French Savoir-Faire – Beyond Luxury
September 20, 2023
Through the world's most renowned couture brands or unparalleled gastronomy, French luxury is no longer a secret to anyone. However, few people know the unique cultural patrimony that lies behind the word "Savoir-faire". Beyond luxury, hidden gems deeply rooted in the French regions are yet to be discovered.
Louis XIV visits Manufacture des Gobelins, 15 October 1767
Colbert, Louis XIV and the birth of French savoir-faire
French savoir-faire, as we know it today, was born under the reign of Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, and more particularly through his Minister of Finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert. In response to the economic crisis of that time, Colbert decided to counter imports by developing the manufacture of luxury goods on the French territory. He encouraged the creation of royal factories, supported by the King. The most famous examples are the Manufacture royale des Gobelins in Paris, specialized in luxury tapestry or the Manufacture royale des glaces de miroir - now Saint-Gobain - created to counter the Venetian glass monopoly. The Versailles Palace, built during this period, is still today one of the most prestigious windows of French craftsmanship.
The EPV label distinguishes French companies with excellent craft and industrial know-how.
Living patrimony, the beauty of gestures
Today, savoir-faire goes far beyond the creation of exceptional and luxurious objects: it is about mastering unique gestures and rare skills at the crossroads of tradition and technology. It is also a question of lifestyle, of respect for the slow pace of craftsmanship, and of a unique empathy in the perception of the world. The regional anchoring of these traditional skills is also essential to define savoir-faire. The Lorraine region is the land of crystal, with great names like Baccarat, Lalique or Daum. Limoges in Nouvelle-Aquitaine is the home of porcelain with names like Bernardaud and J-L Coquet. All these dimensions have been combined in the Entreprise du patrimoine vivant (Living Heritage Company) label, created in 2006 to reward and support French know-how.
L120 cordless lamp in collaboration with Maison Pouenat and Michel Jouannet
A metal worker firing iron parts at Maison Pouenat's workshop
Voltra celebrates savoir-faire
Voltra Lighting has recently collaborated with Maison Pouenat, metal art worker, and J-L Coquet, master porcelain maker from Limoges, to develop ranges of wireless table lamps that combine its cutting-edge technology, lighting and aesthetic know-how with the creations of the most talented designers. Whether it's the way the technology resonates with the object or the lighting that best enhances the beauty of the material, Voltra brings to light the finest French treasures.
Hemisphere lamp in collaboration with J.L Coquet
Slipcast porcelain vessels drying at the J.L Coquet pottery