Vivaret – The story behind the name

The symbols that are used in the Timber Frame methodThere is a story behind everything, including Vivaret, a burgeoning business in the field of wood construction since 2018.

The name Vivaret has its origins in ‘vive-arête’, a term used by French carpenters and, up until the 20th century, also by architects, lumberjacks and other professionals working in the building industry.

Back when trees were logged for building purposes, carpenters carved the logs into rectangular beams. ‘La pièce est à vive-arête’ was a way to say that the beam in question was rectangular, and the term ‘vives arêtes’ could be applied elsewhere to describe other architectural elements or building materials as rectangular. Nowadays, the term is less frequently used, and it usually refers to the fact that the edges of the beams have not yet been sealed.

Therefore, Vivaret is the perfect name for a company that draws its inspiration from the long-standing tradition of wooden architecture that is made to last. The company's stylish logo, on the other hand, is based on the centuries-old symbol system traditionally used by French builders and carpenters, and which is still widely used by Timber Frame professionals.

The illustration shows the symbols that are still being used by those who build with wood in France. The symbols act as guidance for Timber Frame builders showing them which part goes where.

However, for the members of the Compagnon Guild, the symbols were not just signs and numbers that helped them in their trade, but they also acted as a code language within the industry and were used for communication purposes.

Even though the process of constructing wooden structures is heavily automated in many parts of Europe these days, French carpenters still learn the system as part of their professional training, and the symbols are used to a great extent.The emblem of the Compagnon Guild of carpenters

Carpenter Jonathan Carle – The story behind the entrepreneur

Carpenter Jonathan Carle standing next to the final project of his professional degree, wearing the Compagnon Guild attire. [Image by: Joona Kotilainen]Jonathan, who was born and raised in the French Alps, graduated with his first degree in Timber Frame construction in the summer of 2008. During the following autumn, Jonathan was accepted as an apprentice by the Compagnon Charpentiers des Devoirs Guild and undertook the practical Compagnons du Tour de France education, during which he worked at various sites and building projects around France, and across the world. Evenings and weekends were spent either studying theory or working on course projects.

The Compagnons du Tour de France method of learning by touring from one site to another is based on the L'Art du Trait tradition, which is one of the fundamental components of the syllabus. Both the Compagnons du Tour de France education method and the tradition of L'Art du Trait can be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Following a great deal of hard work, Jonathan was received Compagnon Charpentier at the annual ceremony in March 2012. However, the touring lifestyle was not quite finished, and Jonathan continued working and learning the craft at various international locations until he settled in Kontiolahti, Finland in 2014.

After working for a few years at two local businesses, HS Kiinteistösaneeraus and Puuartisti, Jonathan decided to take the next professional step and established Vivaret in the summer of 2018.

During the Compagnons du Tour de France training years Jonathan worked and studied in numerous places, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France and the United States. During the programme he completed specialist vocational qualifications in both carpentry and Timber Framing, and after his arrival in Finland, a further vocational qualification in joinery. A drawing illustrating ‘L'Art du Trait’. The image has been taken from Louis Mazerolle’s book Traité théorique et pratique de charpente


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