Atelier Temps Libre - By Native

Meet the Maker: Virginie Lobrot, Atelier Temps Libre


Virginie's studio smells of expensive leather and freshly brewed coffee as we visit her on a sunny morning. In the south of France, the Parisian has found a slower lifestyle and creates nomadically inspired furniture that will last a lifetime.


The road to "Temps Libre

From Paris to the south of France, from art director at the large agency Publicis to self-employed furniture craftswoman; Virginie Lobrot has had many-sided changes in her professional life. While the eventful life in the French capital was still an adventure in her early 20s, the desire for change grew as time went on. She wanted a calmer and more "human rhythm" and, as a mother, she wanted to spend more time with her children.

After five years of the agency lifestyle, including the stress that comes with it, the Frenchwoman retrained as an upholsterer and started her own business: Temps Libre - or translated: Free Time. Because that was precisely the motivation for the change in her professional career: to take time, lean back and stay free. Her goal was to design her own furniture that would not only be practical and comfortable, but also easy to disassemble and reassemble for environmentally friendly transportation.


The discovery of Slow Living through crafts

For Lobrot, the path to craftsmanship meant above all a personal change: "I found a peace there that still does me good every day," the designer tells us. Working with your hands and feeling like you're creating something in the process are two aspects Lobrot closely associates with a slower-paced lifestyle. The work in her small studio takes place in a focused and quiet way. The furniture she designs and makes will last a lifetime. At the same time, her chairs and armchairs are not only robust, but also deeply thought out in terms of sustainability: materials can be replaced and individual parts can be added to and even restored.

In this way, high-quality craftsmanship contrasts with the throwaway culture in which mass-produced goods are made in factories under time pressure and disposal and replacement are pre-programmed. 



Atelier Temps Libre

Virginie Lobrot in her studio


Find inspiration and explore harmony

Designers, artists and architects of past times serve Virginie as a source of inspiration. Her chair design was influenced, among other things, by the field furniture of the Napoleonic army and the legendary "Indian Roorkhee Chair", because even then these chairs should be simple, comfortable and practical.

In Virginie's workshop, a modern homage to these classics is created with great attention to detail and perfectionism. Their design is in no way inferior to their predecessors in terms of functionality: Like the original, her designs require no tools in the (minute) assembly process. The chairs are unglued and intelligently constructed: For added strength and stability, the joints sit tighter as soon as you take a seat on the chair. At the same time, they are not only extremely practical, but also very comfortable and convince with a pleasant sitting position.


Sustainable oak wood for furniture production

 Chair legs and edges made of certified oak wood


The importance of sustainability

Like Slow Living, sustainability in design and craftsmanship makes for a better quality of life. For Virginie Lobrot, it is not only important to work with toxin-free and natural materials, but also to pass on these standards of quality to her clients. In this way, she contributes not only to a sustainable way of working, but also to sustainable consumption. You can find out more about natural materials in the furniture and home textiles industry in our Sustainable Materials Blog Article.


The link between craftsmanship and design

Virginie Lobrot could have chosen only to design her furniture or to handcraft it. For the Frenchwoman, however, both are important parts of the creative process and go hand in hand with each other. While design is all about sketches and ideas, the manufacturing process is all about thinking things through and putting them into practice. This is how not only beautiful but also comfortable and practical furniture is created. Both participants take on an indispensable role, which Lobrot unites in itself and its work.


Live slower and more relaxed with Slow Living

After Virginie Lobrot told us about her shift to Slow Living, her business and her motivation behind it, we asked her to complete the following sentences:


  • Slow Living is good for me because... I want to enjoy every moment at work and in everyday life. A beautiful work takes time, in the conception, the development and the implementation.

    • Describe Slow Living in three words: step by step.

      • When I feel like slowing down.... I like to spend my time hiking. I look at nature and its truthfulness.



      Safari Chair


      Workshop Temps Libre


      old sewing machine

       All images by By Native, text byTim Fabiszewski