The Land of Crystal Gardens

Baccarat's Crystal Garden

The aristocracy have had a long intimate relationship with the Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne (a 2,090 acres park on the western edge of Paris). Louis XVI brother, Comte d'Artois built the Chateau Bagatelle and landscaped the surrounding 59 acres into an exquisite park on a whimsical bet he made with then Queen Marie Antoinette. (Comte d' Artois gave it the name Bagatelle which means trifle or trivial in French). After the French Revolution, Napoleon took it over and used it as his hunting lodge. After that it was passed onto English nobility before the city of Paris acquired it 1905. Given its aristocratic origins, it is fitting that for a few months, the district council of Lorraine and four of France's most prestigious crystal manufacturers transformed the Parc de Bagatelle into a giant jewel box.

Under the direction of architect/designer Vincent Dupont-Rougier, the four houses of crystal - Baccarat, Lalique, Saint-Louis and Daum created distinct wonderlands that blended nature with crystal sculptures.

The Baccarat crystal garden (see above) was inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Bouquets of glasses, sleeping decanters hint at a surreal environment. The use of ruby red rose buds reference Baccarat's emblematic color and the chandeliers are a reminder of the company's history.

The design of Lalique's crystal garden (see below) is influenced by recurring themes in Lalique's works - the garden of Eden and the ocean. Anthuriums, anemones, apples, sparrows, turtles, butterflies and dragonflies flutter around a monumental crystal cactus table that was designed in 1951. Marine life is introduced with a school of 100 fish in 30 different colors.
Lalique's Crystal Garden
Saint-Louis' Crystal Garden
Saint-Louis, the crystal maker for King Louis XV (which is where it gets its name) envisioned their garden to reflect a French style inspired by Versailles and its fountains. The green and chartreuse glasses and champagne flutes represent carefully groomed hedges that showcase the majestic urn, an abstracted Versailles.
Crystal Garden of Daum
In Daum's garden, floral designer Emilio Robba created a more exotic feel through the addition of his carefully crafted bamboo and palm trees. The crystal Buddha and Bodhisattva heads from Daum's China collection are meant to increase the sense of mystery within the garden.

The Parc de Bagatelle is already a jewel within the Bois de Boulogne however, this crystal exhibition with all its colorful sparkle and glitter make the park feel even more magical and transcendent. If you can, catch this exhibition before it leaves on November 2, 2008.

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