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From Baccarat's glassware to Lustrerie's chandeliers, best in French elegance showcased in Delhi

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New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) From an 18th-century manufacturer of fine crystal which has cast its light around the world to a 150-year-old Paris-based luxury interior designer firm that draws inspiration from antique decors, an exhibition of a range of designer products here showcases specimens of some of the best in French elegance.

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The two-day exhibition "Art de Vivre à la Française ('French Art of Living')", hosted by the Embassy of France along with Business France in collaboration with the French Institute in India and other partners, opened at the Bikaner House in New Delhi on Thursday.

French Ambassador to India Thierry Mathou visited the exhibition in a special preview held on Wednesday evening.

The event hosts an array of exhibitors, showcasing France's rich heritage in home decor and furnishing with the intention to celebrate design, craftsmanship, architecture, interior decoration and collaboration between the two countries.

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The exhibition is being held in the "dynamic landscape of Indo-French relations". Other collaborators include the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and OGAAN-India Design Week, according to a statement issued by the organisers.

As a "historical symbol of the glorious past of both France and India", two tents have been set up in the Ballroom of the Bikaner House, they said.

The tents house few luxury chandeliers designed by Mathieu Lustrerie, a company which specialises in "replicating" the designs of the original chandeliers of the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France.

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Designer Régis Mathieu, the owner of Mathieu Lustrerie, said his firm is "a specialist of historical chandeliers".

"We are able to reproduce exactly the original, because we restored the original. And, like that we have a huge quantity of chandeliers from 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries... But, we also have many other having Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs," Mathieu told PTI here.

He said chandeliers in those days were akin to "a piece of jewellery" and showed the "power of the owners".

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The chandelier displayed in one of the two canopies at the exhibition here were designed mimicking the original ones at the Hall of Mirrors a the Palace, he said.

The Hall of Mirrors is the most famous room in the Palace of Versaille. The whole length of the Hall of Mirrors (73 m) "pays tribute to the political, economic and artistic success of France," according to an official website of the palace.

Régis Mathieu's daughter, Inès Mathieu, the third generation in the family business, says, "Chandelier belong to an era that is very different from today. But, not only to that era".

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"These historical pieces have a place today as well because when you mix these chandeliers with new interiors, it goes super well," she told PTI.

Asked if they have done projects for any Indian clients, Inès said, "Some clients have asked for very special big, big chandeliers in India. And, for a client in Mumbai, a few years ago, we did a project to tell the life of (Lord) Krishna through chandeliers, big chandeliers going over a big staircase and telling the life of the God".

The organisers said that since 2008, Business France has been at the forefront of fostering creative partnerships between France and the world. And, with the Delhi exhibition, the spotlight is on the "seamless fusion of French elegance and Indian vibrancy".

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"Meticulously curated by an Indo-French team from Business France and GCG Architects, the exhibition puts spotlight on France's expertise in interior design, blending timeless traditions with the cutting-edge technology," the statement said.

Other French exhibitors include Alexandre Turpault, founded in 1847, which designs, produces and distributes household linen, manufactured in the purest French tradition; legendary glassware firm Baccarat, set up in 1764; Féau Boiseries, established in 1875 which is keeping the tradition of French-style interiors alive, and Mobilier National, known for its role in preserving and refurbishing state furniture in France.

In 1855, for the first World Fair in Paris, Baccarat had unveiled its unique craftsmanship to the world, according to its website.

At the exhibition, beautiful wood panels by Féau Boiseries have been displayed in the Ballroom, while a replica of an 18th-century wood panel has been put up at the exhibition hall, where digital prints of vintage posters of Galeries Lafayette, one of the most historic shopping stores in Paris, have also been mounted on a panel. "We are in existence for about 150 years and we have the largest inventory of beautiful antique rooms, from 17th century to the 1970s, and our main business is recreation, reproduction of beautiful rooms in French carpentry, inspired by antique rooms we have... We love the mix of French classic architecture with contemporary art," Guillaume Féau from the firm told PTI.

He said his company is "opening a big showroom in New York", adding, "we are producing roughly 80 rooms a year. About 38 projects, from the West Coast of America to Japan".

Féau said he would "love to mix my culture with Indian culture that could produce great designs".

The firm holds an exceptional and inspiring heritage that consists of iconic pieces designed by illustrious architects and interior designers, according to its website.

The exhibition also features bedding and bathroom fixtures, kitchenware, lighting, and tableware, among a diverse range of design houses specialising in home furnishing and interior decoration. PTI KND MNK SKY

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