The Wedding Shop

03/03/2016

A long-awaited pilgrimage to the home of Lalique

by Yasmin Rudnicka, Buyer at The Wedding Shop

I’m off to the home of Lalique. This is a brand I’ve loved for years. I love the products they craft, its heritage and the rare quality of its pedigree.

Renee Lalique

The spiritual home of Lalique is in Wingen-sur-Moder, in Alsace, as it has been for more than 95 years. Rene Lalique opened the original glassworks in Wingen-sur-Moder in 1921. This factory is still alive and strong today and, whilst some brands have moved their production overseas, it remains the only Lalique factory in the world. It’s things like this purity of mission and a desire not to potentially compromise standards that drive a cult-like following in luxury circles. It’s what separates an artisan from mass-production.

I’m here with my colleague Melissa to see two things: the Lalique factory and the recently opened Musee Lalique.

The Lalique compound is nestled in the idyllic rolling countryside of the Parc Naturel Régional des Vosges du Nord, less than an hour by train from Strasbourg. I imagine the forests here are packed full of wild boar and truffles!

Lalique The Factory

In the factory, the presence of several huge, fiery kilns remind you that glassmaking is a true workshop artform. Temperatures in these furnaces can reach more than 1,400 degrees Celsius. I learn here that this temperature is necessary to melt the lead oxide, the key ingredient added to glass that makes lead crystal or real crystal.

It’s a bustling atmosphere, full of the hum of focused artisans and master-craftspeople who’ve been doing this for decades. We are guided past the fires and watch as three men transport a ball of molten glass between them on metal poles. This is then blown into a more recognisable glass sphere ready to be shaped. It’s then cooled slowly to ensure that fractures don’t occur.

 

The glass is then worked and fashioned by a craftsperson at their standing workbench under intense lights. It’s here that the alchemy of turning lead glass into art happens. The products here are genuinely made to order meaning that exact copies are impossible. No single Tourbillons vase for instance is exactly the same as another. They’re all handcrafted. This uniqueness of each product and its bespoke nature is undoubtedly a huge part of the brand’s appeal.

On a private tour of the museum, I came across some incredible pieces here such this stunning bowl:

Lalique Blue Bowl

My absolute highlight is the iconic Bacchantes vase, a seminal piece originally created by Rene Lalique in 1927. In a particularly well-thought out exhibit, the museum displays the Bacchantes vase at each stage of its journey from inception all the way through to its being engraved with the Lalique signature.

Lalique Bacchantes Vase

I highly recommend a visit here for aficionados of crystal making and for anyone who appreciates world-class artisanry.

by Yasmin Rudnicka, Buyer at The Wedding Shop

Explore our handpicked range of Lalique products here

To find out more about the Musee Lalique and visiting, please see here