If a wider choice of materials has been a major influence on design in the 1960s and 1970s, even more was the impact of the huge cultural shifts that occurred during these years. The social freedoms that epitomized the era were directly translated into experimental anything-goes designs that challenged the boundaries of lighting and art.
The "light sculptures" of the 1960s and 1970s were not intended to be particularly functional in the traditional sense, but were instead provocative three-dimensional projections inspired by futuristic utopian visions. The Cœur table lamp designed by Jacques Charles in 1965 is representative of this period.
Founded by Ernest Charles in 1908 under the name Maison Charles, Charles Paris specializes in the reproduction of antique lighting. With the years, the company has built a strong reputation among the bronze casting profession.
His two sons, Jean (First-Class Honours graduate from the Ecole Boulle) and Jacques (Applied Arts graduate) join their father in the family business in the late '50s. Together they design the most distinctive elements that will characterize the "Lampes Charles" style.
The '60s were marked by the huge success of the "Collection Inox" created by Jacques Charles. The collection becomes an aesthetic reference for that period.
In 1971, Chrystiane Charles, Gold Medal winner at the Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Beaux-Arts section Sculpture, takes over the family business and creates the collection that bears its name.
In the '80s, Maison Charles is awarded numerous prizes and joins the Comité Colbert that groups the most prestigious French art trade and design companies, consolidating in this way the company’s reputation for quality.
In 2001, Maison Charles is taken over by Michael Wagner who becomes chairman of the company. The workshops are relocated in Saint-Denis (a northern suburb of Paris), in the premises of the former workshops of the famous silversmithing brand, Christofle.
Since 2006 Philippe Parent has assumed the role of artistic director of the company. He has modernized several iconic pieces of the collection and has commissioned renowned designers to complete the collection with contemporary designs.
At the workshop, ten devoted craftsmen carry on hundred years of exceptional know-how. A tradition of excellence that has become duty. Dictated by the passion of men concerned about dedicating their talent and expertise to design a unique lamp: a home jewel that sculpts light.
Each piece is the work of a true master craftsman. Imagined, designed, poured, engraved, filed, polished, glazed, processed, degreased, varnished by talented craftsmen. A brilliant feat of craftsmanship carried out with the utmost care.
Beyond time and style, quality excellence constitutes Charles' main value.
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