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Verre Lumiere: 20 years of French Lighting 1968–1988
November 16, 2020–January 8, 2021


We are pleased to present Verre Lumiere: 20 years of French lighting 1968–1988, an exhibition of lighting designs by Verre Lumiere, the most innovative and prestigious French lighting firm of the second half of the 20th century.

Comprising more than 50 rare lamps from the 1960s through the mid-1980s, the presentation represents nearly a decade of research and collection. This is Demisch Danant’s first gallery exhibition in New York dedicated to Verre Lumiere, featuring designs by Michel Boyer, Alain Carré, Sabine Charoy, Pierre Disderot, Vera Fabre, Marc Held, Joseph-André Motte, César Putzeys, Ben Swildens, and Jean-Pierre Vitrac, amongst many others. 

Lighting is designed not only to light our surroundings, but also to make us happy.
-Jacques Vidal

In 1968, French lighting firm Verre Lumiere was created on the initiative of Max Ingrand, the famous French master glass worker and decorator. The company was the result of a partnership between the famed 17th-century founded French glass company Saint Gobain and lighting firm Mazda.

Saint Gobain/Glass + Mazda/Lighting = Verre Lumiere 

Jacques Vidal, a former collaborator of Max Ingrand, was initially appointed as the commercial director and shortly thereafter became the head of the company after Ingrand passed away in 1969. He is the one who developed the company in collaboration with young creative designers of the time such as Ben Swildens, as artistic director, and Sabine Charoy in charge of the creative studio.

In only a short few years, Verre Lumiere became the most active platform for architects and designers of that era to meet and collaborate on developing new lighting for public and private commissions, including Palais de l’Élysée in 1972 and the Brasília lamps by Michel Boyer for the French Embassy in Brazil in 1974.

The company distinguished itself through exceptional craftsmanship and highly efficient prototyping, which translated into the most modern designs of the period, with the highest quality materials and excellence in manufacturing. Verre Lumiere was known for meeting the technical challenges of developing new types of lighting for the halogen bulbs of 1969, all the new fluorescent tubes of the 1970s, and later, the Fluo compact bulbs of the early 1980s.

For Verre Lumiere: 20 years of French lighting 1968–1988, Demisch Danant will also launch a digital catalogue of all the models in the exhibition, as well as of all the lighting pieces collected in the past 10 years, with illustrations, archival images, and biographical information for each designer. This catalogue will be updated over time with newfound discoveries.

On view from November 16, 2020 through January 8, 2021, Verre Lumiere: 20 years of French lighting 1968–1988 continues Demisch Danant’s exploration of French design through exhibitions, publications, and programs that connect postwar and contemporary advances in form and technology as points along a continuum of cultural change.

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