In the spunky, Ocean’s 8 version of this story, Baccarat CEO Daniela Riccardi would drive to the Italian border with a trunk full of priceless handcrafted French crystal, deftly manage the checkpoint agent’s gaze and arrive on time for the hand-off to Raffaella Vignatelli, the president of Living Luxury Group. Her team would then insert the crystal into the handmade tables, sofas, mirrors, sideboards and beds. Both women would be in chic sunglasses overseeing this well-choreographed production involving glamorous high-end furniture, two major design houses and a technical first. The soundtrack would be incredible.
Some of that is fictionalized, but after speaking with both ladies on the eve of their big debut in Paris earlier this year, it was clear they were partners in crime with Baccarat La Maison. “This is a mix of our two maisons, in DNA and heritage,” says Riccardi of the lifestyle collection. “We have the best artisans of France, and Rafaella has the best artisans of Italy.” In short: You cannot outcraft the French or the Italians. When they collaborate on design (or wine, or food, or Brexit policies), the results will always be impressive.
The project took two years and was started by Rafaella’s late father, Alberto Vignatelli, the company’s beloved founder who pioneered the concept of fashion and design collections with brands like Fendi Casa, Bentley Home and Trussardi.
Baccarat devotees know the 254-year-old house for barware and striking chandeliers, but how do you create crystal furniture without it looking too over-the-top? “In the beginning we were putting crystal on everything,” says Vignatelli, but when the team began to refine the concept, “we moved to a touch of crystal,” she says. “The base of the headboard, the side of table, a mirror—each piece features a long line of crystal or a little touch so you could have a simple room or an ornate room and everything looks sophisticated.”
Enlisting acclaimed designers also helped. Jacques Grange (who has worked with Baccarat before), Arik Levy, Gilles & Boissier, Chafik and Alban Le Henry conjured the timeless designs paired with classic materials like rosewood, American red elm and ebony.
Still, the sexy plot twist here is the fact that most of this collection can be illuminated—as in, LED technology embedded within the crystal adornments that literally make the pieces radiate. “Light gives life to crystal,” says Vignatelli, revealing the spectrum available (i.e. anything on the color wheel). Think of it as a tech upgrade for your furniture—one where you can set the mood, from nightcap to Netflix, via a remote.
For Riccardi, the effect of glowing crystal is magical. The furniture literally appears to float gracefully. “Something like this doesn’t exist,” she says. “With this integration of heritage and modernity, you have the two worlds: The inside of the furniture is illuminated, which is extremely modern in its conception, and the crystal, which adds to the modern twist to our brand heritage.” See it for yourself when the first US–based Baccarat La Maison opens later this year.