Van Cleef & Arpels: 'L'Art de la Haute Joaillerie' exhibition, Paris

Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris
(Image credit: press)

Van Cleef & Arpels enlisted long-time collaborators Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku to design their exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris

Van Cleef & Arpels (opens in new tab) started working with Paris design agency Jouin Manku (opens in new tab) six years ago. It was a bold and visionary move for both. The current Van Cleef & Arpels retrospective at Les Arts Decoratifs (opens in new tab) in Paris clearly shows why.

The thing is, jewellery is notoriously hard to showcase - light shimmying all over the place; intimate scale; intricate forms. And, because the space the museum has dedicated to the exhibition, defined by a high, glass barrel-vaulted roof, is as majestic as one would expect of Paris, Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku had their work cut out.

Yet, in making the simple move of suspending a huge, mobile-like sculpture in their signature organic form from the ceiling, the designers have transformed the museum into a new and intimate space, relaxed to the point where you feel naturally inclined to linger longer.

Also, the duo's decision to 'plunge the nave of the museum into the dark' highlights the jewels beautifully, steering the viewer to look at them as mini sculptures from the off. The installation's midnight-blue tones, accented by some seriously clever lighting in varying inky shades, creates a sumptuous, dreamlike feeling.

The showcases - light-filled tubes, wall-mounted glass 'pebbles' - are another beautifully played out visual trick and are so adept at displaying jewellery that you can't but look at it differently.

Then, of course, there are the 400 jewels themselves - ranging from 1906, there are one hundred years' worth of brilliant ideas, realised in super-sophisticated forms and materials by the best craftsmen a century had to offer. The accompanying archive documents, films and drawings also shine a new light on an eon of great change.

So, not only have they succeeded in paying homage to the intensely creative nature of Van Cleef & Arpels, Jouin and Manku have also raised high jewellery to its rightful place as art, a design genre worthy of extensive exhibitions in the world's finest museums. Do not miss it.

Van Cleef Arpels

In making the simple move of suspending a huge, mobile-like sculpture in their signature organic form from the ceiling, the duo - known collectively as Jouin Mankin - have transformed the museum into a new and intimate space, relaxed to the point where you feel naturally inclined to linger longer

(Image credit: press)

The museum into the dark

The designers' decision to 'plunge the nave of the museum into the dark' highlights the jewels beautifully, steering the viewer to look at them as mini sculptures from the off

(Image credit: press)

Van Cleef & Arpels Jackie O' cuffs in yellow gold

'Jackie O' cuffs in yellow gold, 2012. A similar model was discovered in the collection of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1973

(Image credit: press)

Van Cleef & Arpels Minaudiere case

Minaudière case, 1935

(Image credit: press)

Van Cleef Arpels baguette-cut diamonds and Mystery Set rubies

Chrysanthemum clip from 1937, in gold, platinum, baguette-cut diamonds and Mystery Set rubies

(Image credit: press)

Van Cleef Arpels in midnight-blue tones

The installation's midnight-blue tones, accented by some seriously clever lighting in varying inky shades, creates a sumptuous, dreamlike feeling

(Image credit: press)

The showcases - light-filled tubes, wall-mounted glass 'pebbles' - are another beautifully played out visual trick and are so adept at displaying jewellery that you can't but look at it differently

Wall-mounted glass 'pebbles jewellery

This necklace, made for socialite and jewellery obsessive Daisy Fellowes in 1926, is convertible into two manchette bracelets. It was made using platinum, brilliant-, baguette-, square-, cushion- and navette-cut diamonds and pear-cut emeralds

(Image credit: press)

Egyptian Bracelet platinum, white gold, brilliant

Egyptian Bracelet from 1924 in platinum, white gold, brilliant-cut diamonds, rubies, sapphires, tallow-cut emeralds and onyx

(Image credit: press)

Kingfisher necklace made from white gold

Kingfisher necklace, 2011, made from white gold, round diamonds, oval-cut red spinels and turquoise

(Image credit: press)

Lace bow clip made from gold

Noeud de dentelle (lace bow) clip of 1945, in gold, platinum and brilliant-cut diamonds

(Image credit: press)

Baguette-cut diamonds and Mystery Set rubies

Pastilles clip of 1951 in osmior, platinum, brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds and Mystery Set rubies

(Image credit: press)

Zip necklace made from gold

Zip necklace from 1951 in gold, platinum, brilliant-cut diamonds, rubies, facetted sapphires and emeralds

(Image credit: press)

Flamingo clip with diamonds

Flamingo clip from 2009 with diamonds, pink sapphires, spessartite garnet, onyx and cushion-cut mandarin garnet

(Image credit: press)

A clip and a pair of clip earrings in gold

Reine-Marguerites (China Asters) set from the early 1990s, composed of a necklace, a clip and a pair of clip earrings in gold, brilliant-cut diamonds and carved chrysoprase

(Image credit: press)

Columbiad clip, in white gold

Columbiad clip of 2010, in white gold, coloured sapphires, spinels and diamonds

(Image credit: press)

Panka necklace from 1973 in gold

Panka necklace from 1973 in gold, brilliant-cut diamonds and cabochon-cut turquoise

(Image credit: press)

Phénix Mystérieux necklace in white gold diamonds

Phénix Mystérieux necklace, 2012, in white gold, diamonds, red gold, Mystery Set rubies, yellow gold, yellow diamonds, mandarin garnets, and one detachable 14.36 carat diamond

(Image credit: press)

Meditating Buddha clip in coral

Meditating Buddha clip from 1927 in coral, diamonds, rubies and emeralds

(Image credit: press)

ADDRESS

Van Cleef & Arpels (opens in new tab) started working with Paris design agency Jouin Manku (opens in new tab) six years ago. It was a bold and visionary move..

VIEW GOOGLE MAPS (opens in new tab)