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French Shoemaker since 1934

Interview with Véronique Brumm
  • heschung
  • Lalique
  • Museum

The Lalique Museum, is located on the former Hochberg glassworks site, which was completely redesigned by the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. They hosted us last summer for a photo shoot presenting our Spring/Summer 2018 collection. The Museum’s director, Véronique Brumm, talks to us about this magical place whose contemporary building is the setting for René Lalique’s creations.

 

Portrait de Véronique Brumm

Can you tell us about your career path?
I did my degree in history and was initially interested in the glassmaking history of the northern Vosges region, in particular the social and industrial history of the glassworks of Wingen-sur-Moder, Meisenthal, Goetzenbruck and Saint-Louis. Through various internships, particularly at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, I developed my interest in the artistic aspect. After my PhD on preserving the heritage of the glass and crystal industry in Europe, I was lucky enough that the development of the Lalique Museum project was brought to my attention. And I’ve been the Museum’s director since it opened in 2011. 

How did the idea for a Lalique museum come about?
The plan to create a museum dates back to the late 1990s and was initiated by the local authorities. Their aim was to showcase an exceptional artist, René Lalique – the inventor of modern jewellery and master of Art Déco glasswork – but also a craft industry still in operation: the Lalique factory.

Why was this site chosen?
Wingen-sur-Moder was chosen as the location for the museum because it was in this village that René Lalique built his factory in 1921. Today it is the only place in the world where Lalique crystal is produced. The Hochberg site where the museum is located is the site of a former glassworks. Located at the entrance to the village, it is a pleasant landscaped setting. What’s more, it represents a connection between local glassmaking tradition which dates back to the late Middle Ages and which was the main reason René Lalique chose to settle here.

Fontaine Poissons

What is the building’s history?
The Hochberg glassworks were in operation between 1715 and 1868. Functional glass was made here, the speciality being flat glass. After it closed down, it was used for various purposes and even at one point as a farm. The site was listed as a historic monument in 1996. A competition for the design of the Lalique museum was launched in 2004 and the contract was awarded to the internationally renowned architect, Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The museum was officially opened on 1st July 2011.

How did you plan the museum? What aesthetic choices were made when putting the collection together?
Jean-Michel Wilmotte’s project was chosen because it was well integrated with the landscape, incorporating a green roof and the use of glass and natural stone. The design of the exhibition space, however, is definitely contemporary and the idea was that it should stay in the background, allowing the works to speak for themselves while at the same time providing information about the artistic, historical, technical and social context that gave rise to them. The collection itself is presented both chronologically and thematically: from René Lalique’s jewellery, through perfume bottles, tableware and decorative objects to contemporary crystal. In the area called Lalique, poète du verre (Lalique, poet of glass), the aim is to show the diversity of sources of inspiration: Art Nouveau and Art Déco of course, but also the influence of Japanese art, African art, Pre-Colombian art and so on.

Corsage Jasmin - Lalique

Is there one piece or object in the collection that you are particularly fond of?
It’s difficult to choose one piece given that the museum has some 650 on display and about as many again in the storerooms. But I do particularly like the Jasmin bodice ornament designed around 1899-1901. I find it exceptionally delicate. It is also very representative of the work of René Lalique, who was dubbed “the inventor of modern jewellery”. He combined diamonds, enamel and glass. In a way, it heralded Lalique’s glasswork.

What do you think of the Heschung brand?
I associate Heschung with luxury. With its sober, clean lines, its style is timeless. It is also for me synonymous with elegance. I also like the idea that know-how is being kept alive in Alsace, within a family business.

Why did you decide to host Heschung?
Although I was surprised when Heschung contacted us for this shoot, I was enthusiastic about it straightaway! As I see it, Heschung and Lalique have numerous things in common: know-how, the fact that it’s a family business (even though this is no longer the case for Lalique, it was for a long time) and of course, elegance and luxury. When I looked at the photos, I was really delighted with the result. I felt like I was rediscovering the museum through the artistic eye of the photographer. 

What upcoming and ongoing projects do you have?
Forthcoming events to note include L’art de la main – an exhibition of photographs showcasing know-how by Frantisek Zvardon – from 17 March, and Les Journées des Métiers d’Art during the weekend of 7-8 April, when manufacturing artisans will demonstrate their work at the Museum – a great opportunity to learn about different facets of glasswork. A little later, from 26 April to 5 November, we are organising the Prisme exhibition highlighting Lalique’s involvement with a number of twentieth century and contemporary artists, including Yves Klein, Zaha Hadid and Damien Hirst.

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