[PA-NJ Glassblowers] At Baccarat - the 250-year-old French crystal house - everything old is (eventually) new again

Tony Patti gaffer at glassblower.info
Sat Oct 26 22:52:49 EDT 2013

This article appeared in the “Design & Decorating” section of The Wall
Street Journal, page D8, on Sunday October 20, 2013:




and a very similar article in Barron’s:









Remembrance of Things Glass

At Baccarat—the 250-year-old French crystal house known for reinventing
itself—everything old is (eventually) new again


Updated Oct. 17, 2013 8:59 p.m. ET

Few realize that Baccarat, the French purveyor of crystal, has a
fantastically eccentric history. Though the 250-year-old house now
collaborates with modern design heavyweights like Philippe Starck, for much
of its past it worked almost exclusively on commissions from royalty,
nobility and heads of state.

In 1819, it fashioned a crystal-and-bronze dressing table for the
daughter-in-law of the future King Charles X of France; in 1909, it erected
3.8-meter-high candelabras for Czar Nicholas II, each featuring 3,320 pieces
of crystal; and, in the 1930s, it masterminded a gargantuan chandelier for
the maharaja of Gwalior, who built a palace just to flaunt it. (When the
Baccarat piece subsequently pulled down the palace's ceiling, the flamboyant
Indian king rebuilt the rafters, testing their strength by suspending an
elephant from them.)

These are just some of the highlights in "Baccarat 1764: Two Hundred and
Fifty Years" (Rizzoli), written by historian Laurence Benaïm and Murray
Moss, erstwhile owner of Moss, the much beloved, now-closed Manhattan design
store. The new book sheds light on Baccarat's contribution to cutting-edge
design and its multi-prismed past—juxtaposing images of classic pieces with
stark contemporary interpretations to dispel any assumptions that the brand
is mired in tradition.

Still, some of the book's most compelling photos depict the custom crystal
made for historic names. This service began with an 1840 order from King
Louis-Philippe of France, who requested glassware etched with his royal
monogram, its crystal stems tinted ruby red. This design would morph into
the still-iconic "Harcourt," which is regularly reinterpreted by designers
such as Jaime Hayon. Other kings, queens, shahs and sultans followed suit,
filling their immodest homes with unique goblets, fingerbowls and
chandeliers, earning Baccarat the nickname "cristal des rois," or "the
crystal of kings."

This regal patronage continued into the 20th century. See the pair of
whiskey decanters—one painted with swirling gold Rs, another with Gs—made
for the 1956 wedding of Monaco's Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. Or a
tall glass conceived for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's yacht, in 1930,
with a sturdy square base for neat cocktails on even the roughest seas.

Despite these establishment ties, the brand's aesthetic has always been
surprisingly avant-garde. The chandeliers it designed for Napoleon III's
apartments in the Louvre were aggressively rococo. The rectangular Art Deco
hors d'oeuvre trays and plates it made for performer Josephine Baker in the
'20s were uncompromisingly spare. And the chandeliers and tableware of the
2000s imagined by such talents as Ettore Sottsass and Jeff Koons were
subversively minimalist, with nothing bet-hedging about them.


The new Baccarat  book by Benaïm and Moss
0847840867&linkCode=xm2&tag=glassbloinfo-20>  discussed in the article above
can be found on Amazon:





Tony Patti
gaffer at glassblower.info

 <http://www.glassblower.info/qr-code.html> QR Code for Tony Patti -



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