Baccarat Crystal, the manufacturer of fine crystal glassware situated in Baccarat, France, celebrates its 250th anniversary in style by designing the largest chandelier ever created in the history of the luxury house.
Measuring a record 8m40 in height, 4m60 in diameter, 386 lights, 152 branches, 25,000 pieces of crystal and a total weight of 1.8 tonnes, the masterpiece of light was created by Japanese designer Yasumichi Morita, one of the most vigorous designers in Japan today. Yasumichi Morita is known for his global success in Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York, and London. And in his own words he came to give the final touch and place the last pampille, an octogonal red ruby to set the fireworks on Baccarats 250 years of craftsmanship.
“Today, the fields of designers’ work have become borderless. I myself have developed original furniture lines, lighting fixtures, clocks, jewelry, and other products in addition to interior designs. Whatever I design, however, my idea is derived from the same basic thought: I want to create it because I want it but can’t find it. While our world is overflowing with things today, it is often difficult for me to find exactly what I am looking for to buy. When I can’t find what I want, I make it by myself. Since what I want changes at different times and ages, I never run out of ideas of what I want to make.”
The Baccarat brand had auspicious beginnings. At the end of the Hundred Years War, French King Louis XV granted the Bishop of Metz a Royal Warrant to establish a glass-making factory in the village of Baccarat in Lorraine on the banks of the Meurthe River. The factory was to serve as an economic stimulus and to provide employment. The kilns fired up in 1764, and in 1816 the factory began producing crystal.
The company’s prestige and international reputation began with an order for a set of glasses placed by King Louis XVIII following his visit to the factory in 1823. It was Louis XVIII who launched the fashion of the complete glass service in the Russian style, with each glass a distinct size – one each for water, white wine, red wine, and champagne. The glasses were so admired by fellow crowned heads who dined at his table that they, too, began to order from Baccarat.
The company’s reputation steadily grew, in part thanks to its expert craftsmen, and after Baccarat won all the gold medals for its entries to the Universal Exhibitions at the turn of the 20th century, orders began to flow in from around the world. Today, Baccarat employs twenty-five craftsmen who have won the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France – Best Craftsmen in France – more than any other company in the country.
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