Centrally located in Paris, the Studio has been designing and producing original and luxurious works in glass for more than thirty years. It collaborates with leading interior designers for an international clientele, and exports 80% of its production.
We are to glass what haute couture is to ready-to-wear and, as such, respond to a wide variety of requests for exclusive and sophisticated creations, but are equally able to meet large-scale orders.
Some projects are so precise in their requirements that we delegate part of production to one or more specialised companies with proven competencies in their field.
In this case, the Studio is at the head of a group of specialist contractors.
We focus on the design and development stages, and on the highly skilled decorative finishes such as engraving, chiselling or gilding.
What we do
We advise customers on all types of glass product, from feasibility studies to production and installation.
We make only bespoke, commissioned pieces and are constantly inventing new materials, sometimes in collaboration with the client. Each project is a joint endeavour between the architect, who determines the space, the environment and the direction we must follow, and the Studio as we define the technical specifications, create and install the finished piece.
Our client has an idea in mind. We transpose this into glass and at the same time incorporate the constraints of safety, function and maintenance. A project is a success when it meets these requirements without being a slave to them.
The finished piece rarely resembles the original brief in every detail. The Studio always suggests alternatives, improves feasibility, or introduces original details.
The Studio is known within the luxury segment for the extreme sophistication and decorative value of its hand-crafted products. Equally original is the intellectual curiosity which inspires us to explore glass beyond the possibilities of materials and effects. This ability to turn our mind to all things glass underpins our capacity to make truly exclusive creations.
How we approach glass
Glass has a mind of its own and only lends itself to transformation on condition that certain rules are obeyed. Respect these rules, and glass is the most liberating of materials because it can take on all manner of shapes, appearances and functions. Stray from these rules even a little… and it will break!
Glass is different from other materials. It is more sensitive, more magical. Its unique properties of transparency and reflection, its ability to catch the light, and the range of decorative effects it can take on put glass in a class of its own. Not only can glass reveal, hide, illuminate, reflect, deform and colour its surroundings, it can also bear heavy loads and carry liquids.
Glass is a virtually invisible material yet, paradoxically, more expressive than any other. To achieve this expressive quality, it must be in perfect harmony with its surroundings.
Moreover, the purity of glass demands perfection in how it is treated and transformed.
Our distinctive approach to glass has led us to invent a number of original techniques.
"Kinetic glass" is inspired by the "moving eye-kinetic art" movement of the 1950s whose members - artists such as Soto, Riley and Vasarely – developed new perspectives which incorporated the spectator's movements and optical illusion.
Glass is the ideal vector for kinetics. Its properties of transparency, colour, opalescence, and reflection enrich this artistic aesthetic by creating surprising optical effects of depth, vibration, movement and shimmer, appearance and disappearance, all induced by the movement of the observer.
The filtering and reflective properties of "kinetic glass" can be finely adjusted, making it a perfect medium for providing shade or varying the amount of light filtering through. This patented technique, developed by the Studio, can be used to create opaque panels, transparent or translucent partitions, and facades.
The Studio has looked at how glass and images might interact in such a way as to make the spectator feel a sense of amazement rather than intrusion.
Working in exclusive partnership with Philippe Schiepan's VIDE "Virtual Design" agency and laboratory, we make decorative glass products whose finely-adjusted semi-transparency conceals video monitors to give the impression of an image moving freely within the glass. The screen becomes a wall which is constantly evolving to match its programmable audiovisual content and blend seamlessly with the surrounding architecture.
The Studio has also explored ways of combining projected images and glass. Using a process which has been patented by our partners, we can contour screen zones, control transparency, and give multiple forms and intensity to an image projected onto glass.
Glass as a vector
Thanks to a patented process, we can machine any type of groove or cavity into very large glass slabs.
Henceforth glass can channel water, electricity or light, and carry out functions it could not otherwise fulfil.
Glass is well-established as an optical material and has become a classic feature of interior design. The Studio has combined both these functions. In museum design, for example, we incorporate magnifiers, reflectors or prisms into glass showcases to present every angle and aspect of the objects inside.
More spectacular still are the decorative effects we create from Fresnel lens, optical holograms, diffraction and dichroism.
Manufacturers must comply with the requirements of vast markets and standardise their products for large-scale production as glass is a heavy and capital-intensive industry.
The Studio builds on its experience and creative force to develop innovative and original proposals for printed glass, and for laminated and screenprinted glass. Our aim is to give a precious appearance to industrial glassware.
For an exceptional facade or when an artist wishes to use glass as a medium, we can provide expert guidance and advice.
A multitude of small companies are involved in the transformation of glass. These highly specialised firms operate within a competitive environment, providing services that require very specific expertise and major investment. Often they are largely unfamiliar with specialities other than their own, which limits what they can propose.
These small companies tend to consider glass in terms of its technical properties, which can prevent them from fully grasping a project with a complex or innovative aesthetic. For the architects and artists who must convey their intention, not knowing what resources these highly specialised professions have at their disposal can make communication difficult.
The Studio can step in and use its knowledge of the industry's multiple professions to head a network of contractors.
The Studio by Bernard Pictet
You describe yourself as a glassmaker. Does this do justice to everything you do?
It's this all-encompassing quality of the word that I like. The idea of crafting the raw material without any further specification. I define myself within glass. I'm open to anything, proud to work without stylistic or aesthetic boundaries. My work and the techniques I employ are extremely varied, yet I can identify glass by the Studio at a glance. There's a common denominator to all my work that I'd be hard-pressed to define. Maybe the thickness of the glass, or not seeking to follow fashion…
"Glass for architecture and interior design" seems quite a broad base. What exactly is your glass used for?
I can make an entire facade just as easily as I can make an ashtray, and everything in between: decorative panels, separations, table tops, etc. The heart of my business is luxury interior design, but I'm equally passionate about creating a glass facade for a building or producing decorative glass on an industrial scale.
Your work requires a complete understanding of glass as well as an artistic background. How did you acquire this experience?
II feel I've learned on the job, during my 30 years in the business, with very different architects and interior designers who've broadened my artistic sensitivity. I'm also interested in art, especially contemporary art, and try to make a connection between what I see and what I do.
Is the way you work today the same as when you first started, thirty years ago?
Definitely not. My experience and sensitivity have grown, and I have a command of techniques some of which didn't exist thirty years ago
Your creations take root in art, decorative art, but also innovative techniques. How do you develop your research and on what bases?
The Studio keeps an eye open for creative ideas, many of which have nothing to do with glass, which we can interpret in what we do. I also employ the services of a professional who monitors innovation in techniques at international level. I adapt technical glass to decorative applications, such as structural glass, optics or laboratory glass, and I look at techniques being used elsewhere, with other materials, such as ligatures or half-lap joints in carpentry.
Have you completed any new projects recently?
We're making new things every month: engraved glass, chiselled glass, kinetic glass, etc. Recently we've been working with VIDE, one of our partners, on projecting images through transparent, textured glass, an idea we implemented in the lobbies of the GDF-Suez and EDF head offices. Right now I'm looking at ways we can use optics to produce floors, partitions and panels which I think will be like nothing anyone has ever made before.
What is your favourite type of glass?
We've made so many different things. My favourite would have to be plain glass used in ways that take people by surprise. The 10-cm thick walls for the Compagnie Générale des Eaux, for example, the glass we made for Taschen in Los Angeles, or the giant test-tubes for Firmenich.
What kind of project would you like to work on that you haven't yet been involved in?
I'd like to make a large religious piece, for the decorative aspect. Glass is especially suited to spirituality. I'm sorry that Sylvain Dubuisson's extraordinary project for Notre Dame was never completed. I'd also like to work with artists, as could have been the case with Soulages or Soto. I'd still like to imagine an amazing facade, and most of all work with industry to produce printed glass and screenprinted glass on a large scale.
You also act as a consultant. What exactly does this involve?
I think I have an original, global but also nuanced view of glass, together with a craftsman's sensitivity, and I'd like to apply these qualities to more industrial products.