Friday, April 15, 2011


It's not by accident that the French have dominated matters of taste in architecture and interiors. The country's historical rulers have always insisted on it, kings and all.

Hordes of people visit Versailles and not only for the latest Jeff Koons or Murakami's super star and marketing exhibits ( or is it that Versailles has become the latest and trendiest of galleries , The ultimate "Gagosian" gallery ?!!!!. Visitors marvel at the extravagance of it all, but few realize that its splendours were all part of a carefully calculated plan. For the palace was created to act as a commercial example- a monumental showroom to promote the nation's industries and crafts.

The famous Hall of Mirrors was created to show the emerging ability of the French to manufacture "looking-glass" in previously unheard-of dimensions. The ultimate mirror makers were in Murano, next to Venice.

Anyway, when you think of something refined and expensive, you can almost guarantee that France dominated not just its manufacture but also its design.

Even when the goods in question, such as the Oriental porcelain and silks were all the rage and came from the Compagnie des Indes, the textile houses in Nîmes successfully copied and reinterpreted the block-printed cottons of India- "Les Indiennes" while Sèvres, the Royal porcelain factory, copied and improved Chinese porcelain.

Vase "Mémoire" from Baccarat

"Crystal Room"  Baccarat in Moscow

Hermes saddles, Christofle silver, Louis Vuitton luggage, Baccarat and Daum crystal, Aubusson tapestries, to name a few of these extraordinary and dazzling French brands.

And YES, France is still in the wind !

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