The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand


Monday 11 April 2016, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

This elegant oval coffee table was made by Maison Baguès circa 1960. It stands on four gilt bronze feet with a decor of cobs and has an oxidised mirror top.

Thanks to the Baguès brothers, the Maison Baguès is the emblem of savoir-faire in fine, high-end ironwork, revered both domestically and internationally. On the heels of this success, branch offices opened in New York, London, Brussels, Rome, and Cairo.

The most important interior designers and decorators have called on Baguès to help them realize their decorating visions, including Jansen, Raymond Subes, and Armand Albert Rateau. In 1928, Rateau designed the interiors of Jeanne Lanvin’s town house.
Private palaces, private businesses, and the great hotels continue to count themselves amongst the Maison Baguès’ clients to this day: the Ritz, the Plaza Athenée and the Bristol; the King’s Palace in Morocco; and the great hall of the Banque de France. The Maison Baguès outfits some of the most prestigious spots in the world, including the State Department in Washington and the palace of Bucarest.
Created around 1840 in Auvergne by Noël Baguès, the Maison Baguès specialized in liturgical bronzes.

In 1880, Eugène Baguès, Noël’s son, developed the enterprise by starting production of bronze light fixtures – a shift that naturally followed the generalization of electricity.
In the twenties, Victor and Robert Baguès expanded their father’s bronze lighting collection, creating their own models in iron. The Baguès collection thus came to include the “Perroquets” and “Feuillages” chandeliers and sconces.

Baguès’ repertoire also encompasses stair banisters and gates. Examples of such high-end creations can still be found in a number of places in Paris, such as the Golden Gate of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

In 1957, Jean-Pierre Baguès, the son of Victor Baguès, bought the society back on credit. Baguès had passed into the hands of bankers during the Great Depression. Jean-Pierre Baguès breathed life back into the collection by expanding it with new, stunning pieces. Back on its feet, the Maison Baguès outfitted the palace of Versailles with chandeliers and suspensions for Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom and the king’s game room.

In 1995, Jean-Pierre Baguès retired. He left the society to Mr. Souriau, who decided to establish the Maison Baguès under one of the largest vaults of the Viaduc des Arts of Paris, where one traditionally finds lighting, bronze, tapestry, and lace manufacturers.

Today, without sacrificing its fine traditions of workmanship, the Maison Baguès adapts the most celebrated models of its collection for the great French and international design houses: Alberto Pinto, Pierre Yves Rochon, Nina Campbell, and more, in order to light the George V Four Seasons of Paris, the Savoy of London, the Ritz, the Royal Mansour of Marrakech, the Patek Philippe boutique in Geneva, and Cartier in Paris….

Since 2007, Baguès has expanded its atelier to include a second location in the same neighborhood, permitting the resumption of the crafting of large chandeliers – among many other projects based on the models in their archives.

The Maison Baguès continually strives to maintain a superior quality of craftsmanship and of materials, enhancing standard models by remaining faithful to the fabrication methods that Baguès has honored for centuries.

Since 2011, under the direction of Mr. Gesteau, the Maison Baguès has been associated with Bronzes de France, which specializes in high-end decorative hardware models. This partnership is able to offer decorators a complete service in the finest traditions of craftsmanship.

In 2000, the design duo of Garouste & Bonetti rethought the style of the Maison Baguès in creating a new collection. This innovative set, comprised of a lamp, a mirror sconce, and a floor lamp, won the “Coup de Coeur” prize at the Lighting Salon.
At the Biennale des Editeurs de la Decoration of 2003, the high-end decorators’ fair of Paris, Baguès débuted another new collection of lights: “Flowers of Crystal,” created by Mattia Bonneti.

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