Members of the Paris Alumnae/i Network attended a guided visit to the Baguès workshop on Tuesday, June 8 to see how craftsmen make elegant bronze and iron chandeliers, lamp fixtures, wall sconces, and mirror frames. We observed the careful pounding, chiseling, bending, and twisting that the workers applied to lengths of iron and cast bronze to shape the metals into beautiful works of art. Some two to three years of experience are required for a worker to begin to get proficient at the craft. And because the work is so labor intensive, the products that come out of the shop are well beyond the means of the average consumer.
Among those public and private institutions wealthy enough to be able to afford to decorate their palaces with Baguès products are the Château de Versailles, the Banque de France, the Hôtel Ritz, the State Department in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Palace of Bucharest. The lamps and chandeliers are made to measure. This, the expensive materials, and the careful handiwork, account for the costliness of the finished product.
Baguès began as a family-run business in the 19th century, making lamps for churches. Today, a different family runs the enterprise. There are only about three or four companies remaining in France that perform this type of workmanship.
The showroom is located at 73, avenue Daumesnil in the 12th arrondissement.