Manufacto in London
For 30 pupils at the Eleanor Palmer School in London, 2020 drew to a close with a unique collective adventure. At the initiative of Hermès Great Britain, and in collaboration with the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, a group of primary-school pupils took part in the Manufacto programme over the course of ten weeks, from September to December 2020. Pupils aged 10 to 11 were guided in the step-by-step creation of a wooden lamp by craftspeople from the Goldfinger Factory, a local social enterprise initiative supported by the Foundation. The pupils were thrilled to work with wood, to learn how to saw, sand, and screw together the various components, and to discover the rudiments of electronics, and their pride in their finished objects was clear to see. The experiment was a resounding success for these young apprentice carpenters, as well as for their teachers and the craftspeople who oversaw the project.
Manufacto in Milan
In spring 2021, two more classes embarked upon the Manufacto adventure, this time at the initiative of Hermès Italy. At the Istituto Comprensivo Statale “Trilussa”, pupils aged 9 to 10 crafted a pouffe, while pupils aged 11 to 12 made their own boomboxes. Over the course of twelve sessions, they were accompanied by two seasoned craftspeople in these creative, educational projects, which were designed with Mercurio, a local charitable organisation that aims to combat educational inequality and disengagement by promoting inclusive models. From February to May 2021, the pupils discovered the various aspects of upholstery: smoothing, painting, cutting, sewing, sticking and backing. Successfully mastering these gestures proved both surprising and satisfying for the pupils, who completed the experience with a new outlook on craft métiers.
Manufacto in Copenhagen
In the first semester of 2023, the Manufacto programme began a new adventure, this time in Denmark, a country renowned for its woodworking. In Copenhagen, twenty-one pupils aged between 13 and 14 from the Sølvgades Skole were introduced to artisan trades. Accompanied by a carpenter from the Brdr Krüjer workshop, they made a wooden lamp, step-by-step and from start to finish. Over the course of twelve sessions, the group collectively discovered wood and its various properties, as well as the tools and gestures for working it and the forms it can take: each pupil was thus able to produce and personalise their own lamp in a contemporary design.
These three Manufacto experiences overseas attest to the ever-growing interest in the programme in France and beyond, and demonstrate the possibilities for transposing and adapting it to each new environment. The success of these pilot projects suggests a promising future for Manufacto in partner countries, expanding its reach as it continues to introduce new generations to the world of craft skills.