The designer has placed a stack of handblown stained glass cylinders in the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance galleries
Scroll down to watch a video of the making process and an interview with Wintrebert at the Lamberts Glas factory
Designer Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert has created an installation for this year’s London Design Festival that aims to showcase the art of mouth-blowing stained glass.
Human Nature – a stack of brightly coloured glass cylinders that will be on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum from 13 September – is the result of a collaboration with manufacturer Lamberts Glas, one of the few factories that still make stained glass in this way.
“It is a great opportunity to expose and celebrate this rare knowledge,” says Wintrebert, whose visit to the factory in Germany prompted his interest in the method. “A step in the process of making windows is to blow big cylinders, which are then opened and flattened.”
“Those cylinders encapsulate everything I enjoy about blown glass. They are big, thin and rich in colour. It is a combination that encapsulates tension and highlights an extraordinary craftsmanship. As an artist, I saw these cylinders as building blocks.”
The making of Human Nature
Wintrebert’s other inspiration was pioneering coloured glass-maker Émile Gallé, who, in the art nouveau tradition, attempted to reintroduce natural motifs in design through such projects as his 1902 embellishment of a Champagne bottle with hand-painted enamel anemones for the house of Perrier-Jouët – a design that the vintner still uses today.
“During the art nouveau period, there was a deliberate use of ‘nature’ as a means to represent beauty – if it was ‘nature-inspired’ that meant the shapes were organic and therefore handmade. With Human Nature, I have taken a more contemporary, minimalist and conceptual approach [to this].”
Perrier-Jouët approached Wintrebert to collaborate on this project, he says, because of an interest in his glasswork as a contemporary take on that of Gallé. In reference to the 19th century glass-maker, Wintrebert has used the colours of the original Gallé bottle in the Human Nature installation.
Human Nature by Jeremy Wintrebert for Champagne Perrier-Jouët will be at the V&A as part of the London Design Festival from 13-21 September