Meet Vincent Roy, the Frenchman behind furniture brand Wood’n Design

Since its inception in 2013, his brand Wooden Design has evolved into one of India’s most sought-after places for well-crafted wooden pieces.

Published: 14th August 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2022 05:27 PM   |  A+A-

​  Vincent Roy at his workshop.

​ Vincent Roy at his workshop.

Express News Service

India’s most sought-after furniture maker happens to be French! Meet Vincent Roy, who made Puducherry his home about a decade ago, and has since been crafting timeless mid-century pieces using traditional Indian woodworking techniques.

Picture a glass-topped wooden table with a jagged inlay of dark and light wood originally sourced from scraps. Or colourful plastic cane is seamlessly woven into the upholstery of a sofa. All is possible when the creator is Puducherry-based furniture designer Vincent Roy (35).

Since its inception in 2013, his brand Wooden Design has evolved into one of India’s most sought-after places for well-crafted wooden pieces. Its USP? Reclaimed wood. Roy mainly uses reclaimed Burma teak sourced from old Colonial bungalows and Chettinad mansions, dating as far back as the 19th century. Back then, houses in south India used teak rafters as roof supports, especially for Madras brick roofs. This timber is not only well strengthened, but also well seasoned, making the furniture not just strong, but sustainable as well.

Besides Burma teak, Roy also uses other reclaimed wood like Indian laurel, hardwickia and jackwood as well as new imported timber such as oak, ash and walnut. The new wood is mostly used for Vastu-inclined clients who prefer unused wood. Roy’s repertoire ranges from chairs and loungers to tables, cabinets, beds and even lamps. He also routinely creates custom pieces for top architects and designers in the country, besides catering to a simultaneous demand to furnish cafes, boutiques and consulates. Roy’s forte is mid-century furniture, and he explains, “This style is light and minimal, and goes equally well in old houses as well as modern apartments.

The style enjoys huge popularity all over the world because it’s warm, cosy, minimal and timeless.”
Now, this furniture could have been crafted anywhere, so why India? And why Puducherry? Always passionate about antiques, graphics and design details, Roy recalls that at age 20, he took up an apprenticeship at a furniture workshop in Paris.

A year later, he met French carpenter Patrick Lafourcade, who was then settled in Puducherry. Keen to learn chair-making from the master, Roy came here in 2008 to complete his apprenticeship. Once that was complete, he moved to Australia, but soon realised that India, and specifically Puducherry, was where his heart was.

“Puducherry was once a French colony and I learned about this name during my childhood. Just the name of a city ending with ‘cherry’, which means ‘my love’(chérie) in French, is already charming enough to make you want to visit the place, is it not?” he asks, adding, “Plus, it has very unique characteristics— we are surrounded by sea, forest, village and a city, all within close proximity.”

Added to that was the diversity he found here––the eclectic community of locals and Tamilians as well as the Aurovillians and Ashramites who came from all over India and across the world. Mostly everyone understands English, so it is easier to communicate as well, he says. “The best part though is the high standard of craftsmanship.I really appreciate how local artisans continue to keep their skills alive and pass them on to their families,” he says.

In future, the cabinet-maker wants to work more with pure lines to leave space for texture.“I want the customers to experience, touch and feel our products. I also want to continue making sustainable and durable design,” he concludes.(Wood’n Design products are retailed online at www.woodndesign.in and can also be purchased from their workshop in Puducherry)



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