When you think of Bohemian crystal glass, thoughts instantly turn to the Czech Republic. Erupting from the depths of central European territory, its glass dexterity has a poetic history of tradition and craftsmanship. The handcraft and dynamic skills in Bohemian crystal have been handed down through family generations, and its remarkable beauty still manages to stun the viewer now as much as it did when first inaugurated back in the 18th century. While its production is similar to elegant pearls, its embellished form adorns with added luxuriance; a quality that originally made them affiliated with nobility and aristocratic folk.
It was the production of chandeliers that really made Bohemian crystals stand out from the crowd, and what catapulted them into cultures around the world. The likes of Empress Maria Theresa and King Louis XV are just some of the past owners, while these days, we all know that chandeliers are sought after global charms that style museums, historical landmarks, hotels and if you are lucky enough, your own home.
Lighting company Preciosa has been mastering Bohemian crystal since 1724. Based in the mystical sounding location of Crystal Valley – one of the most pivotal locations of the crystal cutting land – it takes pride in being a cultivator of this rich historical form, and turning it into contemporary craft. Its Kamenicky Senov factory has artisans that understand glass like a second language, and have adapted their skills to the demands of modern day technology. A crystal stalwart, Preciosa knows that timeless design needs to work with the times, and they have ensured that their refined craft stays relevant in contemporary culture.
This doesn’t mean redesigning chandeliers though, it means cultivating them. Preciosa is looking to embrace the dazzling shape of chandeliers with a subtle reinterpretation. This is what it conceives to be ‘cultivating chandeliers,’ giving the classic heritage of traditional Bohemian glass a new lease of life in the ever-changing design world.
In a unique display during Salone del Mobile (4-9 April) – titled ‘Cultivation of Chandeliers. Since 1724’ – the lighting brand is offering up its methods of evolving and redefining its Bohemian chandeliers. Located in both the Brera design district on Corso Garibaldi 2, and the most important lighting fair of this year – Euroluce, it will be introducing a two-fold cultivation of the manufacturing of its models.
Firstly it has added a subtle splash of playful colour to the wares, enhancing the eloquent curves in the soft-cut glass to give them a futuristic and slightly whimsical twist. Next, it has put the silhouettes in the hands of contemporary designers who have created a new interpretation of the chandelier. Still imbued with the refined essence of Preciosa, but with a hint of modern aesthetics noticeable in the straighter lines and delicate symmetry.
The crystal brand has also transported its story to the capital with a new flagship in Prague that opened earlier this year. The space is yet another step in the brands evolution, as it will spread the spirit of contemporary crystal craft beyond the valley, and into the city to further their progression in the fast future of design.