CHAUMET Reopens The Historic 12 Place Vendôme
CHAUMET reopened its historic hôtel particulier at 12 Place Vendôme recently. The home of the Maison since 1812 – when it was initially at No. 15 – Place Vendôme more than ever represents the beating heart of Chaumet. On its 240th anniversary, the Maison is undertaking a majestic celebration of its historic hôtel particulier located at No.12, at the heart of the legendary epicentre of Parisian jewellery. Balancing tradition with modernity, this revived and redesigned location highlights the metaphorical cornerstones of the Maison as its founder intended them: the clients, to whom a boutique capturing the allure of an exceptional Parisian apartment is dedicated; culture and heritage, represented in grand salons, in particular the Salon Chopin, a listed historic monument; and, above all, the virtuosity of the High Jewellery workshop, which now overlooks the square.
With bees and golden ears of wheat, lush foliage, graphic mirrors and Chaumet blue trellis, to celebrate its reopening a symbolic garden temporarily stretches across the façade of 12 Vendôme, rising from the boutique to the workshop, encircling the grand salons along the way. Magically lit after nightfall, this enchanting installation provides an architectural\ revisiting of the Maison’s treasured union of naturalistic inspiration and jewellery culture.
Envisaged as an invitation to partake in an aesthetic and narrative exploration, the 12 Vendôme boutique takes visitors on a journey through the world of Chaumet. The Joséphine, Liens and Jardins collections are displayed on the ground floor. The Maison’s creative vocabulary is echoed in the delicate decor. Ears of wheat, seemingly rippling in the wind, are embroidered on the upholstered walls, engraved on the walnut panelling, and finely gilded on stone. Whether polished or sculpted, the alabaster that adorns the walls recalls the working of precious stones. The engraved panels of the grand staircase pay tribute to the love story at the Maison’s foundation, evoking the passionate correspondence between Napoléon and Joséphine.
Upstairs, the High Jewellery and jewellery collections are on display in a scene of sophisticated comfort. Simultaneously luxuriant and symbolic, the vegetation that unfurls across the bas-reliefs adorning the walls of an alcove reinterprets key Maison motifs, such as the ear of wheat and the laurel.
The Salon des Joyaux
A showcase in sunny hues, the Salon des Joyaux is dedicated to the presentation of High Jewellery pieces and the designing of special orders. In natural shades or tinted Chaumet blue, the straw marquetry radiating across the walls was created specially for the Maison by the Jallu Straw workshop.
The Salon Malmaison
In matrimonial white accented with touches of gold, the refined setting of the Salon Malmaison is the destination for those about to say “yes”, for the choosing of wedding or engagement rings. A changing room concealed behind mirrored screens allows future brides to try wedding parures to match their dress. Under the golden halo of a ceiling imitating water ripples, furnishings with a contemporary spirit are inspired by Joséphine. An engraving depicting the Temple of Love at the Château de Malmaison adorns the sides of a chest of drawers, while the Empress’ garden is outlined in the woven carpet.
1970. Chaumet inaugurated Arcade, an informal space resembling a contemporary art gallery, dedicated to graphic pieces. Today, inspired by this avant-garde aesthetic and in the same location, the Maison unveils a new space whose contemporary furnishings capture a seventies spirit. A sculpture by the artist Milena Naef resonates with the sensory dimension of jewels, as reinterpreted by Chaumet over time. Arcade now offers pieces that can be personalised or worn in an infinity of ways as desired.
The Grand Salons and The Heritage
The Salon Chopin
A 12 Vendôme artistic treasure, the Salon Chopin is classified as an historic monument. In 1779, artisans prized by King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette conceived its sumptuous decor at the request of Baron Baudard de Sainte-James. The architect François-Joseph Bélanger was responsible for the overall sense of harmony, while the paintings of Lagrenée le Jeune adorn the walls, and the Rousseau brothers’ sculpted panelling depicts anchors, shells and tridents - alluding to the Baron’s role as Treasurer General of the Navy. It was in this exceptional setting that Chopin, in 1849, and a resident of 12 Place Vendôme, composed his last mazurka. Today, a Pleyel piano from 1920 serves to perpetuate this salon’s musical identity.
The Salon des Diadèmes
With hundreds of nickel silver tiaras standing out against a blue background, the Maison’s emblematic hue, this salon’s new scenography is a tribute to its history. In Joseph Chaumet’s time, nickel silver models were presented to the clients who came to admire the Maison’s breadth of creative possibilities before placing their orders. The final step before production of the jewel begins, the nickel silver model, made with an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel, provides a three-dimensional rendering of the preparatory drawings of complex pieces such as tiaras and certain necklaces. Hand-painted to suggest the colour of the stones, these unique items are rare and precious creations in their own right. Testaments to a richly creative past, the collection of over 500 nickel silver pieces held by the Maison serves as an inexhaustible source of inspiration and is enriched by new examples produced for each special order.
The Salon des Perles
Given a contemporary revisiting in midnight blue and gold tones, the Napoléon III-style panelling creates a harmonious contrast with a bucolic ceiling scene painted by Pierre-Victor Galland, nephew of Jean-Baptiste Fossin, head of the Maison’s workshop. In this room, a carpet painted by a highly-specialised craftsman portrays a graphic and dreamlike version of two of the Maison’s most important themes - tiaras and nature.
The High Jewellery workshop
The beating heart of the Maison for 240 years, the High Jewellery workshop now looks over Place Vendôme. This is where Chaumet creations are born, in the hands of jewellers, setters, polishers and apprentices, under the direction of Benoît Verhulle, the 13th workshop head since the Maison was founded. The virtuosity of the creations is given pride of place in this new location in which the soul of the building has also been respected, the sculpted reliefs of the original ceiling having been uncovered during the restoration work.
The Mémoires, 12 Narratives Exhibition
Marking the Maison’s 240th anniversary, the Cabinet des Portraits, the Salon des Diadèmes and the Salon des Dessins are playing host to a temporary exhibition. Mémoires, 12 narratives brings together 12 pieces specially chosen to share the Chaumet story, 12 statements of prolific creativity, uniting different eras, styles and jewellery functions. Juxtaposed with these 12 jewellery creations, a selection from the Maison’s unique archives evokes the genesis and singular destiny of each object, along with the art of wearing it. From one archive to the next, the history of Chaumet is
brought to unique life.