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Philippe Starck's crystal palace in Paris


February 23, 2004
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The city of light has a stunning new attraction, a crystal showroom, museum and restaurant created by renowned French designer Philippe Starck.

Located at 11 Place des Etats-Unis in Paris's 16th arrondissement, the former palace of Viscount Charles de Noailles and his wife Marie-Laure is now a larger-than-life showcase for legendary crystal firm Baccarat. Starck, given carte blanche by the company, has transformed the historic building into a 21st-century haven of glass, incorporating his signature style into the 3,000-sq-ft space.

"Baccarat is a world of illusion originating from the glitter of light on the facets of cut crystal," says Philippe, "and it led me to dream up a crystal palace where everything is possible."

Visitors find themselves surrounded by sparkling baubles, crystal fireplaces and chandeliers – one of which is spectacularly half-submerged in a giant water-filled tank – as well as oversized glass furniture, including a mirrored throne and tables, where Baccarat's pricey vases and glasses are displayed.

The firm's history – Baccarat was founded in 1764 at the behest of Louis XV – is centre stage, with crystalware designed by Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel on show alongside table settings commissioned by famous names including Aristotle Onassis and Franklin Roosevelt. And one room, called La Folie des Grandeurs, is devoted to glass furniture created for the Maharajahs of Rajasthan and Tsar Nicholas II.

Starck, who designed interiors for London's Sanderson and St Martin's Lane hotels, has also created the ambience in the first-floor restaurant, which was once the Viscount's dining room. The eaterie combines the simple with the ornate, with carved wood panelling and bare brick walls sharing the space with Baccarat's sparkling glassware and extravagant chandeliers.

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Baccarat, a crystal company founded in 1764 at the behest of Louis XV, gave designer Philippe Starck carte blanche in designing the new space
Photo: AFP
"The gist of Baccarat is a world of illusion originating from the glitter of light on the facets of cut crystal," says Philippe, "and it led me to dream up a crystal palace where everything is possible"

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