For Art's Sake: Designs Inspired by the Arts
Art In a Watch
If you talk about art in watches, there’s almost every major house of haute horlogerie that you could list down, owing to the art of fine watchmaking that they specialise in, besides the more visually aesthetic arts like gem-setting, detailing in design, enamel work, etc. However, when art is directly influenced by an artist or a prominent piece of artwork, the connection between watchmaking and art becomes real on another level. And that is the case with Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art–Chagall & l’Opéra de Paris watch.
Among the most artistic watches the Maison has ever made, this watch was inspired by the fresco on the ceiling of the amphitheatre in the Opera Garnier in Paris. The watch was first presented in 2010 at a gala event celebrating 30 years of the Paris National Opera, held at the Opera Garnier. It was spoken of during the opera, at the gala, as attention was drawn towards the ceiling, which was painted by renowned artist Marc Chagall, who was inspired by music, opera and the performing arts. And it is this painting that is actually replicated onto the watch by Vacheron Constantin. The handpainted dial features the time-honoured Geneva technique of grand feu enamelled miniature painting, a method that the Maison has mastered, which is evident from the watches in the Métiers d’Art series. Taking the Métiers d’Art–Chagall & l’Opéra de Paris series forward was a watch that Vacheron Constantin launched in April 2010. This watch, called Hommage to P. I. Tchaïkovski, is a tribute to composer Tchaïkovski and his opera, Swan Lake. Swan Lake was the inspiration for Chagall, who created a mural depicting the iconic opera production, which has again been captured in the form of an enamel painting on the dial of this second watch.
To add to this collection, there will be 13 other watches that will be crafted over the next three years. Each will be dedicated to the composers appearing in Chagall’s monumental work. They include Adam, Moussorgski, Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Rameau, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Verdi, Beethoven, Gluck and Bizet. This is certainly one range of timepieces that draw inspiration from several great personalities from the arts, establishing a strong and unique connection between horlogerie and art.
Art In Jewellery
The eclectic Art Deco style, which emerged in the 1920s, has influenced a wide range of design, including architecture, fashion, film, graphic design and even jewellery. Art Deco, as a style, merged together modernity, elegance and functionality in all areas of design and was also a major influence in artistic styles like pop art. Unlike most artistic movements, this style did not have any political or social motivation and was purely for decorative purposes. The Art Deco style was a mixture of broken lines, dots, circles, sunburst motifs and a wealth of other geometric patterns.
The jewellery house of Cartier has drawn several geometric codes from the Art Deco movement for their collections, with the stark use of black and white colours, and circles and spirals. One such collection is the Cartier Attraction in Black and White—a beautiful collection composed of geometric patterns, shapes and forms, and the juxtaposition between black and white, still reflecting modernity in design. The opposing colours and the use of spiral in the diamond coils create an almost hypnotic effect. The sparkling white diamonds are a contrast to the black, highlighting the concentric circular movement even further. Whether it is diamonds or white ceramic, the virginal quality of the colour stands out against the severity of black, and makes a perfect balance. The colours and designs play to both extremes, and yet, balance each other out so simply that the magnificence is plain to see. Perfect for a glamourous night out or a breezy daytime event, this collection is a picture of abstract beauty.
Art On Wheels
Design, in any form, can in some way or the other be regarded as art. With an unusual power to bind and bring diverse worlds together, the partnerships formed with art are even more memorable. Late last year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled one of the two, the S-Class Art Edition in partnership with Saffronart, one of India’s leading auction houses. This limited edition car was designed to be different, and in every stroke, to be inspired by artistic beauty. With the finest finish, trims and fittings, the experience inside an S-Class is one of luxury, as is the experience of taking in a classic masterpiece. This car is a fine blend between luxury and innovation. A collector of vintage cars, Dinesh Vazirani, Co-founder and CEO of Saffronart, regards a beautiful car as a work of art in itself.
Mercedes-Benz values aesthetics and hence created a car that reflects that belief. In a lustrous Designo Mocha Black colour, the car is visually appealing; the single tone leather, in Designo Deep White provides a stark contrast, as well as comfort, owing to the leather sourced from southern Germany and crafted by highly experienced upholsterers. Moving onto the trim, only the finest handpicked wood, piano lacquer, leather and stone are used for the detailing in crafting this car. If it’s innovation you’re after, the Harman Kardon Logic 7® surround sound system, the rear seat entertainment system, the unique split view display technology, and the über-luxurious champagne chiller are some of the attractions offered in this masterpiece. It is a perfect amalgamation of aesthetics, art and technology. “Both Saffronart and Mercedes-Benz deeply value aesthetics and have constantly endeavoured to innovate and to serve their customers. Through our partnership, we explore and engage with the changing face of aesthetics in India, as influenced by its long-standing traditions, as well as contemporary trends,” says Dinesh.
With this model, both companies are looking to bridge the gap between technology and lifestyle. “Mercedes-Benz is indistinguishable from a refined and luxurious lifestyle and we have consistently set newer benchmarks for style, quality and luxury for our connoisseurs. We are delighted to be associated with Saffronart and to support the creativity and excellence in art. It is a proud moment for us where our wealth of innovation in the creation of automobiles has merged with the unique and imaginative world of art and culture,” adds Peter Honegg, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.
Photo Courtesy: Vacheron and Mercedes
Authors: Alisha Fernandes & Ranvijaysinh Jhala
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