Say bonjour! to a charming slice of ramshackle ‘Frenchiness’, tucked away on the northern fringe of inner Brisbane! Vieille Branche is a bustling, creative warehouse space in Albion that has evolved organically over the past couple of years from its antique store beginnings. As well as imported French antiques, the space now offers a café, venue and studio hire, workshops, market days and French classes. The space is run by friendly couple, JC Lehuby and Jennifer Hillhouse, a Frenchman and an Aussie girl.
Both JC and Jen had lived rather worldly lives before they crossed paths in Brisbane. JC had worked as a horse trainer, studied photography in Paris, lived in America (where he made a film with his cousin that was selected for the Cannes Film Festival!), and studied oysters in his village’s marine biology centre – all before he travelled to Australia! Jen has had a successful career as a graphic designer in Brisbane, and worked in the film industry overseas. She’s always been interested in set design, and dabbles in a good gypsy-style violin jam whenever the chance arises. Needless to say, their union has resulted in a wonderful cultural implosion!
A visit to Vieille Branche is like stepping into another world. The atmosphere is nostalgic, with a playful energy thanks to the inventive displays co-designed by the couple, and the multi-use nature of the space. ‘JC’s style is quirky and very influenced by that temperamental, thrown-together French way,’ says Jen. ‘And I’m strongly influenced by my design background. We like it when happily chaotic conditions arise. That spontaneous, mischievous and unburdened enjoyment of life is something we like to capture in Vieille Branche!’
More recently, Jen and JC have enjoyed setting up the space for wedding ceremonies and receptions. ‘In the evenings the space comes to life, and feels like the Count of Monte Cristo’s cavern!’ says Jen. Alternatively, the workshops have a different vibe. ‘We like the feeling of everyone’s concentration and gentle chatter, and when they leave they seem happy with a sense of creative achievement,’ explains Jen. The couple has lots of ideas and look forward to the slow evolution of their space for the year ahead. We’ll be sure to keep you posted!
10 Fox St.
Vieille Branche’s next market day will be held on Saturday 30 April 2016, whilst their upcoming workshops are listed here.