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Intaglio Fine Paper

by CH Contributor in Design on 07 January 2010

by Zeva Bellel

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A couture paper company based in Paris, Intaglio turns the rare art of foil stamping—an inkless printing process that presses pigment into paper using weight and heat—into utterly stylish and sophisticated stationery.

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“Our designs are really influenced by the technique,” says co-owner Stephan Le Sauter, who learned the tricks of the trade while working at a printing press in San Francisco after college. “My roommate got me a job taking care of the paper stock. After a couple of months I was doing my job in three hours. The rest of my time I spent learning how to engrave,” explains Stephan, who returned to Paris after three years in California to round out his education with three French master craftsmen.

Unlike his tutors (Meilleur Ouvriers de France committed to perpetuating classic French graphics), Stephan decided to combine age-old techniques with modern typography for a twist on tradition. Instead of classical curlicues and Napoleonesque frou, he proposed innovative, understated fonts and designs on luxurious, impeccably printed paper. From the second he placed his inaugural card (his son's birth announcement) in his shop window in 1996, he realized he had tapped into something.

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"One mother came in, then another," remembers Stephan. "And I realized that I could do it the old-fashioned way and become a printer for everybody's needs." His flagship, offices and printing press now take up an entire street in the quiet corner of Paris' 17th arrondissment where he and his family live. A second shop, located near the Luxembourg gardens in the space that A.P.C. used to occupy, opened last fall.

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From wedding invites and birth announcements to business cards and thank you notes, Stephan and his staff make every Intaglio design to measure. After you choose your typeface, layout, paper stock, and pigment, they make a magnesium foil stamp die (carved metal plate) with your design. Following hand finishing, they place it in an original Heidleberger machine where it seizes, heats and depresses pigment, producing a fine debossed effect. If you'd like an embossed detail added, Intaglio has a battalion of handmade engraved stamps to choose from, too. The overall result is as beautiful to behold as it is to touch.

In addition to their custom products, Intaglio also sells ready-to-wear collections of artisanal cards, notebooks and paper towers at both of their Paris locations.

Prices span €3 for greeting cards, €150 for 100 business cards, €300 for 100 birth announcements and start at €5 each for wedding invites.

See more images after the jump.

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