À Table Avec: Arnold d’Alger

À Table Avec: Arnold d’Alger

For Arnold d’Alger, a party is “a time for pleasure, excess, sharing and truth!” ». And for The Socialite Family, undoubtedly the most beautiful way to inaugurate “À Table Avec”, our new series of reports specifically dedicated to Christmas and New Year celebrations. Plunge into the preparations every Sunday until Christmas alongside individuals with diverse and inspiring styles. Sit at their tables and discover their secrets, from their family traditions – perpetuated or reinterpreted – to their personal lists of favourite haunts. Take their advice on board and create your own whimsical banquet, an intimate dinner or, like the founder of the bazar d’alger, “setting a traditional table, without really knowing the rules”. A personal interpretation of the parties where he helped as a child, with parents who passed on to him the art of entertaining and an undeniable capacity for hospitality, now comes to life at home around a key element: the china on the table. Pre-loved pieces, each of which he personalises with a first name or an enchanting decoration. His brushstrokes come to life on the curves of plates, saucers and dishes of all kinds that come and go through the guests’ hands with the passing of the hours. The sort of crazy but enjoyable ballet that only this time of year is capable of creating.

You can find the two others episodes of À Table Avec, devoted to Chloé Hennequez and Alexia Duchêne in our Portraits section

Table avec nappe blanche chez Arnold d'Alger
Table basse en marbre chez Arnold d'Alger
Table de fête avec nappe blanche chez Arnold d'Alger
Huîtres et citron chez Arnold d'Alger
  • Arnold, would you introduce yourself, please?

Arnold

I launched bazar d’alger in December 2019 after a decade as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. Bazar d’alger is a creative workshop and is also my home, along with my partner, Bruno Della Mattia, who is a web developer. Bazaar d’alger is a multi-faceted entity. The principal activity focuses on upcycling old tableware by decorating it. I paint with gold – and to order – onto old china that I find second-hand at my clients’ request, then I refire it to give it a second lease of life. This work extends to ceramic tiles, which I paint to decorate people’s homes. I’m working on kitchen and bathroom decoration at the moment. I pass this technique on in workshops, too, when I welcome people who are curious about the craft who want to wield their brushes amid the peace and quiet of our plants.

  • As a craftsman, you create unique porcelain tableware. What does the art of entertaining mean to you, especially at Christmas time?
Arnold

My work has developed through a variety of media. I probably chose to try my hand at porcelain decoration because, when I was younger, my mother and our upstairs neighbour, Isabelle, used to paint china together. I must have been about eight years old. So I was intrigued and decided to take up this technique for myself (almost) thirty years later when I saw it offered in a Paris Ateliers catalogue.
As for the art of entertaining, as far back as I can remember, it has been linked with my parents’ sense of hospitality. From simple dinners to parties and formal receptions – which I was allowed to attend if I helped with the service – and which meant I could eavesdrop on the adults’ conversations. My parents always made it a point of honour that guests were made welcome, and that they had a good time. Irrespective of the logistics, the important thing was meeting or getting together.

  • Can you give us any tips for setting a festive table?
Arnold

I have a taste for traditional table settings, but I don’t really know the rules – sorry, Nadine (laughs). As I decorate my dishes, I sometimes have the pleasure of customising them for a lunch that often ends up as a dinner. I write words for each guest on their plate; I draw around a theme or according to the season. But the best friend for those endless lunches is a good dishwasher to increase the number of times you can change the plates and dishes. I like them to come and go. Because for us, a party is a time for pleasure, excess, sharing and truth!

Vaisselle blanche sur la table d'Arnold d'Alger
Nappe blanche Nappe blanche et huîtres chez Arnold d'Alger Saumon et citrons chez Arnold d'Alger

I like the dishes to come and go. Because for us, a party is a time for pleasure, excess, sharing and truth!

À Table Avec: Arnold d’Alger
Argenterie sur la table d'Arnold d'Alger
  •  Is there a dish you particularly like to make for your friends and family?
Arnold

Winter is a slower, darker, more inward-looking time that gives us bright fruits like oranges or persimmons to compensate for the vitamins we are deprived of. So I often make this orange salad, which I first tasted at my godmother Nikki’s house. She was a proud Irishwoman with an unparalleled joie de vivre. Oranges, red onion, olive oil, salt, pepper, and that’s it! It provides a break between two melted cheeses or two rich dishes, but we really need it to get through the winter without going under.

  • Where will we find you doing your festive shopping?
Arnold

Most likely in bookshops; they’re full of gifts for everyone and for all ages. However, when it comes to decorating my home, leboncoin is my best friend because that’s where I find china, candle holders, tablecloths, grannys embroidered napkins and lots more. As for bazar d’alger, I’ll be beavering away in the workshop to fulfil all the orders I’m already receiving for Christmas and the new year. So I’ll only be present on Instagram @bazardalger or via my website.

  • What sweet treats do you remember from childhood at Christmas?
Arnold

My favourite Christmas indulgences, in no particular order of preference (but all indispensable), are marrons glacés – or hot chestnuts, for that matter! -, candied orange peel, Mont-d’Or cheese (in abundance, please) and glasses of mulled wine as soon as evening approaches. But the memory that is handed down in the family is the hot chocolate with whipped cream from Cazenave in Bayonne. An utterly delicious treat! It’s gorgeous with buttered toast… But that’s only for the truly brave.

Plats chez Arnold d'Alger
Assiette dorée sur la table d'Arnold d'Alger Assiette dorée sur la table d'Arnold d'Alger

As for the art of entertaining, as far back as I can remember, it has been linked with my parents' sense of hospitality.

Poule au pot chez Arnold d'Alger
Table basse en marbre chez Arnold d'Alger
Table avec nappe blanche chez Arnold d'alger
Coussins colorés chez Arnold d'Alger

Deco inspiration...

Arnold d’Alger and Bruno Della Mattia

Arnold d’Alger and Bruno Della Mattia

It’s not just an impression. Arnold d’Alger’s universe is as talkative as he is! We wouldn’t be surprised if all these little things, including the plants, started talking to us. After reading this article, you’ll...

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