At first glance, there is little in common between the californian Silicon Valley and the world of French luxury. On this small piece of territory located in the south of the bay of San Francisco, on the side of Palo Alto, it is more concerned with the power of microprocessors and the width of the bandwidth of the smoothness of the skin of the hand bags. The look of the gurus of the companies in the sector of new technologies is summarized, as to him, the more often – with the exception of the so chic pullover black Issey Miyake worn by Steve Jobs – to a t-shirt, pants, informs and a comfortable pair of sneakers. Not to mention the incompatibility, one can doubt the solubility of the idea of the art of living in French in a newspaper of engineers surconnectés, overactive, filled with transhumanism.

“Our houses are in an exploratory approach in Silicon Valley”

Guillaume de Seynes, president of the Comité Colbert and the number two of Hermes

Only three companies belonging to the Comité Colbert, which regroups the four-twenty-two institutions of the French luxury (fashion, crafts, gastronomy, hospitality, culture, etc.) – are to this day present in Palo Alto. Most are in San Francisco and Los Angeles. “Our houses are in an exploratory approach in Silicon Valley,” says Guillaume de Seynes, president of the Comité Colbert and the number two of Hermes.

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beyond appearances, the mutual attraction of the old world and the new is real. Better, everyone seems to want to know more about the other. Notably next to the campus of Stanford university, the epicenter of university of Silicon Valley. The Colbert has decided to engage in a collaboration with the prestigious institution. Since September, within the framework of the program “Arts Intensive”, craftsmen’s houses, Puiforcat, Christofle and Ercuis instruction is linked to the know-how of the goldsmith French. A way to show students that the luxury is not limited to a few products flashy but rhymes, too, with extreme precision, innovation and passion.

“academic Credibility”

“Stanford is keen to ensure that all students have access to a meaningful experience of the know-how to be creative, points out Matthew Tiews, executive vice-president for the arts at Stanford. […] The commitment of the Comité Colbert on the subject is perfectly aligned with our vision of teaching. The opportunity for our students to work with expert craftsmen from the family of companies of the Comité Colbert gives a new dimension to our academic offer by enriching it significantly.” Guillaume de Seynes is satisfied, as to him, “the academic credibility and to be acquired (which) is intended to register in the term in the landscape of california”.

“Stanford is keen to ensure that all students have access to a meaningful experience of the know-how and creativity”

Matthew Tiews, executive vice-president for the arts at Stanford

In this relationship based on the exchange, beginning of December, it was the turn of the Americans – business leaders, startuppers, executives… – to go to Paris to discover the universe of the creation of the French luxury in situ, on the occasion of the Festival Colbert. A series of twenty-three workshops highlighting the know-how of these houses in the universe of the art of living. Thus, in the context of “Machines and Human Senses”, the perfumer Francis Kurkdjian and the president of Krug Margareth Henriquez, explained, in the premises of the Ircam (Institute for research and coordination acoustic/music), how the design of the juices and champagnes for the more sophisticated, made with ancient methods, could be compatible with advanced technology. “Our universe does not defend the “it was better before”, said Francis Kurkdjian. In the crafts sector, the technology can often get a better quality today than in the past.”

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in Addition to the fusion between traditional techniques and tools are used the most modern, another aspect that has surprised and seduced: the anchor of the French trade marks in the long history of the country, the passages of the relay successive in the same lines. “The longevity of our homes, particularly as embodied by the families claiming the marks sometimes centuries-old, is passionate,” says Guillaume de Seynes. When Microsoft or Apple, born less than fifty years, is in addition to-Atlantic of the dinosaurs, the good health of some of our business over several centuries, never ceases to fascinate.


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