The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès was created in 2008, reflecting the core commitment to the practice and transmission of artisan excellence that has underpinned the house of Hermès from its beginnings. Central to the Foundation’s activities is the valorization of artisan skills and expertise to the public at large, expressed a broad range of programmes and support to that end. Two major programmes — the Skills Academy and Manufacto, the Skills Factory — offer concrete answers to identified needs in the worlds of design and artisanship today.
Artisanship as a sector is too often overlooked by the public at large. Convinced of the importance of raising young people’s awareness of artisan careers, the Foundation launched a new programme for schools in 2016: Manufacto, the Skills Factory. Pupils discover artisan skills by making objects of their own and observing professional artisans at work. The scheme’s pilot year demonstrated the beneficial outcomes of the artisan-led workshops for individual pupils and class groups: participants acquired new skills and greater self-confidence, while learning to collaborate and support each other in the group sessions. The programme is goal-oriented, with a finished product, while at the same time encouraging participants to engage with others and make new discoveries at each stage of the process. Pupils in the six classes taking part in 2016 showed genuine enthusiasm for the practical, hands-on experience of making: this aspect of the programme was the key to its unmitigated success.
Manufacto, the Skills Factory complements the Foundation’s Skills Academy, established in 2013: held every two years, the Skills Academy enables professional designers, artisans and engineer to work together over a nine-month period. Both programmes reflect our commitment to encourage innovation in design and artisanship, in response to society’s emerging and future needs.
Reflecting the Foundation’s emphasis on long-term collaboration and the development of its activities over time, Manufacto is being rolled out progressively, towards an annual programme of twelve workshops per class, across the school year. The scheme’s pilot year, in 2016, was made possible through the support and enthusiasm of our partners, in particular the Paris Board of Education, Les Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France apprenticeship scheme, and the Camondo school of design and the applied arts (Paris). In 2017, Manufacto was extended to twenty classes, thanks to our partnership with the boards of education in Créteil (south-east of Paris) and Nice, and its collaboration with the Villa Noailles in Hyères. Now, in 2018/19, we are delighted to welcome the Lyon Board of Education to the scheme, extending Manufacto to a further fourteen classes.
We all share the same commitment and enthusiasm to the programme’s continued success, for our young participants.
— Catherine Tsekenis
Director of Fondation d’entreprise Hermès