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Breaking the glass ceiling

Looking for the wow factor? Designers can come up with a seemingly endless list of innovative materials, but glass, with its multiple properties—ability to distort, reflect and diffuse light or simply blend into its environment—is an attractive decorative choice. If properly installed and secured, it is perfectly safe to use even on something as mobile as a yacht.


At the Monaco Yacht Show, visitors on board Heesen Yachts’ 180-foot Quinta Essentia, saw an example of a staircase that gives glass a whole new dimension. Interior designer Michela Reverberi worked closely with Paris-based Atelier Bernard Pictet to produce a special piece in keeping with the overall design theme of the yacht, which emphasizes the earth’s basic elements.

Pictet’s work has been seen on other famous yachts and in everything from residential areas to commercial storefronts. One of his latest projects was a Guerlain store in Paris. He also created some special decorative elements for Taschen in Los Angeles.

When Pictet started his studio in 1982, at the heart of an old Paris district, glass was mainly used as an accessory or an afterthought. Pictet is a real innovator and explored new uses for the material, including using it as a structural element in interior architecture. He conceived of different techniques to transform the material without heating it, which maintains its integrity and preserves its inner strength. Unlike other glass artists, such as Dale Chihuly, Pictet does not melt glass; instead he transfigures it using such techniques as sandblasting and chemical etching. The results are stunning.

Engraved, etched, sandblasted, painted, glued or cut, in the hands of Pictet’s artisans, glass becomes the integral part of small or monumental pieces.

The staircase on Quinta Essentia gets its supremely cool allure from a mix of glass and metal, which seems to melt onto a frosted surface. Pictet also created tabletops for designer Rémi Tessier who designed the interior of the stunning sailing yacht Sefira and other confidential projects.

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