130 years on, Lalique continues to epitomise luxury lifestyle
The iconic French lifestyle brand Lalique is synonymous with “Art of Living”. Since 1888, the prestigious purveyor of timeless savoire-faire classics has been creating captivating art objects, jewellery, and fragrances, among others, all handcrafted by expert artisans in its exclusive workshops in France.
René Lalique, the brand’s legendary founder, captured the world’s attention with his Art Nouveau jewellery in its signature style, suffusing his creations with a rich palette and extraordinary nature-inspired designs of flora, fauna and the sensual female form. He later excelled in the art of Art Deco glassmaking and distinguished his creations by highlighting the fascinating effects of transparency and opalescence inherent in glass. For centuries, women brought along their own perfume bottles when they purchased fragrances at perfumeries. In 1907 René Lalique entered into a partnership with the perfumer François Coty and began producing perfume flacons for the latter’s fragrances. By 1912, René Lalique devoted his design and production exclusively to glasswork and ordered the building of the Verrerie d’Alsace at Wingen-sur-Moder, France, in 1921. All Lalique’s crystal items are solely handcrafted in this manufacturing site.
Art Deco represents another defining chapter in René Lalique’s creative life. The artist shone with his geometric designs of tableware, decorative objects and architectural projects at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris in 1925. He opened his boutique Rue Royale in Paris. Following René Lalique’s death in 1945, his son Marc replaced glass with crystal and took the brand’s profile to new heights and ranked among the world’s greatest crystal ware producers. René Lalique’s granddaughter is at the helm of the enterprise, recognised as an Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (a French honour label meaning ‘living heritage enterprise’).
To celebrate its 130th anniversary, Lalique has unveiled its “Hirondelles” Collection. Among fauna, René Lalique found creative inspiration from swallows – the herald of spring and symbol of happiness and freedom – which were the focal points of his jewellery and decorative objects. In Chinese culture, swallows’ symbolic significance is not limited to auspiciousness and blessings. Swallows in pairs symbolise loving couples bonded by strong mutual affection and love. The new collection is composed of 13 new models sharing the iconic swallow motif, including vase, dish, bowl, decanter, sculpture and wall sculpture.
The limited edition Hirondelles grand-size vase, in gold stamped clear crystal, features a 130th anniversary logo lasered at the bottom and is limited to 130 pieces worldwide. The design was directly inspired by a René Lalique’s creation, vividly depicting the beauty of swallows in flight. The swallows spread their wings with finely chiseled feathers and are illuminated with gold. Twirling around the vase in a symphony of fluid movements, the swallows draw one’s eye into the swirls of crystal. The vase is a fine example of Lalique’s crystal ware expertise and superb craftsmanship. For the hot glass production, blown technique was employed which took five gatherings of seven glassmakers to fashion each vase. Extreme care was taken when imprinting the decorative motif and for the good repartition of crystal in the mould. Both steps require great technical dexterity: mould temperature, quantity of crystal inserted, etc. The bigger the item is, the more technically challenging its production will be.
In the cold glass workshops, a meticulous crafting of sculpture has been carried out to perfectly redesign each motif and remove the seams and any imperfection. Great precision is employed to reach the slightest defect in the thickness of the decoration. This carving work requires two hours. The procedure is highly complex because each piece weighs 10 kilograms. To create the magnificent plays of light, artisans manually polish each vase on the wheel for more than three hours. Finally each vase is stamped with 24-karat fine gold applied by hand, then annealed overnight at 510 degrees Celsius. In the cold glass workshop, each large Hirondelles vase requires six hours of meticulous labour by seasoned artisans.
Created to enhance the flavours of the finest spirits, Lalique’s Hirondelles decanter in gold stamped crystal is crowned with the three-swallow stopper. This 2018 vintage edition was made from crystal of the finest quality.
Each of the Hirondelles sculptures brings a flying swallow couple to life, radiating a feel of happiness and freedom. The exquisite contrast of satin-finished and re-polished crystal highlights the superb design of their plumage. For artistic items that tap the creativity of the customers, the Hirondelles collection features its unique wall sculptures with a new functionality. The sculptures are available in three different designs depicting varying wing movements, in clear and sapphire blue crystal. Each wall sculpture is fixed on the wall with a magnet screw delivered together with it. The wall sculptures allow customers to become the designer of their own space by creating their unique wall compositions.