In this day and age of use and throw away, it’s always wonderful to hear of a story that does completely the opposite.
And that’s exactly what the business of Jean-Luc Chaillou is all about, because he takes old cognac barrels and crafts them into artisan pieces of furniture. And ex-cooper, Jean-Luc works from his workshop in Saint-Germain-de-Vibrac, giving a new lease of life to barrels that have come to the end of their usefulness in aging eaux-de-vie, usually due to damage or general wear and tear.
His business – called ‘Barrique à Brac’ – has been going since 2007 and produces furniture such as chairs, armchairs, other furniture and ornamental pieces. He also produces bespoke items to order.
The creation of each piece takes a number of stages. These include first the selection of the right barrel, followed by sanding, cutting, transforming, staining and finishing. He sells his wares directly to the public, both from his workshop and antique and craft fairs and events.
If you fancy a cognac barrel piece of furniture in your home, Jean-Luc’s creations retail for between 50 to 1000 euros, depending on the size.