Boucheron Celebrates 160 years with Vendorama Exhibition
Boucheron started a year of celebrations in style with an unusual and immersive exhibition at La Monnaie museum in Paris.
This year, the French jeweler is celebrating its 160th anniversary as well as 125 years as the first jeweler to set up a boutique on Place Vendome and the 50th anniversary of its signature Serpent Bohème. But while highlighting some of its heritage, the jewelry house has made it clear it is rooted firmly in the present and looking to a bright future with digital technologies incorporated in the exhibition, which closed on January 28.
Visitors to the museum were welcomed by a graffiti-tagged alleyway lit by neon signs - the work of French artist Noé - which lead to a purposed-built glass and steel structure that showcased 250 or so pieces through scenography divided into four main chapters: Inspiration, Conception, Fabrication, and Revelation.
An augmented reality tour guide, Wladimir – based on Gerard Boucheron’s affectionate black cat, who used to be a much-loved feature of the Place Vendome boutique - would lead visitors who had downloaded the Vendorama app. In the Inspiration section, a red library that recalled Boucheron’s Salon Chinois at Place Vendome, offered a chance to see some of the house’s archives including order logs as well as three interactive ebooks that recalled the life of Boucheron’s founder Frederic Boucheron. Meanwhile in the Creation section, a space inspire by the studio of Boucheron’s Creative Director Claire Choisne, visitors could alter a digital version of the original drawing for the iconic 1879 Question Mark necklace.
The Fabrication section was set as a workshop with short interactive video installations that put visitors in the craftsmen’s seats as they polish or set gems, or study a laboratory-like display of loose gemstones.
Eschewing the hallmarks of a traditional “heritage” exhibition, Vendorama focused on contemporary pieces presenting works such as the 2016 gold cape, Cape de Lumiere, a feast of goldsmithing, and a new addition to Boucheron’s menagerie: the wolf, created out of baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds. There were also new interpretations of the Question Mark necklace and Serpent Bohème.
The visit culminated with a 360-degree photo booth offering a scaled panorama of the Place Vendôme with silver confetti - perfect for social media.