Why are we going back to glass?

It was the last thing in the world we wanted to inherit from our grandmother:  her collection of huge vases in heavy cut crystal, stored in cabinets on plastic covered shelves.  Or her service of rococo mini hobnail tumblers, made in Slovakia, in which she sipped her port while watching quiz shows on TV.  We completely forgot about them, but lately we run across their twins in the most unexpected places…and often every bit as trendy as they are.  Multi-faceted carafes with scrolled stoppers; large finely worked whiskey glasses, like we used to offer Dad in the 1970’s; “diamond” ashtrays of the same epoch; even those famous transparent etched vases relegated to church altars, filled with chrysanthemums and wilting carnations.  Escapees from kitsch museums, they infiltrate second-hand stores for yuppies, amongst Danish sofas and wabi-sabi ceramics (of which the old-fashioned 19th century crystal is the exact opposite!)  Or you find them in the vintage vase section of neo-florists of the area, among the Vallauris pottery and the enameled coffee pots.  At Robin & Williams Guild in SoHo, ultra chic concept store, which also houses the (French) restaurant La Mercerie, and the boutique of the “floral artist” Emily Thompson – the pioneer of the Flemish bouquet, very comfortable with this grandiloquent style – they sell a selection of vessels engraved Saint-Louis (the dean and the most elitist of these manufacturers), as well as the creations of the Japanese glassmaker Haruya Hiroshima, who learned his trade from his Czech master…The house bartender plies his trade surrounded by engraved vintage carafes, flasks and glasses…

Have we finally had it with Scandinavian minimalism?  We've already talked of the wave of “granny chic” that’s been wafting across the deco world for a while now ( the fringed sofas at the Hotel Hoxton and the return of upholstered arm chairs).  But bartenders are also advancing the cause.  In order to offer each of their creations a specific look, many have become “glass geeks”.  These big tattooed guys (or girls) adore collecting stem glasses, in cut crystal or hobnailed crystal tumblers like they sell in the show rooms of “Arts de la Table” .  At Combat in Belleville – amongst others – delicate antique crystal carafes and flasks clash with brute industrial décor.

Will glassware be the new pottery?  After having been enticed by “neo-ceramists” will we have to pretend to be interested in “art glassware”, the art of Bohemian crystal or the “Brilliant Period”, the golden age of crystal in the US?  Will we organize weekend “manufacturers tours” in Lorraine?  That’s just too much for us.  We’re going to start by a quick trip to Monoprix, which has just brought out a line of engraved cut glass:  goblets, flasks, bud vases and even candlesticks!  The trend is going full steam.  It’s a little bit tacky, it’s made in China, but it does make us want to unearth something a little more authentic at the second hand store.  But maybe it’s in a carton in the attic, Grandma’s crystal vase?  The day we find it we’ll look it in the whites of its eyes and decide if it’s still as kitsch.  Or, as Marie Kondo would say, if it sparks joy!