A fashion-filled journey into sustainable furniture design,
This commitment to tradition and environmental responsibility is at the heart of the design journey of Mademoiselle Jo furniture,
Mlle Jo was founded by an experienced professional in the fashion industry,
Joan Pepperon, a testament to the enduring importance of craftsmanship and ethical production methods.
Mademoiselle Jo’s primary goal is to offer a diverse range of objects that harmoniously blend heritage and cutting-edge technology.
Made with meticulous care in Belgium and several European locations using sustainable materials, Mlle Jo’s creations feature a mix of wood, steel, brass and leather, showcasing the designer’s favorite materials.
Produced in small series, each piece is designed for versatility, longevity and the cherished tradition of being passed down through generations.
In a one-on-one interview, Joan Pepperon shares the backstory of her brand and the guiding forces behind her (amazing) creations.
What is your background? How did you come to create the Mademoiselle Jo project?
Coming from a fashion-focused background, I began a unique journey a few years ago when I launched my furniture design studio, known as Mlle Jo .
My previous experience included working for 25 years as an art director for a lingerie line, based within one of the largest textile manufacturers in Europe.
Throughout those years, I fostered an unwavering passion for precision and attention to detail, qualities that I was determined to instill in very different creative endeavors.
As the Jewelery Street beckoned to me, my heart gravitated towards furniture design, where I could create items imbued with practical functions, objects that played an essential role in our daily lives rather than mere decorative pieces.
What design philosophy guides you in developing your products?
“My initial trio of creations – a hanging console reminiscent of a swivel top, a detachable round table inspired by origami,
and seats decorated with brass inlays – laying the foundation from the beginning: a commitment to natural, durable materials, elegant and intelligent design, and an unwavering focus on intricate details.
All Mademoiselle Jo creations are steeped in the principles of purity and simplicity.
The idea for the Toupy collection, a signature of Mlle Jo’s studio, took root during a trip to Slovenia.
It was at a wooden toy store where I found myself fascinated with spinning toys while with my son, shortly after,
She came across a bird sitting on a hanging feeder, and when these two images converged, the concept for Toupy was born.
Then, the real journey begins – the design and development process, both hands-on and hands-on.
After creating a quick sketch, which I often can only decipher by myself, I make a model out of cardboard or papier-mâché.
This serves as a basis for technical considerations before moving to the actual prototype stage.
For the Toupy collection, we chose converted wood to achieve its distinctive curved look, however, creating the entire piece from a single block proved impractical.
Primarily because wood can tend to warp, and secondly, we needed to accommodate the hanging bar.
As a result, we created a range of components, carefully glued together according to the grain of the wood,
ensuring stability and maintaining the clean aesthetic of the natural material.
What materials and techniques do you use to manufacture your designs?
The Belgian design and production of Mademoiselle Jo combines fading skills such as marquetry, wood, stone, metal and modern processes
Such as liquid metal rusting, laser cutting, and multi-axis CNC rotary carvings.
From the cardboard model to the final result, Mlle Jo furniture goes through different stages of production, combining craftsmanship and technology.
Youmy side tables, for example, are made from sheet metal that is cut and bent, then covered in different layers, and a hue handcrafted with car body paint.
But it is in the set of marquetry chairs that the meeting of modern and ancient is most striking.
We use the ancestral inlay technique as well as laser cutting. The wood is roughened – by recessing the shape into which the inlay element fits – using a milling cutter.
This is the only way to maintain a flat surface in a wood like ash, whose density varies greatly. Traditionally, we used wood or mother-of-pearl species for inlay,
But we preferred the brass, which we cut with a laser before inserting it into the recesses. To ensure the accuracy of both pieces,
we use a computer program that controls the milling machine arm and the laser.