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may 2013The new Guerlain boutique, part of the Cour des Senteurs in Versailles
Solar inspiration for a work by Nicolas d'Olce, interpreted in glass by Bernard Pictet, for the new Guerlain boutique, part of the Cour des Senteurs in Versailles
Designed by the architect Patricia Grosdemange, the Guerlain boutique stands at the entrance to the Cour des Senteurs, next to the gates of Château de Versailles. It draws inspiration from the tradition of artistic patronage under Louis XIV, the Sun King, and renews with the traditions of the French Court and the prestigious perfumer's history by turning to artists and the artisanship of luxury.
Guerlain architect Patricia Grosdemange masterminded the meeting between the artist Nicolas d'Olce and Bernard Pictet that produced a sculpture on glass titled Le Big Bang des Couleurs.
Measuring eight metres long by three metres high, this vast sculpture takes its place in the make-up area of the new boutique. It depicts a solar explosion, symbolic of the splendours of the Court of Versailles: a blast of colour that pulses through channels in the glass, a deflagration engraved in cosmic black, a gigantic drawing, a succession of "incidents/accidents" that extends across the glass, moving from gold to flame before extinguishing into blue. The finished work brings to mind the matrix for an engraving, part-way between the digital world and a Gustave Doré etching.
This is the first time Nicolas d'Olce has worked with glass rather than his usual medium of Plexiglass. His work takes place in relation to the medium whose intensity and luminosity it deflects.
Atelier Bernard Pictet had charge of the technical specifications and production of the work. At the architect's request, and in close collaboration with the artist, the studio faithfully transposed the work to glass. Each partner discovered the other's expertise in the numerous techniques - sand-engraving, varnishing, gilding and painting - that were used throughout the project.
Nicolas d'Olce's scanned original was enlarged four to five times, expanded, then meticulously retouched so as to conserve the energy of each stroke and the sensibility of the initial engraving.
Atelier Bernard Pictet then made sheets of black lacquered laminated glass that became the support for deep, irregular engravings, lightened by the application of a specific varnish.
Lastly, the engraved lines were gilded before returning the work to Nicolas d'Olce to add his bright, bold colour.
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