Régis Mathieu, the owner of Ateliers Mathieu
“Everything changes all the time, here.” So says Régis Mathieu, the owner of this long-running family business, whose contagious creative energy can’t help but rub off on his visitors. It’s true that every time you come here, you’ll see new spaces have appeared, the museum collections are laid out differently, or historic lighting masterpieces are on display for the first time.
It’s also a great opportunity to visit – for free! – the museum that houses Régis Mathieu’s private chandelier collections, dispersed throughout the various rooms and all beautifully presented.
The Kremlin chandelier
For now, the lamps that were already comfortably settled in this Provence showroom have been moved aside to make way for a high-ranking guest, a new peer hailing from the frozen North. The team has taken on a monumental challenge: to produce six copies – and in record time – of the famous chandelier that hangs in Saint George Hall in the Kremlin, Moscow. Measuring 7.3 metres, this masterpiece of Russian artisanry was created in 1860 to showcase the power of the Tsars.
The chandelier is on display in this former ochre factory until November, its two-and-a-half tons of openworked gilt bronze looking surprisingly light and balanced as it hangs suspended. About thirty artisans are already working on the piece, which will be completed in four months – even though it took more than 300 craftsmen to create the original!
You can watch the exquisite artistry of the craftspeople at work through the massive window that separates the workshops from the museum space.
Finally, head for the light-filled tea room, wedge yourself in between an artwork and a beautiful book, and let the inspirational beauty of the handicraft, the objects, and the place wash over you.
Private or group tour upon request.