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Crystal Ball: The Future of Designing with Luxury Fine Crystal

Baccarat crystal Harmonie barware collection

Courtesy of Baccarat

If you’re familiar with luxury brands like Baccarat and Lalique or simply love crystal, dive into the future of designing with luxury fine crystal.

In design, there are trends (avocado green kitchens, anyone?), and there are classics that stand the test of time, even as living spaces modernize. Fine crystal may date to the 1500s, but its quality, craftsmanship and evolution have kept it relevant in 21st-Century design.

“Fine crystal has an enduring appeal to multiple audiences. It carries a physical weight and visual presence that makes it dignified, special and alluring,” Yvette Craddock of Yvette Craddock Designs said. “When decorating, fine crystal plays a role in creating a special signature through the design of a vignette or throughout a room that adds class, status and style and can serve as a conversation starter.”

Fine lead crystal has its roots in Europe, and, today, many of the top brands like Baccarat and Lalique are still headquartered where the art of craftsmanship is alive and well.

Tandrillah Midnight Blue Vase by Lalaique

Courtesy of Lalique

“At Baccarat, we are obsessed with perfection. The tradition of crystal manufacturing takes our skilled craftsmen up to 15 years to master. The know-how of a glassblower, cutter, gilder or engraver is the result of an apprentice-like tradition of crystal fabrication, passed down from generation to generation for over two-and-half centuries,” Jim Shreve, President and CEO of Baccarat North America, said.

Like Baccarat, which boasts a luxury hotel as well, Lalique has a tradition that dates back to its founding in Paris by Rene Lalique in the 19th Century. Originally focused on jewelry, through the years, Lalique became known for a unique style of crystal.

stunning Baccarat cystal chandelier

Courtesy of Baccarat

“Lalique’s signature is the contrast between our proprietary satin finish and clear, polished crystal,” Gwen Carlton, Head of Interiors and Special Projects at Lalique, said. “René Lalique personally developed the technique to enable him to ‘sculpt with light.’ It provides beautiful depth and a lovely tactile quality not found in other crystal.”

In the home, crystal is traditionally used in tableware and glassware. This is often an introduction to fine crystal for most people and a more accessible starting point to begin a collection or weave it into the design.

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Fine crystal is like fine art in the sense that both are collected and curated by the owners.

satin finished flowered crystal vase by Lalique

©-LALIQUE-SA

“Fine crystal is like fine art in the sense that both are collected and curated by the owners,” Craddock said. “These objects often reflect a color, style, story or experience that holds a special meaning to the owner. Plus, collecting objects made by a luxury brand such as Lalique has an enduring power and prestige that transcends time and trends.”

When we think of traditional lead crystal an image of heavy, etched glassware is often what we see, but the realm of fine crystal has greatly expanded and modernized for different design esthetics.

“I think crystal brands have evolved to meet consumers’ needs by creating new and unique fixtures and pieces that stay in line with tradition but adding a new modern twist to them,” Tabitha Evans of Tabitha Evans Design said.

Baccarat’s HARMONIE collection is barware known for its linear silhouette of consecutive parallel cuts and its EYE collection of decorative items in clear and color variations with vertical cuts that spiral light are two lines aimed at a more modern style. The Mossi collection was designed by Rene Lalique but is still seen as contemporary today.

crystal barware collection by Baccarat

Courtesy of Baccarat

The luxury crystal houses are also maintaining design relevancy by expanding into new design categories like art, home accessories and other luxury items.

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a tribe of six limited-edition animal heads, all adorned with electric pops of color, deep cuts and geometric patterns, perched atop marble bases.

“As a French luxury heritage brand, Baccarat draws inspiration from continuously evolving, creating bespoke and new special commissions and reinterpretations by working with some of the world’s greatest international artists and designers,” Shreve said.

For example, this year, Baccarat collaborated with Jaime Hayon, a Spanish artist-designer, who worked with Baccarat on a modern collection called Faunacrystopolis. The collection consists of tableware and decorative products, as well as a tribe of six limited-edition animal heads, all adorned with electric pops of color, deep cuts and geometric patterns, perched atop marble bases.

Baccarat crystal collection of colorful limited edition animal heads

© Palast HD

Lalique is also partnering with artists, creating an entire Lalique art collection.

“Lalique pushes the boundaries of its artisans through collaborations with renowned contemporary artists creating limited-edition designs with icons like Damien Hirst, Yves Klein, Anish Kapoor, Zaha Hadid and Elton John,” Carlton said.

“Not only do these collections challenge our glassmakers, but associations with unexpected partners create opportunities to introduce Lalique to new audiences. This extraordinary encounter between art and crystal is giving rise to new forms of creative expression.”

luxurious satin finish crystal vases by Lalique

Courtesy of Lalique

Lalique expanded past the boundaries of crystal with its Lalique Maison products featuring everything from bars and linens to beds and lacquered accessories. The collection is a collaboration between Lalique and Lady Tina Green and designer Pietro Mingarelli.

These brand extensions are allowing homeowners and designers more ways to use crystals than ever before.

“Whether it’s hanging a Lalique chandelier in a modern loft or architectural panels in a more traditional environment, the quality of the crystal and timelessness of the design always rings true,” Carlton said. “And for the more adventurous, we can create something completely bespoke.”

...and for the more adventurous, we can create something completely bespoke.

bespoke crystal design by Lalique

Courtesy of Lalique

While fine crystal is a luxury item, the top houses are also trying to draw more people into the world of crystal.

“Our goal is to be more inclusive and accessible. Everyone likes to have pretty things, so in the future, innovations will allow Baccarat to be more of a household name,” Shreve said.

Whether Baccarat, Lalique or another top crystal brand, this ultra-classic item is keeping up with the times, continuing to expand on their innovation history to create new items that meet the demands of the modern homeowner.

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