This family cutler, founded in Paris in 1820 by Emile Puiforcat and his two cousins, owes most of its renown to Jean Puiforcat, from the fourth generation of the family, who was to write the most beautiful pages of its history almost a century later, and would establish the company in the avant-garde of modern silverwork. Driven by his father, Louis-Victor Puiforcat, the company began evolving towards the high-end of the silversmith’s trade in the late nineteenth century, recreating eighteenth-century masterpieces from his collection that are now exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris. His son Jean was named a master silversmith in 1920. Immersed in the wave of artistic change that characterised the period between the wars, he was one of the founders of the Union des Artistes Modernes in 1929, and was a friend of René Herbst, le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Chareau. He was passionate about sculpture and invented a revolutionary formal language that advocated adapting form to suit function.
His unfussy style – characterised by pure, architectural lines, notable simplicity and the marriage of solid silver with other precious materials such as exotic woods, semi-precious stones and shagreen – is inspired by Art déco and was the founding stone for contemporary high-end silverwork. His work is regularly revived and still exudes the same spirit we see in contemporary in-house collections.
The solid steel cutlery set Zermatt, designed by Patrick Jouin and launched in 2010, has already been included in the permanent collections of the Museum at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Over and above the art of tableware, the house of Puiforcat intends to continue using its almost two-hundred-year-old expertise to serve a complete “silversmith’s art of living” particularly with respect to the art of taste and of decoration. The champagne beaker, a unique tasting tool created in 1999, and the range of kitchen knives conceived with Pierre Gagnaire in 2011, illustrate this commitment.
Puiforcat came under the wing of the Hermès group in 1993 and, sustained by an exceptional know-how, it works on relaunching its most beautiful heritage pieces as well as devising tomorrow’s classics with the help of present-day designers.