While Cartier has long been synonymous with sparkle, its European flagship just got a whole lot sparklier. The French jewellery brand recently tapped Czech glassmaker Lasvit to design a nearly 55-square-metre “ice corridor” that leads from the main area of its Geneva boutique to an exclusive department dedicated to rare collector’s pieces.
Built from over two tonnes of Czech crystal glass that covers both the walls and ceiling (the floor is carpeted in a watery blue-grey), the passageway is like a supersized version of the multi-faceted gemstones on display around it. “I approached the piece as an artwork made up of many different components,” explains Lasvit senior designer Wanda Valihrachova.
Designed to evoke the glacial caves found throughout the Swiss Alps, the architectural focal point is also a nod to its setting. To give its glass panes a realistically icy appearance, each one underwent a multi-part fabrication process. First, the glass was fused with a coarse frit to produce air bubbles that mimic those that form inside ice. Then, with the help of a mould made from heat-resistant refractory fabric, the pieces were shaped inside a high-temperature oven.
“The moulds were similar to the crumpled newspaper art that we would create in primary school. And when kept in the oven, the flat glass melts and fills the fabric grid, much like plasticine imprinted into concrete,” says Valihrachova. “The glass gains a beautiful crystalline texture that echoes the beauty of flowing water frozen in movement.”
The last step involved joining together the individual parts to create a zigzagging pathway. Mirrored trim along the base of the walls and slightly sci-fi-style lighting contribute to a final experience that feels as futuristic as it does organic. It’s a true journey through space and time — from snowy caves to otherworldly realms. What better form of passage to lead the way to coveted treasures?
The Czech glass manufacturer transforms a jewellery store’s hallway into a bejewelled showstopper.