Timeless Beauty - Vases, drinkware and sculptures by Lalique
Lalique embodies French luxury lifestyle since 1888. Permeated by the artistic genius of founder René Lalique, the traditional Parisian house’s objects of art shine like light given shape.
The world of Lalique includes jewellery, decorative objects, interior design, perfumes, art and gastronomy in the form of hotels and restaurants.
At the centre of Lalique's success, however, are its works of glass. Lalique's speciality is the contrast between satin and smooth finishes. The interplay between smooth and frosted bestows an effortless elegance on the objects and makes them a joy to touch.
From Art Nouveau to Art Deco - The Genius of René Lalique
In 1882, a young jewellery designer rapidly gained recognition among the great jewellery houses of Paris: René Lalique. His designs broke with all traditions; the very reason they struck a chord with his contemporaries.
Lalique focused on motifs from nature such as flowers and animals. Instead of gold and precious stones, he preferred glass, mother-of-pearl, enamel and horn. His unprecedented language of shapes and colours became the symbol of a new style: Art Nouveau.
René Lalique's avant-garde designs were in such demand that he was able to open his own studio on Place Gaillon in Paris as early as 1886. At the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, his jewellery was a tremendous success – he was celebrated as the "inventor of modern jewellery".
Lalique was driven by the desire to create objects the world had never seen before. He therefore moved away from jewellery and devoted himself more and more to glass. This marked the beginning of his evolution from the Art Nouveau master jeweller to an Art Deco master glassmaker.
Dreams in glass
In 1907, the perfumer Francois Coty asked Lalique to design perfume bottles for his perfumes. Soon Lalique was working with great names such as Roger & Gallet, D'Orsay and Lucien. Perfume bottles by Lalique became the symbol of a new attitude to life and helped establish the worldwide reputation of French perfume.
After a long search for a suitable location, Lalique opened his own glassworks called “Verrerie d'Alsace” in the Alsatian town of Wingen-sur-Moder in 1921. To this day, the glassworks in the Northern Vosges is Lalique's only production site in the world.
Lalique's design talent knew no bounds. In addition to perfume bottles and ashtrays, which were very popular at the time, the glassworks produced iconic hood ornaments for the most coveted car brands, including Citroën, Bentley, Bugatti and Rolls-Royce.
In 1929, René Lalique decorated the luxurious Côte d'Azur Pullman Express train. The first-class dining car with champagne bar was rescued from neglect in 1981 and is still part of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
In 1935, Lalique participated in the interior design of the legendary SS Normandie. The former largest passenger ship in the world was the ultimate style icon of Art Deco. Among other things, Lalique designed the famous light columns and chandeliers inside the monumental first-class dining room.
A world of crystal
When René Lalique died in 1945, his son Marc Lalique took over the company. Marc gave up the production of normal glass and devoted the manufactory to producing lead crystal only. His strategy was a success; soon Lalique Crystal became an international trademark of exceptional quality "Made in France".
Marc not only created design icons such as the flacon for the fragrance "L'Air du Temps" by Nina Ricci. He became particularly famous for large-scale decorative objects such as the immortal cactus table.
In 1977, his daughter Marie-Claude Lalique took over the reins. She introduced the production of coloured glass, revived jewellery production and successfully developed her own perfume division. Since 2008, Lalique belongs to the Swiss company Art & Fragrance, now known as the Lalique Group.
Today, the historic works by the house of Lalique are exhibited in dozens of museums around the world, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Corning Museum of Glass and the house's own museum in Wingen-sur-Moder.
The stylistic elements of Art Deco are deeply rooted in the brand's DNA – bold shapes, clean lines, timeless motifs. To this day, Lalique is inspired by the three favourite themes of its founder René Lalique: women, flora, and fauna.
In order to push the boundaries of its craft, Lalique has modernised its glassworks in 2011. New and traditional manufacturing methods complement each other perfectly: designers create 3D prints of their hand-drawn designs, which the glass masters bring to life using ancient techniques.
One of Lalique's specialities is the lost-wax process. Sculptors carve perfect wax sculptures by hand, which can take them months. Once completed, the wax sculptures are submerged in fireproof plaster inside a large mould. When the mould is fired, the plaster hardens while the wax melts and flows out through small drainage holes.
What remains is a hollow mould which the glassmakers fill with liquid crystal glass. Then, they break the mould to free the hardened crystal glass. Hence, both the handcrafted wax sculpture and the hollow mould are lost to produce a single glass object.
For most pieces, two thirds of the production time goes into refining. Vases, drinkware and sculptures are cut and polished to perfection in countless manual operations. It is the house’s signature contrast of smooth and satin finish that imbues the cold glass with life.
After a meticulous quality control, each piece is signed by hand - a guarantee for authenticity and quality.
Lalique’s dedication and craftsmanship was rewarded by the French State with the title "Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant", which translates to "Living Heritage Company". The title is a mark of recognition for the excellence of traditional and industrial skills.
New and old style icons
Lalique has created many immortal design icons over the decades. The spectacular Bacchantes vases were designed by René Lalique in 1927. Dancing women grow out of the frosted crystal glass with incredible plasticity; the elegance of classical statues is combined with the vitality and joie de vivre of modern paintings such as "La Dance" by Henri Matisse.
The Mossi vases and candlesticks are the epitome of the interplay between frosted and clear finishes. Crystal clear nubs on satin surfaces create a myriad of fascinating effects. The vases and sculptures of the Anemones collection make you forget that the delicate flower petals are made of glass.
The "100 Points" drinkware collection was created in collaboration with wine critic James Suckling. The collection’s stemware is specifically designed for sophisticated yet enjoyable wine tastings. The satin-finished stems adorned with fine, clear lines are exceptionally beautiful and a pleasure to hold – a true embodiment of French luxury lifestyle.