... And the cold workshop
At Saint-Louis, “coldwork” takes place in the cutting, engraving, gilding and polishing workshops. Like the glassblowers working with “hot glass”, the master cutters and decorators make full use of their hands, right down to the tips of their tools. It’s a craft of art and excellence. Each drinking glass and tea cup, vase and decanter is chiselled with a series of polished, refined, ever-perfected gestures: thirty to thirty-five different operations go into producing an engraved, agate-polished glass decorated with fine 24-carat gold.
Compasses, bitumen of Judea, buff wheel, pumice stone, diamond, acid baths… From the rough draft to the final polishing, from the first model to the final turns of the buff wheel, by chipping away at the crystal, the cutters and engravers working with “cold glass” release the fire it holds within. In contrast to the instinctive breath and blow of work with Heat, lung-burstingly maintained in the great hall, meticulous Cold imparts a studious atmosphere to the workshops. From this clash, at once angelical and diabolical, crystal glass derives its prestige, and Saint-Louis its signature.