Revitalizing the Legacy of Lalique
Updating a luxury brand with strong ties to the past can be a challenging mission. But legendary crystal company Lalique is doing just that in a big way.
With a sparkling new jewelry collection, the first in over a century, new contemporary crystal collections and the initiation of creative collaborations with luminaries from musician Jean Michel Jarre to the studio of Andrée Putman, Lalique is reestablishing itself as a brand with modern appeal.
Architecture and design is another important aspect of its distinguished heritage. Although Renee Lalique had immersed himself in the world of architecture from the beginning of his career, designing glass doors for both his own residence and that of fashion designer Jacques Douce, as well as the 1912 facade of Francois Coty's Fifth Avenue boutique (now Henri Bendel above), it wasn't until his discovery at the 1925 decorative arts exhibition in Paris that commissions started flooding in, such as enhancing the decor of the Orient-Express railway cars in 1928, below
or one of his most famous commissions, creating much of the decor for the luxury cruise liner Normandy in 1936 – the incredible first class dining room below
It wasn't until a recent visit to the showroom that I realized some of the possibilities for incorporating this amazing artisanal tradition into projects today. Each piece is still manufactured by hand in the Lalique factory in France so customization is always available. I was completely mesmerized by the luxurious display below. Taking a bath in this space would be a totally transformative experience. And the exquisite combination of glass, water and light would also make for a fabulous spa application as well.
It can easily be translated to an outdoor environment, as with this elegant outdoor shower, so fresh and contemporary in feel.
In fact placing traditional Lalique creations in modern spaces produces an eye catching contrast. These bathrooms in a minimalistic Soho loft include a singularly distinctive design statement with the Lalique panels that is understated yet thematic.
And I love the combination in this contemporary living room of the curvaceous lines of the classic Water Pearls double table with the almost monastic geometry of the furniture and architecture – so pure and serene.
Whether on a yacht
in a chateau
or in a hotel (Claridges, London, below left, Montage, Beverly Hills, below right), Lalique is an elegant and timeless addition.
Many of the world's greatest modern designers have fallen under the allure of Lalique. Paola Navone explained, "I am absolutely fascinated, stunned by the techniques of crystal or glass, by the power of these reflecting matters. Their iridescence and transparency delivers magic, preciosity and mystery that leave me impressed…Lalique is a myth, the emblem of a craft industry which commands respect and admiration."
And Andrée Putnam, whose studio recently collaborated with Lalique on a lighting collection, above, shared "For me, Lalique is the emblem of elegance and French chic. It evokes the fluidity of an admirable style that one cannot really ascribe in time. … It is a whole, a kind of unity. I am fascinated by fidelity to old techniques and the succeeding skillful and very successful adaptation. What gets Lalique so above is its latitude, its freedom without cheating, while respecting an extraordinary and traditional know-how."
And it is exactly this combination of contemporary creative design with old world craft that perfectly poises Lalique for a new phase in its illustrious history.