Meet Designer Chuck Comeau of Dessin Fournir
Insights from the heartland on a company that honors American made.
Cofounder and CEO Chuck Comeau is the guiding force behind the 13 furniture, lighting, textile and wallpaper firms of Dessin Fournir. Kansas native Comeau, also the creative director of the firm, came to design from a petrochemical background.
After ventures in oil, gas and banking, what led you to design?
I’ve always loved cooking and gardening, and friends asked me to help finish a house they were building. I met Len Larson, who was supplying furniture for them, and we ended up starting the business together.
Dessin Fournir encompasses almost every phase of design—from furniture and lighting to textiles and wallpaper. What’s the common thread?
It is about quality, great design, being operationally reliable. Those are the things we strive for here.
How did Connecticut influence your style preferences?
More than 37 years ago, every fall, my wife and I would go to New England. Our first passion was Connecticut River Valley furniture, and we’d bring pieces back to Kansas. It was a never-ending inspiration bucket. I liked the way New England kept things—instead of just throwing them away, they kept them and fixed them. There’s history and provenance, the same things we try to preserve.
Dessin Fournir is headquartered in the town where you grew up. Why do you stay?
It’s the work ethic: People are hardworking, loyal, trustworthy, and when they like their jobs, they stay. There’s a quietness and slowness here that I appreciate. I can walk to the grocery store, say hi to people along the way.
Yet you set up furniture manufacturing in Los Angeles.
As a result of the movie industry, there’s a huge talent pool in L.A., a plethora of people who can do anything—carving, woodworking, special finishes, forged iron.
So, you’re a proponent of “made in America”?
We take great pride that everything but the textiles are made in the U.S. And the quality of the goods we can produce versus what you see in other parts of the world is second to none. A lot of people feel if something is European, it’s better, when in fact things are better right here in the U.S. made by people in the U.S. That’s a quality of life we have that I think is important to preserve.
And you’re involved in preserving, restoring and developing quality of life in your hometown.
That’s what gives us the luxury of having these small communities and living in them.
It sounds very Norman Rockwell. Is he your favorite painter?
My current favorite is Basquiat. He was American. He painted on the streets of New York and developed this style and perspective that was unique to him and to America. It was amazing. I admire that he did that on his own, and at a very young age. He’s an American classic like Norman Rockwell, yet modern.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2015 issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Meet the Designer: Chuck Comeau.