Positive Impression

In today's Industry People, Daniel O'Kane and Melody Maby of Imprimerie du Marais tell us more about how the Paris-based company developed its innovative, experimental approach to print and finishing...

If you’ve come across a particularly striking piece of print over the past few years which has left you and wondering ‘how did they do that?’, chances are it was the work of the talented folk at Imprimerie du Marais. The Paris-based printer and finisher, which operates out of a collection of specialised ateliers in Le Marais, has built a solid reputation in recent years for creating ambitious, experimental work, bringing to life the designs of many of Europe’s most respected creative studios. Today, we meet Imprimerie du Marais’ Daniel O’Kane and Melody Maby, who tell us more about the company's history, and how they developed the techniques and expertise required to create such impressive pieces of print…

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Testing raised gold foil on glassine.

Tell us what you do at Imprimerie du Marais in one sentence…
L'art du Possible; beautiful print and specialist finishing for brands, agencies and individuals worldwide.

What's the company's history, and how has it grown and developed over the years?
Imprimerie du Marais has been in the same family for two generations. The company has always been based on the same street in central Paris but started out much smaller, printing bespoke invites and stationary to order for the Paris fashion houses. Since then, the company has grown! We have developed techniques across all print disciplines, and bought up the available boutiques on our street in order to house more machines. Over the years, through word of mouth our client base has grown and we now work with clients all over Europe, New York and San Francisco as well as Australia. On top of this, the Imprimerie du Marais has also opened a studio in London to liaise with clients in the UK and abroad. We are now, as far as we know, the only printer who can offer almost all types of print and binding all on one site. Small but perfectly formed!

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Foil micro-embossing and litho print, designed by Bibliotheque.

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Imprimerie du Marais 2017 calendar, designed by MadeThought.

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Foils on transparent paper.

Imprimerie du Marais has built a reputation for unusual and experimental production methods—how did this way of working come about?
This comes really from a very knowledgable and passionate team who love a challenge! We’re very proud of how far we can go, whether that is pushing finishing technique to its limit, a new material or a unusual way of using our machinery—we always try to excite ourselves and those that we work for.

What kind of clients do you work with, and has this changed at all over the years?
We work with people who see a value in print, who see beautiful print as essential marketing. This crosses all sectors including from big brands to individuals. We have always worked with agencies and are happy to see that more emphasis is being put on print again.

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Litho and embossing for Roger Vivier.

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Litho and embossing for Roger Vivier.

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Kenzo lookbook SS16.

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Blind debossing on card.

Are there particular sectors within the creative industry that seem particularly open to experimentation and unusual approaches to print?
Working for luxury brands in the build up to fashion week is usually when we develop a real partnership to create something unique. This may involve building in a material that is linked to a collection, maybe with working lights or a thermo-reactive ink—we’re there for wherever the client wants to take it.

Tell us about the atelier structure you have at your site in Paris…
We have a section of the Imprimerie devoted to each process. On one side of rue Chapon is housed our silk screen presses, prototype making, laminating, specialist cutting and glueing. On the other side of the street are housed the foiling and embossing presses as well as two litho presses and cutting machines. In the courtyard we have singer-sewn, saddle stitch and perfect binding. Our offices are located in the apartment building one floor above the work rooms. A very Parisian setting!

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Micro-embossing on holographic foil and duplexed card for a perpetual calendar, designed by MadeThought for Imprimerie du Marais.

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Micro-embossing for Kenzo.

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Menus for Mere restaurant, designed by Bibliotheque and produced by Imprimerie du Marais.

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Micro-embossed, singer-sewn notebook by Imprimerie du Marais.

Are there any techniques or production methods you practice that are unique to Imprimerie du Marais?
We would say that we are able to apply print or finishing to almost anything, this seems to be pretty unique. Also the ability to produce complex projects in very little time.

Tell us about the most technically challenging project you have worked on recently...
We were really pleased to work on two different show invites for Mulberry, for which we had to apply layers of silkscreen ink to mirrored plexiglass. This is a really challenging process as the material is delicate and if the ink chips just a little, more will fall away. Each one had to be dried and then carefully wrapped and individually packed. As always, against the clock.

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Screen print onto recycled material, for Kenzo.

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Real wood and silver foil, for Veuve Clicquot.

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Raised foil embossing, for Ulla Johnson.

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Micro-embossing onto holographic foil.

Imprimerie du Marais' promotional projects are always ambitious—how do the ideas for these projects develop, and why are they important for you?
Whether it’s an invite to visit us at Luxepack Monaco or our famous annual calendar, we aim to always go further by showing how far we can push the machines at our disposal. We believe in print being a very unique and special communications tool so we try very hard to reflect this in our own materials. In terms of design development, we have a great relationship with our agency, MadeThought, who work with us to help deliver something special and there are so many things we still want to try!

What are your ambitions for the coming year?
To carry on perfecting L'art du possible…

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The Imprimerie du Marais luxepack designed by MadeThought.

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Textured embossing and silver foil on duplexed card, for Roger Vivier.

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Print on mirrored paper for Jitrois.

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Fabric and card invitations for Fenty x Puma.