The antithesis of decorative excess: that is how sober-minded Jean Puiforcat viewed the arts of the table. He rarely consented to more than discreet chasing motifs, threads and ribbed edges to adorn his pieces, creating subtle games of light and shade on their surface. Nonetheless, the silversmith-cum-designer did not hesitate to blend sterling silver with an array of other precious materials, inventing a style at the crossroads of absolute purity and extreme sophistication.
1930 centerpiece in sterling silver and pink quartz
As such, in the 1930s he created a luxuriously austere centerpiece, the sides of its cylindrical metal body sporting columns of pink quartz disks. Reproduced in 2013, his 1925 lamp enhanced with white onyx and his 1932 marble-trimmed clock also testify to his gift for imagining subtle blends. Not to mention the fragments of jade, lapis lazuli, cornelian and bloodstone that lend delicate hues to select creations, devoid of any ostentatiousness.
Sphère tea pot in sterling silver and solid wood
While lifting the art of silversmithing to the status of a modern art form, Jean Puiforcat continued to abide by ancestral functions, such as using wood for its thermal insulation qualities. His teapots, Art Deco masterpieces, feature an angular and futuristic silhouette completely unlike the pear-shaped specimens of the 18th and 19th centuries. Nevertheless, like their forerunners, they are designed with an ebony or rosewood handle to avoid burning the hand while serving.
The Silversmith's knives collection
Photo © Bertrand Bozon
True to this tradition of blending materials, the House of Puiforcat immortalizes Jean's spirit in its contemporary creations: knives with metal blades and rosewood handles play on all of these contrasts, shiny and matte, sharp and soft; coffee and tea services embellished with varieties of amaranth, redwood or sycamore that, still today, celebrate the union of rare wood and sterling silver. Sober and rigorous in form, Puiforcat silverwork never hesitates to don the choicest finery.