is to develop, through our workshop of research and creation of contemporary furniture. Even if this means that we can respond to calls for tenders and public orders.

it would have to be that your productivity is to reset the level. The court of auditors compare your prices to those of the private sector, and this is not to your advantage…

One must compare what is comparable. The private workshops do not restore the historical collections, they are working on other types of parts, with a requirement of a different quality. They produce the carpets or furniture that require other materials or other actions as ours.

The Sèvres factory sells part of its production. Why would you prohibit?

for ten years, the subject is on the table of ministers of Culture in succession. In addition to a question of establishment status, which prohibits us today to develop a commercial activity, there are brakes to political and social. It should, however, rethink our economic utility, on the margins of our cultural role and heritage. Why not start in serial production of high-quality without competition to the market of course? We have catalogues of exceptional models, prototypes. All the furniture Paulin, for example, has been created here. And yet, it is re-released as in private homes.

And your reservations? They crouleraient under the objects redundant, and would be very poorly managed…

We attacked for a long time to do an inventory of our collections. We can not say that the Furniture is a vast cavern of Ali baba, dusty, and poorly managed. The Court proposes to implement manufactories of the Gobelins, the paris workshops, and reserves of Rungis in Beauvais: this would require the construction of new premises, while our capital budget is 400,000 euros. It is unrealistic. On the other hand, it is clear that we could consider a broad policy of deposit of the furnishings previously intended for the apartments of the royal residences, which could reach Versailles, Compiegne, or Fontainebleau, and that we can’t use for furniture. Other objects become “unnecessary” or redundant and could be decommissioned.

“The best would be to give that which is downgraded to an association, Emmaus or the Secours populaire in order that these pieces of furniture can find a second life”

Hervé Lemoine, director of the national Furniture

You’re going to sell the family jewels?

Certainly not. But we have a lot of current furniture, so that it cannot be deposited as outdated or old-fashioned and it could be sold. But the idea is not to organize a garage sale of State property, if only to avoid destabilizing the market. The best would be to give that which is downgraded to an association, Emmaus or the Secours populaire in order that these pieces of furniture can find a second life. I don braderai nothing. I just want to refocus the Mobilier national on its two primary missions: the creation and the valorisation of decorative arts by the furnishings of our official places. It is thanks to him that France has managed to build sectors of excellence of design of furniture, carpets, and upholstery and maintain a decorative art and French and know-how are exceptional. The royal manufactories, today the national, are the breeding ground of the great houses of luxury, that the world envies us.

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