Yann Grienenberger


France has long been associated with luxury crafts. Even its government allocates special labels to heritage workshops and brands, that offer financial support and garner prestige. This French tradition draws back to the days of King Louis XIV and the establishment of guilds. Forged for economic preeminence and cultural predominance, the decorative arts continued to define this country’s place on the international stage well into the 20thcentury. Weathering shifting styles, Paris, as well as its neighbouring  regions, have remained bastions of artisanal production. Unfazed by the tides of industrialization, ateliers remained steadfast until they could. A recent push to revive old techniques has seen the reestablishment of different industries. Major fashion houses have launched similar platforms. Though focused on dissemination of historical methods, contemporary practitioners are not afraid to innovate. There is perhaps no better example of this phenomenon than CIAV, the Centre International d’Art Verrier in Meisenthal. Famous for supporting Art nouveau masters like Émile Gallé, the Alsatian glassworks withstood the test of time till the 1960s, when it closed its doors. Reopened in the 1990s as both an active workshop and education resource, the centre is now famous for its Boules de Noël (Christmas ornaments).