Daum - The pinnacle of crystal art
Daum – flowing crystal glass vases, bowls and sculptures
Daum is the glassmaker master from Nancy since 1878. The French Maison is the only manufacturer in the world that is specialised in creating decorative objects made of Pâte de Cristal.
Daum fashions small and large vases, bowls and sculptures from its unique crystal glass paste. The luxurious decorative objects radiate in fascinating hues; flowing shapes and fine details imbue them with life.
The brilliant art pieces of glass follow a long history of passion, innovation and love for the craft. The know-how of the Maison Daum has gone through many evolutions to arrive at today’s Pâte de Cristal. For over 140 years, Daum has discovered and perfected a myriad of techniques to shape light and colour to their will.
Daum and the School of Nancy
By chance, the notary Jean Daum became the owner of a glassworks producing window panes in Nancy in 1878. His sons August and Antonin Daum were fascinated by the craft of glassmaking and took over the business. With creativity and business acumen, they gave the manufactory a new direction and brought it to financial success.
At the Paris World Exhibition in 1889, the Daum brothers discovered the glass artworks made by Émile Gallé, a legendary glassmaking master and one of the great pioneers of Art Nouveau. Deeply impressed by Gallé's "new art", the brothers began to produce engraved and enamelled vases.
Soon the Daum brothers found themselves at the head of the École de Nancy, an influential association of leading Art Nouveau artists. With motifs from nature such as thistles, dragonflies and ginkgo trees, the group of artists brought the forests of Lorraine back into their city and emancipated themselves from France's capital, Paris.
From glass to Pâte de Cristal - a monumental rediscovery
Each generation brought a new innovation in Daum's craft. Paul Daum, son of Auguste, steered the manufactory from Art Nouveau to Art Deco with strong, monochrome glass pieces and geometric shapes.
In the 1940s, Daum introduced the use of full lead crystal with a 30% lead content. The resulting extraordinary quality of Daum’s crystal left contemporaries speechless. Daum reached the next stage of evolution in the 1960s, when the house combined its renowned crystal glass with the ancient Pâte de Verre technique.
Pâte de Verre is a technique for creating detailed glass objects. A mix of glass powder, dyes and binders form a glass paste. Artisans can brush or pour the paste onto elaborate moulds before firing it in a kiln.
The oldest objects made of Pâte de Verre known to mankind have survived inside pharaonic tombs for thousands of years. It was the artists of Art Nouveau who had unearthed the ancient technique to experiment with it, but it was Daum who reinvented it.
In 1968, the Maison Daum succeeded in using their exquisite crystal instead of simple glass powder to create a glass paste of unprecedented quality. Pâte de Cristal was born - and knows only one master to this day.
Impossible shapes - the Lost Wax process
Daum combines their Pâte de Cristal with the Lost Wax method. The process is lengthy and requires immense know-how. In Daum's workshops in Nancy and nearby Vannes-le-Châtel, more than 100 employees join forces to achieve excellence in this craft.
First, Daum perfectly reproduces the original designs of its designers in wax. Daum's glassmaking masters cast the wax models in fireproof plaster. The mould filled with the figure and plaster is fired in a furnace; the plaster hardens and the molten wax escapes through small draining holes.
The artisans layer groisil, custom made fragments of crystal glass, into the hollow plaster mould by hand. When fired, the fragments liquefy, fill every little groove of the mould and fuse into one piece of crystal. Daum has a repertoire of 40 different shades to choose from. Artfully layering differently coloured crystal fragments creates Daum’s signature deep colour gradients and rich hues.
The glassmaking masters carefully cool the newly fused Pâte de Cristal objects and then chisel them out of their plaster moulds. The result of the time-intensive process is a unique crystal glass object with colours, textures and shapes that cannot be achieved by other methods of glass processing.
Daum's glass artworks captivate with perfect contours and precisely fitting shapes. Light shines softly through the substantial glass and makes the rich colour gradients glow gently. Sensual textures and a virtuoso play of thick and thin glass make the objects seem as if they were breathing.
The magical meeting of art and craftsmanship
Daum is at the interface of art and art craft. Since their discovery of Pâte de Cristal in 1968, the manufactory has collaborated with renowned artists and designers to cast strictly limited editions of unique sculptures, vases and bowls in coveted crystal glass.
The first artist to work with Daum was none other than Salvador Dalí. Since then, more than 350 artists and designers have immortalised their signatures in glass by Daum. Among them are names such as Hilton McConnico, Shogo Kariyazaki and Philippe Starck – a unique legacy.
Floral, animalistic, organic – the collections by Daum
The thematic world of Daum has always remained faithful to its Art Nouveau beginnings: floral motifs, the animal kingdom and female beauty form the protagonists in Daum's narrative.
The floral collection celebrates all forms of nature while referring to the beginnings and the future of the Maison. Harmonious compositions with natural symmetries and vibrant colours give the objects a lively rhythm. Cold blues, lush greens and flaming oranges spring from the house's unique colour palette.
The animal collection is testimony to Daum's masterful use of forms. Dynamic sculptures stage majestic animals such as horses, panthers and lions – the most luxurious transformation of glass. A special feature of the animal collection: a selection of objects is also available in black.