The pewter countertops or comptoir (pronounced “con-twur”) have been part of Parisian public life for centuries, bearing silent memories of an illicit meeting between two lovers, a break-up, barroom banter, a stranger passing through, a newspaper boy rushing off, two smalltime gangsters and, a little way off, a writer immersed in his newspaper review.
The comptoir bears the physical traces of endless comings and goings, the pounding of beer glasses, the tapping of coins to get the barkeep’s attention, the dent of cufflinks, and the hardboiled egg that shatters into a million pieces as it strikes the pewter surface. Polished daily, over time it develops a unique colored patina and a pitted surface that flickers and flashes like stars and lightning. The comptoir is an institution in France, an authentic relic of a bygone age. It is this fine tradition that we are working to preserve.
No tradition can be preserved without technical innovation and artistry. The traditional pewter comptoir is part of the furniture in France: its classic shape and finishings have remained unchanged since 1930. We felt it was urgently in need of an update, so we came up with a contemporary new redesign. Le Comptoir by Xavier Lavergne is a workshop dedicated to the legacy of the pewter countertop. We work meticulously day in day out to recast this French icon, to bring it into the 21st century with a dynasty of contemporary pieces that make a mark on their day – the antiques of the future.
Xavier Lavergne, inspired by the Bauhaus model, has had us establish wide-ranging collaborations with craftsmen and artists that allow us to develop custom moldings and one-of-a-kind pieces. So many different worlds feed into this all-star team. With the help of traditional techniques, new technologies and an inventive spirit we are striving to meet our ambitious goals.
Le Comptoir by Xavier Lavergne is a brand inspired by the digital arts, video games, animated films, graphic arts, street art, hyperrealism, comics, tattoo art, engraving, chasing, biotech and organic art. Our approach is either purely aesthetic or makes a social or political statement on the hot topics in our communities.
Xavier Lavergne facilitates design meetings with the artists who appropriate the countertop for themselves and propose their own original back story; pewter, like a wall, a fabric, becomes witness and messenger.
Our mission, what gets us out of bed in the morning, is to send out into the world a generation of comptoirs that will take their message to New York, Singapore, London and Tokyo, that will show up one hundred years from now in an antique store, old club, stylish hotel or collector’s home, still bearing the trace of a human story, a story of nights out, partying, new friends, drinks, against the backdrop of bright city lights reflected in the metallic gleam of a scintillatingly scuffed pewter piece.