As designers, glasswork is hardwired in our genes. 20 years of design for the spirits, wine and beauty industries, and collaborations with major glassmakers have led us to develop unique skills in glasswork and crystal work. From design to prototype, our team of structural designers and developers carry out in full understanding of industrial capabilities, the most ambitious and complex projects.


Creative development, CAD, CGI, Project and production management, Technical development, International sourcing .

In tandem with The International Year of Glass, Force Majeure explores the complex relationship between glass and design in an exclusive editorial project centered on a selection of premium glass projects. Laurent Hainaut, Founder of the Brooklyn-based agency, shares his designer’s take on glass in part one of The Art of Glass.

Where does your fascination for glass come from?
My training as an industrial designer has given me a strong attachment to product development. I also have a genuine love for the industry and for noble materials, notably glass. There is also the physical dimension: its malleability, ability to be shaped, sculpted, cut, its transparency, color, and chemistry. And then, the discovery of some magical places like Murano, as well as master glass makers that I worked with over the years, at Saint-Louis and Baccarat. As a material, glass is well suited to various crafts and artistic expressions, but it is also slightly ambiguous: it can be worked by craftsmen in relatively rudimentary conditions and is also suited to industrial production. This duality causes a certain tension between artisanal and industrial, a very contemporary issue and a subject of reflection for many designers and craftspeople today. As a designer, you don’t approach glass the way you would another material. Indeed, the beauty of working with glass is that everything becomes possible. Artisanal craft is about experimentation, innovation, research (in terms of colors, transparency, and finishes), and then taking all of that and applying it to an industrial context. You can’t just embark on glass production without understanding the material’s nature and artistic potential.

What role does the designer play, then?
I believe that a fruitful creative and technical dialogue between a designer and a craftsperson will produce extraordinary results. The designer offers a cultural, functional, and aesthetic vision of an object and how it fits into commerce and society. The craftsperson, the maker, has a unique take on the material through his exceptional knowledge of its property and transformation process. Together, they will push creativity to elevate the work’s uniqueness while understanding the technical limitation inherent to the material or its ability to produce unimaginable effects that will surprise both.

Glass is unique in the world of materials due to its transparency. How do you apprehend this when embarking on a design?
Indeed, transparency exists almost nowhere in nature except in some fluids! There is something genuinely fascinating about how a liquid interacts with glass and how light projects a richness that can’t be achieved with any other material. Glass helps us shape fluids into form. The material cannot be approached as an isolated, independent material; I rarely think about a glass bottle without thinking about its life with the liquid in it, how it will look when it moves into it, or how the light will reflect on it.

How do you translate a brand identity into glass?
It all comes down to great stories, whether perfume or spirits. First, we look for a place, a notable moment in time… and from there, we create a stylistic expression that fits into the culture and is relevant to the consumer. Spirits are unique compared to perfume because the bottle is central to a social experience. We drink to be together and share a moment in time – in moderation. And the bottle becomes the centerpiece of that experience. Perfume bottles need more personal, intimate stories : glass gives us the creative freedom we need to get there.

Eco-design is taking on importance in your profession. How does it impact your work in glass?
This prime moment encourages brands to rediscover glass’s extraordinary potential. Lightweighting is one direction; giving the object a much longer life span is another, maybe a better angle. In our industries, notably spirits and beauty, we don’t have to convince brands; they get it, but we need to keep proposing novel solutions. So we design for beauty functionality and sustainability, a balancing act that pushes us to be more creative and more responsible.