Interview: Meet the Founders of IMPRESSION ORIGINALE 1024 720 Mathilde Habert

Interview: Meet the Founders of IMPRESSION ORIGINALE

<>Meet the Founders
Impression Originale wraps

IDEALIST: We love the original, colourful, and creative world of Impression Originale, can you tell us how it began?

I was inspired to approach the art of wrapping gifts in a novel and creative way, founded in ethical sustainability.

Claire and I give priority to creativity and we have no limits so, like most businesses, we had an idea and we’re growing with it.

Creative Beginnings


Welcome to our world!

With the aim to make a lasting impression, Mathilde Habert and Claire Commeau founded Impression Originale, offering exclusive luxury wrapping paper and couture bows and ribbons. A year on, with stockists such as the Conran Shop, Harvey Nichols, Château de Versailles and Paris department store Le Bon Marché, Mathilde tells us more.


IDEALIST: For someone new to your brand how would you best describe it?

What do you remember when you receive a gift?

For us it’s the emotion that you feel, the hidden message within in the gift, the time and care it beholds. We believe that true luxury is the attention to detail and the unique emotion you experience, which will stay with you long after the gift is gone. Our aim is to rethink the art of giving with our beautiful products.

Being Friendly with the Environment

IDEALIST: Can you explain your commitment to the environment and the art community.

Our business is built on good ethics with all products responsibly made in France using 100% recycled paper. Caring for the environment is about the different decisions we make everyday, such as where we source our paper and what kind of supplies we work with. We left nothing to chance. In parallel, we decided to give a crafty touch to our business, going back to a local approach in production whilst always keeping our eyes open for new inspirations and artists.


“we offer original designs, printed on 100% recycled paper made in France in a sustainable and ethical manner.”



We’d love to know your process of finding and collaborating with artists.

You would be surprised, the process is actually quite ad hoc. We select the artist by “coup de coeur” (roughly love at first sight for the designs), whether we like the style, the spirit or a particular design. We usually approach the artist (or get approached by artists) and if a specific design matches our collective artistic orientation, we agree to work on an original design. We work with the artist to best format it for our wrapping format and technical specifications and they sign each design. It’s a fun and very creative process.

100% Recycled I Ethical I Original Designs

IDEALIST: What sets your products apart form other gift wrap?

“Daring to be different”

170617_003_photo Benoit Martin

In a nutshell we would say that we offer original designs, printed on 100% recycled paper made in France in a sustainable and ethical manner.

Our wraps are on XL sheets, which are substantially larger than the current standard in the industry. We also use a mechanical printing process, which gives very deep and colourful prints and makes this glossy aspect. Each wrap is doubled-side printed with a grid to make sure you get this perfect cut and we suggest matching ready-to-use ribbons and bows to compliment each design wrap.

We also ask our designers to sign their artworks which we think is quite unique in the wrapping paper world. Our inspiration came from artists signing their artwork when they create luxury pieces such as a scarf for Hermès (Claire is coming from textile design so that explains a lot!). It’s a nice way to recognise the unique artistry that goes into each work.


IDEALIST: Are you able to tell us about any bespoke projects you have worked on?

With the Musée Rodin in Paris we have been asked to work on a surprise project. We have chosen one of our collaborative artists to develop a bespoke design based on the beautiful statues of Auguste Rodin and gave it a modern twist.

We feel very lucky to be able to work with these beautiful names and very inspiring places. We have also an on-going bespoke project with the Château de Versailles, where we have developed some commissioned designs based on the castle’s iconography. The designs are gorgeous and we cannot wait to see the final results in their boutiques next year!

From Seedling to Flowering

IDEALIST: How your business has grown?

We are just about a year old and are happy to see that our products have been well received as we are not only selling design wraps, we have a philosophy behind it, and I believe this makes the difference in our clients’ eyes. Our current stockists are: the Conran Shop, the Centre Pompidou, the Bon Marché, Harvey Nichols and we’d love to add other boutiques and museums to our list.

Atelier Cadeau Créateur Impression Originale
Workshop: Sarah Matthews 1024 362 Mathilde Habert

Workshop: Sarah Matthews

<>Paper Engineer
made in the UK

Nice to meet you Sarah. Who are you?

‘Paper Engineer’ would have been my dream job as a child, had I known of its existence.

Well, it would have been a close second after professional Ballerina anyway. I have been a maker for as long as I can remember, from my earliest memories folding origami penguins and cutting paper doll chains, to graduating from my Textile Surface Design Degree in 2011 with a graduate collection of paper jewellery, to now spending my days buried under paper in my studio in Nottingham, cutting, folding, gluing and interlocking to create innovative and playful paper designs.

Meet Sarah

About me

“I am a design-enthusiast, sucker for good packaging design and self-proclaimed perfectionist, who loves to explore, wear stripes and nest when not in the studio.”

Interview_SarahMatthews_Giant Rose_IMPRESSIONORIGINALE
FROM 2D to 3D

How do you call what you do, as a professional?

When I’m asked what my job is, I say “Paper Engineer”. To me, this simply means a designer who transforms paper from 2D to 3D, by creating sculptures or pop-up mechanisms. Having said that, I would also describe myself as a papercut designer, as a significant amount of my work is also two dimensional, layered papercuts.

I design these papercuts on Illustrator, and send them to my plotter to cut (a machine similar to a laser cutter, but with a blade rather than a laser), before finishing the detailed cutting by hand with a scalpel as unfortunately my machine isn’t perfect and I always need to ‘tidy up’ the detail by hand.




Tell us how is your typical day going by.

What are the extraordinary things happening?

I was born in Sheffield but lived in London for the majority of my adult life so far, before moving to Nottingham last year. When I lived in London I was working full time in the product development department of a jewellery company, and doing my own work on the side. I had always wanted to try and do my own work full time but completely lacked the self-belief to take the plunge and go for it. When I lost my job due to my employer’s financial issues, I decided to take it as the push I needed to try and turn my ‘side-hustle’ into a full time job. As London is a really expensive place to live, I decided to move to Nottingham, where my mum lives, to save some money while I was taking the first steps to build up my business, which is why I’m here at the moment.

To be honest, I am so busy with work at the moment, and earlier this year I managed to buy my first home, which is in Sheffield, and all of my spare time is being spent working on the new house as I am renovating it before I move in, which is so exciting, but the downside is that I haven’t been able to get out and make the most of what’s going on in Nottingham while I’m here.

I can’t wait to move to Sheffield – hopefully it will be very soon now! I love Sheffield, it is where I was born, and is so vibrant, with loads of lovely independent shops, cafes and restaurants, and so much gorgeous green space.


PAPER SCULPTURES “Rooster” and the “Lobster hat” [Originals]


What is it like to be in your studio?

I like to listen to music while I work, particularly anything I can sing along to, and which makes me want to dance… My musical (not so) guilty pleasure is late nineties/early noughties hip hop and R&B. Sometimes it can get a little lonely being self-employed, so if the loneliness is getting to me I like to have films/TV on in the background so I am listening to people talk… I think in a strange way this makes me feel less like I am on my own.

I like to have a scented candle or diffuser out to make my working space feel calm, but nothing too strong as they can give me a headache! My favourites are fresh, herbal scents and I find Anthropologie is great place to find them.

Sadly I don’t have a little companion of my own yet, but I always had pets growing up and can’t wait to get a dog in the future. I’m obsessed with maltipoos and chow chows and am a total sucker for fluff. I follow so many dogs on instagram!


Paper is central to your work, can you explain why you choose this medium.

I studied Textile Surface Design at Buckinghamshire New University, but decided during my degree that I didn’t really enjoy the fabric ‘end result’ of my projects as much as I enjoyed the ‘paper-based’ sketchbook and paper maquette stage of my projects. Fortunately we were quite free to do what we wanted, so I ended up making a collection of printed and folded paper jewellery for my final collection. After graduating, I continued to experiment with paper as a hobby, but it has since turned into my full time job!

“I love paper: it is the most readily available, affordable and versatile material, with limitless possibilities.”


Present us your “copyright” creation. The one you are most proud of.

He took a really long time to make, but I was really happy with how he turned out!

I think I am most proud of the paper flamingo I made for GF Smith. I was challenged to pick my favourite colour and make something in that colour using their lovely papers. I chose pink and used it as an opportunity to make a flamingo which was something I had wanted to do for a while.


Now, close your eyes and tell us how an ideal world looks like to you.

Full of colour and happiness, and the perfect balance of nature and design.


Walk us through one of your artworks you developed in collaboration with us!

First, I designed the shapes on Illustrator, before sending them to my plotter to cut out. I cut the teepee shape out of both wrapping paper and normal paper, so I could back the wrapping paper with the normal paper to add strength. I then glued the wrapping paper to the normal paper, and scored where I would need to fold.

I then folded along all of the score lines. I then added some gold paper behind the door. I trimmed down the bamboo sticks to size and threaded them through the cuts in the paper, then lifted up each side of the tent to check they met perfectly at the top.

I then tied some beads and feathers to the top of the front face, and finally tied the four bamboo sticks together at the top.

Step #1


Step #2

Step #3


Step #4


If shapes and curves were emotions, which one would you be?

That is such a hard question! Visually, I love angular, geometric shapes, but I think if my personality was a shape it would be much softer, but still symmetrical, so perhaps a circle… I would describe myself as soft, patient, compassionate and a bit of a perfectionist, so I think ‘soft but symmetrical’ sums me up pretty well.

Want more?

Join the world of Sarah

“I have already picked out my future dog’s name – ‘Crayon’! People seem to either think it’s the cutest name or the most ridiculous name!”


miniatures contact Sarah Matthews




Interview_SarahMatthews_Bright Geometric Shapes_IMPRESSIONORIGINALE
Workshop: Damien the leather Compagnion 1024 683 Mathilde Habert

Workshop: Damien the leather Compagnion

<>The passion of a Craftsman
Meet the Companion

Damien, how did you specialise in Leather?

As a child, I was day dreaming that later I will become a car designer… So I naturally sought for a a vocational training, which proposed practical teachings. In France, the best training in this area is given by “les Compagnons du Devoir“.

I believe that the best way to learn in craftsmanship is to evolve slowly and see all the aspects of work. The vocational training with the Companions is exactly doing this. You learn step by step, in a process that lasts 7 years. In the first years of my training, I realised that I would get more opportunities working as a leather craftsman than as a car designer.

Thus, I started my « Tour de France » of the Companions in 1997. I was 20. The first city I headed to was Bordeaux, then I went to the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium (with Delvaux), Switzerland, Morocco, then I came back to Paris for Louis Vuitton (design office and studio). I finished my “Tour” with Céline in London.

Damien, the leather wizard


The ``Compagnons du Devoir``

The Compagnons du devoir proposes a traineeship based on a vocational training which is divided in 3 steps: first you join as an ” Apprentice“, then once adopted by the companions Community you are upgraded to “Aspiring Companion” to carry on your vocational training. At the end of the traning, you are required to submit your “Masterwork” which is submitted to the approval of the Companions’ Board. If accepted, you get the title of  “Compagnon”.


How did you ``Tour`` shape you?

My “Tour” with the Compagnons du Devoir was extremely important for the young man I was. Despite its name “Tour de France”, I undertook most of my training abroad where I was lucky enough to meet wonderful professionals who greatly inspired me. I am still in touch with them today. I was 20 when I joined the Companons, which is very late. Usually, you join when you are 14. So I was more mature, I guess and more determined in learning to become as skilled as possible.

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What moves you?

Why do I like so much what I do? I think the most important thing is the smile of appreciation on my cliens’ face when they see what I have done. Inspiration can take many shapes. But I am most inspired by simple things. I rely on my wild imagination to give a twist to my creativity. For example, I can come up with a twisted swirl of leather, after looking at an ivy on a tree.


The 'Masterwork' is the final step of the Companion's training. What was yours?

My Masterwork was a travelling writing case. It was tan (camel colour), hand stitched with a white 12 strings threads, with crushed raspberries coloured Alcantra panels. On the outside, there were some yoks at the corners, stitched in white thread again. It looked like an old luxurious case, similarly to the ones Hermès did.


Tell us about one of your outstanding projects

The infamous Charlie Davidson approached me with an incredible project, he designed a unique seat and was looking for someone who could manufacture it. It is truly an impressive piece, it is a long seat shaped in a black leather corset on the outside and pink in the inside. The foot are in the shape of stilettos…  I was very happy to be able to give “life” to this beautiful seat.

I also participated in the interior design of some mega yacht and super yacht. We work on unique leather pieces, such as wall panels, flooring, staircases handrails or even buffalo leather bathroom walls…

I have also been asked to install some eel’s leather inside a chandelier. Oh! and yes… once I have been asked to cover the interior of gym bells with galuchat, which is the leather of a ray fin, one of the rarest leather in the world.

Charlie Davidson_Object of Desire

OBJECT OF DESIRE [Design Charlie Davidson].


How do give life to your artworks?

I usually start with sketches, which I validate with the Client. This preliminary phase can stretch a bit depending on the Client. I only start a project once my Client is fully content. I also validate the colours, the type of leather in this phase. Then, I will start what I call “the development”, which starts with a prototype. The prototype enables us to adjust the concept before I start working with the real material. It often have “carte blanche” and I skip the preliminary phase to start straight away on my vision…


What is your favorite colour (on leather)?

I prefer bright colours. Instinctively, I would go for blue… wait, no… I also like red, or green.

Thinking about it, I am not sure whether I care for the colours or on how the light awakes the colours. Without light, colours are still, boring. In my experience, most of the people will choose neutral colours on leather, either grey, black or white. I try to bring them to more lively colours or natural colours.

“In Notting Hill, in London,

I covered a desk with pistachio green leather

with a bright fuchsia leather in the inside.”

The workshop, the perfect cut, Damien leather Craftsman.


How does the gilding process work on leather?

  1. First, we sketch what we would like to be gilded. It is called a “stamp”
  2. We use this stamp on a hot press (around 120°c)
  3. We take the leather piece and position it under the press.
  4. Then, we press firmly for a couple of second on the leather, with a gold leaf in between
  5. Voilà!
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What makes a beautiful leather piece?

When I look at a beautiful piece of leather, all I see is the know-how it required. You can feel the passion, the time spent over it. You also understand the time and expertise it required… The French know-how in leather craftsmanship is an expression of a certain everyday sophistication.  The training with the Companions is quite extensive as it lasts 7 years. In France, we are very lucky to have such a craftsmanship inheritance. Of course, trends are mutating, but the level of requirements is transferred and it keeps diffusing in our modern days.


What is the most beautiful leather piece you have ever seen?

One of the most remarkable leather gem I have seen: a trapeze travelling back from 1900 in one piece of crocodile leather. It was a very long bag (90cm) with a doctor lock, in camel colour. This was incredible… and it was forgotten on a shelf in the Louis Vuitton mending workshop. When I saw it, I could not believe my eyes…

Want more?

Join the world of Damien


ElleDecoration cover




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