LUXURYCULTURE.COM - Savoir Faire + Science = Art?


Lux Inside is a collective that combines medical scanners with digital art and photography to produce images that reveal the savoir-faire in luxury goods. These pictures and artisan-made objects will be sold in Paris on March 1.

Laurence Picot’s definition of luxury?
Savoir-faire and invention.


The heart, between my spirit and my hands.

It cannot be a person. It’s obviously a very big quantity of people. I mean in the sense of a purpose.

Sunrise, because it’s like a promise.

“Nowadays we are at a point where we cannot trust the outside appearance of a luxury object,” says Laurence Picot, a Paris-based writer and specialist in the world of luxury. “We need to know what’s inside because of the disappearing savoir faire, inventors quitting their countries and delocalization.” With her new project, Lux Inside, Picot does just that.

Inspired by the continued demise of French artisans, in particular the rising employment, in 2008 Picot set out to do more than just write about the luxury industry’s predicament. “As a journalist, I realized that I never had the space to write the full story about these products, about the workmanship that is dying and the artisans who no longer have jobs,” she says. “We’re an image society. If you don’t show the workmanship, how can we see it?”

Working with Jean Francois Paul, a leading radiologist, Ricardo Escobar, a digital artist and Sylvain Ordureau, an internationally renowned software inventor, Picot began to create images that literally show the inside of products. By utilizing the same scanners used in hospitals, and combining this with photography and pioneering software, the team were able to produce remarkable works of art that actually reveal the process of a product’s creation. In a bespoke shoe made by Paris-based Pierre Corthay, the unusual tools used in its last can be seen underneath its shiny leather exterior. In a Dupont lighter, its patented technology can be seen surrounded by fuel. And within a pair of couture gloves by Mary Beyer, the hand-shaped pattern appears as an X-ray-like skeleton.

By 2010, Picot and her technical supporters had 14 revealing images, from bottles of Louis XIII cognac to a Dyson vacuum cleaner. By this point, they were keen to give back to the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque foundation which uses the same scanners as the art collective. Picot organized an auction, whereby 10 photographs (“Is it art?” she enquires) will be sold along with the objects, with the majority of the proceeds going towards the foundation, and the rest to Quixotic, an association for the preservation of savoir-faire. Lux Inside negotiates a curious relationship between luxury artisans and medical apparatus, something not lost on Picot. “Hospitals and medical equipment is not my usual universe. But for me it is correct because I wanted to show the human beings inside a product.”

Lux Inside, the auction, takes place at Artcurial, Paris, on March 1
Bid online:

Object: Pierre Corthay’s Arca shoe
Pierre Corthay’s Arca model entails all the specifics of craftsmanship of a boot maker worthy of the name: 160 operations for ready-to-wear footwear based on the Goodyear process. A custom-made shoe will require 230 operations and 5 days of work for a craftsman. As of 2006, only 10 major players in the leather industry remained in France (Source: SESSI) with a handful of tanneries, a single high-end shoetree manufacturer, the last small metal tool producer and the ultimate polish supplier. In Northampton, England, four factories still operate.
Bid online:

Object: The “Malmaison” coffee set by Christofle
Image: The “Malmaison” coffee set by Christofle is a reminder that the recognition of the celebrated silversmith dates back to the Empire period under apoleon the Third, a rich time for invention when clients demanded the most refined and innovative objects. The irony of Christofle’s story lies in the fact that it was initially associated with the quest for mass production of a visionary industrialist, but today stands as one of the last remaining luxury silver plated product producers.
Bid online:

Object: The Maison Rémy-Martin Louis XIII cognac
The Maison Rémy-Martin Louis XIII cognac is made up of 1,200 blends that are aged from 40 to 100 years. France is the only country in the world with enough one- hundred-year old oak forests managed for sustainability,
to maintain a prosperous barrel making industry and provide the perfect vessels for the development of the greatest vintages. Without abundant oak and without the 450* winegrowers and distillers of the greater Champagne region, never would the Louis XIII cognac have reached us.
Bid online:

Object: Dupont lighter
“What’s interesting about Dupont lighters is that there is an invention, the reservoir of gas, which is patented by them. They are not only a silversmith but also an inventor. This piece is a prototype that was never put into production.”
- Laurence Picot
Bid online:

Object: Maison Cadolle vintage bodice
Maison Cadolle is the force behind the international notoriety of French lingerie creators and manufacturers around the globe. Once Herminie Cadolle had invented the bra in 1889, this new, revolutionary comfort for women would further integrate countless innovations into the secrets of its composition. The sixth generation of Cadolle women remains at the head of one of the last French lingerie manufacturing facilities who train interns so that the know-how resulting from 130 years of practice and creation does not disappear.
Bid online:

Object: Saint Louis crystal set designed by Hilton McConnico,
If there is an industry well aware of the value of inventions, it is no doubt the crystal ware industry. In an era past, master crystal makers would be admitted to the ranks of the nobility and allowed to bear swords. In 2010, the quality of Saint Louis crystal is recognized but no visitor is allowed entry into the factories and its 200 employees are keenly aware that their future is predicated on the preservation of their craft and the innovations that allow them to create new, exclusive models that cannot be copied. Such is the Extravagance set designed by Hilton McConnico, a gem with a diamond cut inspired by the factory’s original “Trianon” model patented in 1830.
Bid online:

Object: Dyson vacuum cleaner
The pioneering inventor Dyson employs some 420 engineer-designers in the R&D division and submits one patent application a day (some 1,500 already pending). An incredible accomplishment for a company established in 1993 by James Dyson, who spent seven years in his barn developing no less than 5127 prototypes of a bagless vacuum cleaner before he revolutionized the market.
Bid online:

Object: Mary Beyer bespoke gloves
Mary Beyer is a designer, glover and head of one of the last contemporary workshops producing the Millau glove and the only one in France offering made-to-measure gloves.
Bid online:

Object: “Andrea” air cleanser by Mathieu Lehanneur
The “Andrea” air cleanser by Mathieu Lehanneur and David Edwards is based on research validated by NASA in 1988, to purify the environment of the astronauts in their capsule. Some 20 years later, they discovered that the roots of the plants have bigger potential efficacy than the leaves and to increase the de-pollution impact, the air must be forced through a filter of roots.
Bid online:

Object: Christian Louboutin heels
The thinness of stiletto heels was made possible through the aeronautical engineering discoveries in metals that followed the Second World War. And it is this knowledge that Christian Louboutin calls upon when creating his signature red-soled heels.
Bid online:

Related Articles

Petit H: Contemporary Craftsmanship at Hermès
Footwear Fantasy
Unearthing the Deep