Perrier-Jouët at Design Miami: A Retrospective
The Maison’s Art Nouveau roots are brought to life through a series of artistic collaborations
To the uninitiated, the connection between champagne and design is not obvious. But those who have visited Design Miami and Design Miami/ Basel since 2012 have witnessed first-hand Perrier-Jouët’s engagement with design through captivating presentations. With more than two centuries of history, this Maison has never felt more contemporary, in part thanks to collaborations with ground-breaking designers who create immersive installations that bring the bohemian artistic spirit of the Maison to life.
“Since 2012, Maison Perrier-Jouët is proud to have nurtured, alongside Design Miami, enduring ties with the world of art and design through collaborations with outstanding talents from all over the globe,” said Axelle de Buffévent, Style Director of Maison Perrier-Jouët. The Maison’s artistic roots have informed many collaborations, perhaps none more so than the highly influential 1902 white anemone design by Art Nouveau pioneer Émile Gallé which graces bottles of the brand’s Belle Époque cuvée.
Infused with poetry or a sense of spectacle, all of the works commissioned by Perrier-Jouët spring from two related sources of inspiration: nature and the Art Nouveau movement. Here are highlights of the past several years of artistic collaborations which have debuted at Design Miami/:
2012: Glithero – Lost Time (Temps Perdu)
In honor of Émile Gallé’s iconic bottle design for the Belle Époque cuvée, Perrier-Jouët invited London-based design studio Glithero to create an installation inspired by the curvilinear forms and natural motifs of the Art Nouveau movement. The result was Lost Time (Temps Perdu), an ode to the model-making technique of architect Antoni Gaudí. Glithero created an experiential environment that played upon viewers’ perception. Upon entering the installation, the viewer was enveloped in darkness, but could just discern thousands of suspended beads stretching down to a mirror-like pond which multiplied and inverted their curving forms, challenging the viewer to distinguish the real from the replica.
2013: Simon Heijdens – Phare N°1-9
Dutch designer Simon Heijdens created Phare N°1-9, a visionary installation featuring nine hand-blown glass vessels filled with transparent liquid suspended in an all-white room. A light source atop each phare (meaning lighthouse or beacon) is triggered by outdoor weather sensors that monitor the wind, periodically illuminating the liquid and igniting magenta photo-sensitive dye. This hard-wired electric message from nature produces 3D drawings in the liquid which then slowly dissipate, but not before the ever-changing abstract patterns are projected on the walls and floors of the installation. Heijdens’ high tech, yet organic work was influenced by the strong geometry and mathematical underpinnings of Art Nouveau.
2014: mischer’traxler – ephemera
Perrier-Jouët commissioned Vienna-based design studio mischer’traxler to create a work inspired by its artistic Art Nouveau heritage. ephemera is made up of interactive kinetic furniture pieces that conduct an eternal dialogue: “Mankind reacts to nature and nature reacts to mankind, each proving the other’s existence.” Observed from a distance, the pieces’ intricate floral decoration appears to be alive. Plants grow and move on the surfaces, following their own gentle choreography. However, when someone approaches the pieces, the plants slowly retreat, hiding on top of and inside the pieces, and the furniture becomes merely functional. But when the way is clear, nature slowly blooms again.
2015: Ritsue Mishima – All’ombra della luce
Japanese artist and glassmaker Ritsue Mishima’s All’ombra della luce (In the shadow of light) was inspired by her trip to the historic Maison Belle Époque in Épernay, where she was enchanted by the quality of light in the gardens. Mishima created an immersive experience playing on the relationship between light and shadow with hundreds of clear Murano-blown glass disks suspended throughout the space. The installation is evocative of the sunshine in vineyards and the darkness of cellars, and could also be experienced as if one was inside a bubbling flute of golden champagne. Mishima also created a second original artwork, a spectacular hand-blown glass bowl, to accompany the champagne service ritual.
2016: Andrew Kudless - Strand Garden
American designer Andrew Kudless’ Strand Garden is a luminous installation inspired by the champagne-making process and the organic curves of Art Nouveau. Surrounded by massive, light-filled strands that resemble tree trunks or vines, a cluster of interlocking oak-topped benches evoke Perrier-Jouët’s riddling racks and wine presses, with concrete legs that recall the chalk that shelters the Maison’s cellars. The glowing table in the center is 3D-printed in clear bio-plastic that conjures up the fine, vibrant bubbles of Perrier-Jouët. The ice bucket takes the organic relationship with champagne to the limit as it was created by 3D-printing actual ground Chardonnay grape skins into rippling petals resembling the wrinkled skin of a raisin.
2017: Luftwerk – Becoming
Maison Perrier-Jouët partnered with the Chicago- based duo Luftwerk (Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero) to create an ever-evolving experience of eye-popping color and design. Luftwerk presented an immersive environment wrapped entirely in a specially-painted cyan, green and yellow wallpaper and floor treatment based on Émile Gallé’s anemone drawings. The entire room was bathed in and animated through continuously changing washes of colored light that caused the layered wallpaper patterns to intensify or recede with each shift in hue. Infinity mirrors flanked both ends of the room, creating an intriguing and mystifying viewer experience that reflected Luftwerk’s visit to the large network of underground tunnels in Perrier- Jouët’s cellars.
2018: Bethan Laura Wood – HyperNature
British designer Bethan Laura Wood created a vibrant interactive tree sculpture, HyperNature, inspired by her journey to Épernay. The curves and bends honor the Art Nouveau “whip”, while the shades of the aluminum nod to both nature’s bright colors and the subtle tonal hues of Perrier-Jouët’s champagnes. Intrigued by how Art Nouveau was in part a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, Wood chose to elevate lowly materials, such as PVC, from their “throw away” context. By delicately working the industrial materials by hand, Wood placed them in the context of the world of luxury, treating them with an artisanal level of care and respect.
2019: Andrea Mancuso – Metamorphosis
Italian designer Andrea Mancuso (Analogia Project) created Metamorphosis – six glasses and a champagne bowl cast using the ancient lost-wax technique – as a dialogue between nature, champagne and design. The immersive scenography of the spectacular installation was inspired by Mancuso’s visit to Épernay, where he was moved by the ethereal atmosphere of the shadowy silence he discovered in the cellars and the vibrant colors and light of the Maison’s vineyards. The shape of the 11,000 mounted pieces, created with Italian ceramicists Alessio Sarri and Nuevoforme, recall bottles maturing in the cellars, while the palette forms an image of the Perrier-Jouët vineyard during the harvest. ◆
From Miami Design District Magazine (Winter 2021), available in the Miami Design District
All images courtesy of Maison Perrier-Jouët