The Royal Jewellers S01 ep7 : Lorenz Baumer Jewellery [Paris]
Interview with Lorenz Baumer
You have to do two things at once. You have to be very knowledgeable of all the process and at the same time you have to forget about all of that, because pretty often you'll design something and the workshops they will always tell you, you can't do it, because it is very complicated to do. They don't want to take the chance of it not working out because it will be there fault. So you have to say I want it done this way and that is it, so just find a solution.
KM - What is Lorenz Baumer?
We are doing different things. First of all we have a whole part of our business
that designs for all sorts of people, which is for the all the major houses, which
are Place Vendome. Then we also do watches, like the swatch group or other
people and then we also design perfume bottles, furniture, like the furniture
that I am sitting in, the whole room here. Then another major part of our
business is designing and selling fine jewellery under our name.
KM – When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I always sketched out things; I was always designing things here in Paris. I
studied engineering. It was like very general engineering studies and after that
I said, “O.K. let's forget about engineering, I just want to have fun and design
things and create something”. In a certain way it is not very different in
designing a car, except you know you are doing something in which the
probably the artistic part is a lot more important.
In the early 80s there was nothing of great and fabulous quality around,
because all the things were mass-produced. So I wanted to create things like
they were done in the 18th century or at the turn of the century, art deco
furniture, which were pretty much one of a kind very extraordinary, with high
quality material. And then I was lucky enough to meet some major jewellery
houses on place Vendome who were looking for designers and they got me
through some of the people I was designing furniture for. So they knew the
owners of some of the houses and they said, “Well if you are looking for
someone who is talented, who has got ideas, who is designing interesting
things, why don't you talk with them?” and this was the beginning.
KM – This was around the age of 22, 23.
KM – What was your first thought about that?
I guess I was very innocent at that point because I thought I can do it, you
know if this were to happen today, o.k. I would say this is very different. It is
probably for women, can I understand what women are expecting, what they
like. Somehow none of these thoughts ever occurred to me, I just said o.k.
Let's do it and we will just see what happens. And then after time I started
realising that there are a lot of different things you have to think about. Like
how easy is it to wear, how much are you going to be in style with fashion, how
easy is it going to be to manufacture, how new is it going to be.
KM – What was your creative process?
You have to do two things at once. You have to be very knowledgeable of all
the process and at the same time you have to forget about all of that, because
pretty often you'll design something and the workshops they will always tell
you, you can't do it, because it is very complicated to do. They don't want to
take the chance of it not working out because it will be there fault. So you have
to say I want it done this way and that is it, so just find a solution.
KM – What do you like about doing jewellery?
It is very luxurious; everything is very refined, in all the details. It is quite
spectacular. You know you make people feel good and you know we have the
privilege of working with some extraordinary craftsmen and I am somehow like
the "chef orchestre' you know who makes sure everybody plays their tune
KM – The conductor!
Yes, a conductor, exactly. The most difficult thing is not coming up with the
ideas but is making sure that each one of my clients have their own style.
Because you don't want to be going through the windows in place Vendome
and say, 'oh this was designed by Lorenz' and then you go to the next
company and say, 'ok this was designed by Lorenz also". Somehow each has
to be their own style, which makes my signature totally disappear.
KM – In terms of how you would design for yourself compared to the other
clients, how do you see that?
We always try to have something that is amusing, and that it tries to be
jewellery that is more than just what it is. To give you an example for instance,
I did a little bee that is on a ring that looks like lips, so it is called the 'kiss of
the bee'. And somehow the story behind it is that it relates to the surrealistic
movement in Paris, you know to all those sort of things that happen. Or it
might relate to the story of a saint called Saint Rita (a French saint), who is the
saint of the desperate causes. Apparently when see was very young a bee
flew into her mouth and flew out again without stinging her. There is always
something behind it.
KM – What advantages and disadvantages do you have?
Well the disadvantage is that a lot of things have been done, so you trying to
recompose things, in a different way. Use some elements from the past you
know, as Karl Lagerfeld says (I don't know where he holds it from) you know
you use elements from the past to build a better world but on the other hand
this is a really very exciting time to live in. I am sure some people 100 years
from now will say this was the big technological revolution and there are so
If you have a good knowledge of the past, if you know this technology you can
do things that have never been done, same thing in jewellery. For instance the
laser technology, laser soldering, enables us to create things, which have
never been done before. Plus the history, I have some friends who have been
50 years in the business, you might have a problem you may not know how to
put a piece of jewellery together. You say I have this problem, and they say,
oh I've seen a piece from 1834 where the problem was solved in this way and
then you have the technology and you have some fabulous craftsmen,
because the craftsman historically speaking are the best in the world. So you
put all that together, and you can put out things that have never been done.
We are doing an erotic watch, yes it is supposed to look like him and his wife
so we are doing really funky and interesting things from a portrait of him, a
photograph we have so that is really fun.
KM – What is this about erotica is it back in fashion or something?
I guess it is for people who have everything; they think it is really funny. It is
also the idea of surprising people either by shocking them or because it is
extraordinarily beautiful. Those are conversation pieces.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Lorenz Baumer Jewellery