Fabergé’s First Boutique

01 Dec 2009
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Fabergé Opens the Doors to its First Boutique since 1917


December 2009, the Fabergé boutique in Geneva, Switzerland, opens its doors to clients from around the world. A work of art in its own right, the first Fabergé boutique is unveiled more than 90 years after the creation of the last masterpiece by Peter Carl Fabergé, the visionary artist-jeweller and goldsmith to the Russian Imperial Family, headed by Tsar Nicholas II.

In a historic move fusing tradition and modernity, the new boutique in Geneva complements Fabergé’s innovative online salon, physically manifesting the elegant environment in which clients can experience the world of Fabergé.

The boutique is situated in one of Geneva’s most prestigious locations, at rue Pierre Fatio, 5, within an elegant and refined historic townhouse, overlooking Le Jardin Anglais. Meanwhile the second floor salon has a stunning view over Lake Leman and the celebrated Jet d’Eau. Echoing Peter Carl Fabergé’s genius at delivering the most unexpected surprises, the interior of the boutique presents an innovative approach to the High Jewellery experience, with its expression of modern luxury through simplicity and sensuality.

The concept and design for the Fabergé boutique has been created by renowned Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon, whose own artistic approach, entirely in tune with the spirit of Fabergé, focuses on superlative craftsmanship, sensually minimalistic shapes and forms, and exquisite materials, including silk wall drapes, rare woods and Carrara marble. All materials are natural, giving the boutique an organic and dynamic feel, enticing and enveloping its high energy, balanced by a serenity that comes from the tonality of neutral, silvered metallic shades. Katharina Flohr, Creative Director of Fabergé, chose Hayon, she says, for his intuitive blend of “historical grandeur and freshness, his balance between opulence and modernity.” The sensitivity, the respect for materials, the attention to detail, the element of desire, that all characterise contemporary Fabergé jewellery, are carried through into the boutique environment.

Light and luminosity that flood the boutique form the central theme of Hayon’s interior design. Simple open spaces are bathed in the reflections of mirrors and in outside light that drifts through the tinted glass of cut-out gem-shaped panels in tall interconnecting doors. The ceramic chandeliers throughout the building are given a platinum finish, the jewel-like glint of precious metal subtly linking different elements of the decor, just as the giant glass cut-out gems play with colour, light refraction and the concept of the jewel.

Clients enter through a spacious reception room, warm and welcoming, leading into the main boutique, soft and seductive, a world away from the hustle of streets outside. The jewels are displayed, cocooned in sensual silk, in stand-alone showcases, each with a sense of spectacle and theatre, reinforcing the high drama of the Fabergé masterworks. Against a backdrop of sophisticated simplicity, the beauty of the jewels is allowed to unfold, subtly and quietly, so that each jewel shines alone, telling its own story. The second floor of the boutique, reached by private lift, houses an intimate salon, sharing the same low-key, luxury, sensual minimalism and play of light, where clients can enjoy the jewels at their leisure, indulging in the ultimate High Jewellery experience.

The furniture throughout has been specially designed and hand-made for the Fabergé boutique, its shapes and materials following Hayon’s favoured organic fluidity of form. Deep, rich, russet mahogany details contrast with matte white lacquer, giving tradition and opulence a futuristic flavour. The enveloping comfort that is so much a feature of the boutique is integrated with high-technology through in-built flat screens that show the jewellery in full, three-dimensional, magnified detail, adding a modern dimension to the discovery and delight that is and has always been the essence of Fabergé.

Tatiana Fabergé, Peter Carl’s great grand-daughter and member of Fabergé’s Heritage Council, lives nearby, on the French side of border. She states: "Rarely in life does one get to see history come full circle. Peter Carl Fabergé, my great grandfather, died in Switzerland on 24 September 1920, just a few years after the Bolshevik Revolution ended the aspirations and success of the House of Fabergé. A remarkable and tender portrait taken in Switzerland shortly before his death palpably shows his grief. Today, almost 90 years later, Fabergé makes an historic return to Switzerland so that we may continue his legacy and recall the truly extraordinary events that have brought Fabergé to this point.