Anniversaries: Buatta and Baccarat

Anniversaries are something to celebrate. My other half and I are already looking forward to our 25th...25years and 25 days to spend how we will in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Florence, Rome, Portofino and as many places in between as we can muster. Sounds like a lot? Not when you compare the accomplishments to be found in two new must-haves from Rizzoli:

Mario Buatta, Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration, Rizzoli, New York, 2013


BACCARAT 1764: Two Hundred and Fifty Years, Rizzoli, New York, 2013

First off:

Mario Buatta, the legendary Prince of Chintz, has been celebrated in his beautiful new book encapsulating his fifty-years-and-counting career in the Interior Design Industry. And when I say "beautiful" I mean this book, Mario Buatta, Fifty Years of American Decoration (co-authored by Mario Buatta and Emily Evans Eedmans),  is beautifully crafted. When I first received this very kind gift from Rizzoli, I opened up the box to find something I will treasure for always. The cover is bound on the spine and corners with an overlay of dark blue leather with gilded striping, and the main photo and title on the front cover are placed in an embossed rectangle inset into the stippled blue dotted background. The thick glossy pages number 430 all told, and a pretty yellow satin ribbon is attached to save your place. Just I mentioned. And I mention it because you cannot see just what a well done book it is on a computer screen. It is one of those touch and feel items.....

Paige Rense, iconic Editor Emeritus of Architectural Digest Magazine has supplied the Foreword, and it is clear she holds a very fond place for Mr. Buatta. The two practically grew up together in the biz having known each other for over forty years.

Mario Buatta himself gives us entree into his life as he chronicles his history in the first chapter. He describes his Sicilian roots, his upbringing and family, his musical father, his creative aunts and uncles. Mr. Buatta worked in college at Bonwit Teller, and then moved to B. Altman where his career as a decorator began. He worked there while taking night classes at Parsons. It was at this time when he began to meet the greats he would later join as a colleague: Albert Hadley, Rose Cumming, Nancy Lancaster, John Fowler, Sister Paris, etc. He was off and running.....

Mario Buatta perfected his "Country House Style" and used his style to create homes for the likes of Henry Ford II, Barbara Walters, Malcolm Forbes, Mariah Carey....the list does go on.....and on. He was also responsible for the decoration of the Presidential Guest Quarters at Blair House. 

Starting on page 40 and finishing on 385, we get to sit and take in all of the glorious work Mr. Buatta created over the last 50 years. We see his Town homes, his Country homes and his Weekend homes. The photos were taken from shelter magazines, but we also are privy to photos from Mr. Buatta's private archive. There are fun anecdotal comics, beautiful illustrations of his work, and personal photos of his many friends and family members. Everything included gives us further clues to who this man was...his talent, his charm, his sense of humor and wit, and his heart.

There is something I have found to be very true of all successful designers, and that is they are not only talented and knowledgeable, but more importantly, they are a blast to be around. They are fun. They are funny. They make us laugh and make us feel comfortable. And after reading much....(not all quite yet....after all, I do have to work sometime!) of this wonderful Buatta Atlas, I feel like I have been in Mr. Buatta's world.... for just a little bit.

Mr. Buatta is still out and about spreading his wand of decorative excellence, and we hope he will continue for many years to come!

Happy, Happy Anniversary Mr. Buatta!

I am sure that Mr. Buatta had great appreciation for the brilliant work created by Maison Baccarat throughout his long career. I am sure he will be adding this next historical gem to his own library.....

Rizzoli is on a roll with the wonderful books it produces, especially in the Fall. Another fantastic book for anyone interested in Interior Design, the history of design and decor, the history of France or anyone who just loves a little luxury will be completely undone by: 

Baccarat Museum exhibition hall, Paris
photo credit: Archives Baccarat
So where to begin? The story starts in 1764 when King Louis XV  permitted the founding of a glassworks in a small village on the banks of Meurthe River in Lorraine. The bishop of Metz was tasked with starting the glassworks to provide employment to the local people and to help stop the exodus of currency from flowing into Bohemia through the purchase of glass products.

Over the years through historical circumstance, the glassworks became a Crystalworks around 1816 after it began producing clear crystal that was quite unique.

Table and Ship, 1889 and 1900
photo credit: Fabien Sarazin
Maison Baccarat developed quite a reputation for exquisite design, clarity of crystal, and sharp architectural cuts. It became highly prized and commissioned all over the world by leaders of state, captains of industry, famed designers, artists, and celebrities. Let's just take a little look at the line-up, shall we? The French Monarchy from Louis XV on, Napolean Bonaparte, Sultan Abdlaziz, The Naseral-Din Shah of Persia, Czar Nicholas II, Mutsuhito emperor of Japan 1867-1912, Sultan Sir Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III, the Maharajah of Indore 1919, Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Aristotle Onassis, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, Coco Chanel, Josephine Baker, Queen Elizabeth II, Philippe Starck, and the list goes on....

Pair of flasks from the "Malmaison" service made for HSH Prince Rainier and HSH Princess Grace of Monaco
photo credit: Bettmann/Corbis
Although the history of Baccarat is long  and full, this book gives us less in the way of prose, and much more in the way of visual poetry. An overwhelming amount of beautiful imagery of the treasures grace the pages of this exceptional book. I cannot even begin to show you all of the awe inspiring photography. I hope you enjoy what little I am showing here, and I hope you have a chance to explore the book in person!There are many photos commissioned exclusively for this book, as well as many drawings and manuscripts previously unpublished.

"Juvisy" Service for the Elysee Palace, 1899
photo credit: Patrick Schuttler
We do get to read about Baccarat from two distinguished authors whose knowledge about art and luxury brands is extensive to say the least. Murray Moss founded the iconic design art company, Moss in 1994, and last year launched Moss Bureau, an international design consultancy advising on art and luxury brands. Laurence Benaim founded the art and luxury magazine Stiletto in 2003. She also authored the biographies Marie-Laure de Noailles (2001) and Yves Saint Laurent (2002)

"Uttu" vase from the "Recontre" Collection, Ettore Sottsass, 2002
photo credit: Archives Baccarat
Pair of covered "Simon" vases, presented at the Universal Exposition in Paris, 1867
photo credit: Archives Baccarat
photo credit: Solomom R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA/The Bridgeman Art Library
"Caliph's Staircase" monumental chandelier, Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul, c. 1870
photo credit: Archives Baccarat
"Jallum" light-stick LED lamp, from the "Jardin de Cristal" collection, Yann Kersle, 2010
photo credit: Level1Studio/Getty Images
"Un Parfait" glass from the "Harcourt Darkside"  collection, Philippe Starck, 2005
photo credit: Patrick Schuttler
State Glassware for King Louis-Philippe. 1840
photo credit: RMN-Grand Palais (Musee du Louvre, Paris)/ Tony Querrec
"Lady Crinoline Comete" chandelier, Jean-Marc Gady, 2013
photo credit: Archives Baccarat
"Zenith Alvorada" chandelier, from the "Fusion" collection, Fernando and Umberto Campana, 2013

So I hope you raise a glass (and may it be Baccarat!) to toast the grand anniversaries of Buatta and Baccarat. Long may they thrive and be remembered!
( Full disclosure: the very kind folks at Rizzoli sent me copies of these beautiful books for review, and I must say I am grateful and in awe of the consistent quality and gorgeous layouts, photography and graphics of their books. Not to mention the subject matter!!!)