We come from a vision of business partners Thomas and Laurent, to create quality pieces of fine furniture and architectural fixtures in wood and metals which are unique to Australia.
The two craftsmen originally forged their friendship during their respective studies at prestigious French University of Trades, Les Compagnons du Devoir, with finesse in both traditional and modern techniques. Their extensive training means they can construct complex and beautifully handcrafted designs.
Reuniting near Byron Bay, Australia in 2016, and together with new friend and business partner Lisa, they took the opportunity to acquire the former Mullumbimby Joinery. The business had an established clientele over 20+ years and a solid reputation for quality craftsmanship in the heart of the Byron Shire. Laurent and Thomas had embarked on their mutual dream.
About Les Compagnons du Devoir
Les Compagnons du Devoir (full name: Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France, literally ‘Companions of Duty touring France’) is a sacred and prestigious trade school for artisans dating back to the Middle Ages in France. Students are taught traditional and modern technical aspects of their trades studying with master craftsmen across France and being immersed in regional French communities and cultures. In more recent years, tours extend overseas.
Graduation rates are very limited due to the intense training schedules and the amount of consecutive years of study required.
In 2010, Companionship was recognised as “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO for its “network for the transmission of knowledge and identities by the profession”.
Laurent Le Pochat
Laurent graduated in Reims, France, 2011 as a Mastercraftsman in Cabinet Making (“Ébéniste” in French) following his seven years of study which focused on unique handcrafted skills.
Despite the fast evolution of woodworking technologies, Laurent believes that it is important to find a good balance between using new or traditional techniques and materials when working with such a pure and fine material such as timber.
Career History Highlights
- Foreman, Notre Dame de Paris, France
- Antiquities restorer, Champagne region, France
- Furniture Maker, Mortice and Tenon, Melbourne
Thomas De Toni
Thomas graduated in Reims, France, 2011 as a Mastercraftsman in Metal Fabrication and Blacksmithing (“Serrurier” in French) following his eight years of study focussing on forging skills, including locksmithing.
Thomas’ studies have taken him throughout the world and onward to Australia where he has since worked around the country, including on film sets for Hollywood blockbusters. He has now settled in Mullumbimby.
Thomas is passionate about fabricating and engineering custom-designed staircases, steel doors and windows, furniture and decorative fittings. He also enjoys mentoring apprentices.
Career History Highlights
- Set blacksmith, Thor Ragnarök, Australia
- War memorial restoration, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, northern France
- Building modifications, Museum of Fine Arts, Marseille, France
Lisa heads up our Business Development and Marketing. She has over 15 years of experience in office management and marketing.
She is dedicated to supporting customers by sharing styling advice and product innovations through our blog. Lisa is currently working on creative collaborations with Laurent and Thomas to add a new range of products to the business.