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L’Art de L’Or | Piaget on its Art Dubai 2019 exhibition with French Maitre d’Art Pierre Bonnefille

Returning to Art Dubai for its fourth year, Piaget presents ‘L’Art de L’Or’ (‘The Art of Gold’): an exhibition dedicated to the work of gold, the ultimate expression of the Maison’s craftsmanship. The curated selection of high jewellery and watches will be complemented by an installation by French Maître d’Art Pierre Bonnefille.

CEO of Piaget, Chabi Nouri shared with Art Dubai the plans and talked to commissioned artist Pierre Bonnefille on his creative process and vision for the installation:


Why did you decide to focus on the art of gold for this year’s Art Dubai?

Chabi Nouri: In the 1950s, the Maison decided to use gold in all our jewellery and watches. Gold offers the glow and radiance of the sun and it is at the heart of the creations of Piaget. It has long been the source of dreams and desires as it is a precious and luxurious metal. For that reason, we decided to celebrate gold for this year’s participation of Art Dubai.

Chabi Nouri, 2019, CEO of Piaget

How do you strike a balance the jewellery presentation and the artistic presentation?

If you think about it, both are artistic presentations. Jewellery making is an art form in itself. Therefore, there is no better way to describe the journey of creating art by creating a space that complements both.

Do you hope for the viewer to be immersed in the art of craftsmanship of Piaget?

The aim is for the presentation to be more than a simple showcase of our high jewellery and watches collections. We want the experience to be immersive and emotional. We hope that visitors can get a sense of this precious material and the craftsmanship that goes along. We also would like to highlight our collaboration with Pierre Bonnefille, a fantastic artist from France, who visited our ateliers and then created a series of artworks based on gold savoir-faire.

How, ultimately, do you want the viewer to feel upon leaving the Piaget booth at Art Dubai?

Inspired, enlightened, dazzled and wowed. We want everyone who visits us to enjoy the experience as well as understand the main tenets upon which we built our Maison: gold craftsmanship, shared joy and playfulness.

Art of Gold, 2019, Piaget, Credit: Etiennedelacretaz

Pierre Bonnefille is an artist who concentrates on materiality and texture. Here, he gives an insight into his practice and what viewers can expect:


Your artistic process is about the material. What is it that fascinates you about material? 

Pierre Bonnefille: What fascinates me about material is the transformations it can undergo. When transformed, the qualities of the material are revealed as is the light within it. The textures of the material vibrate when in contact with light and this is something that has intrigued me for my whole life.

Also, my practice is about bringing colours to life. I have always collected pigments and materials carefully, so that I can create depth. I use techniques such as superimposing, sanding, polishing, scratching and waxing to sculpt each layer to build a micro-relief of colour and texture.


What specific material or fusion of material have you used for this commission?

For this commission I explored mineral and metallic materials in different states. I worked with metal in powder and leaf form that are engraved by zones, in dense or ultra-thin layers. The aim is to create reliefs like those on the bracelets of Piaget watches, but on a monumental scale.

Pierre Bonnefille, 2019, Artist

Can you explain your creative process for this piece and how it specifically responds to the gold theme of this year’s Piaget booth?

My creative process for the Piaget salon is inspired by the concept of ‘L’Art de L’Or’. Within this theme, I looked at solid gold engraving and the revelations of working in a hollow space. From this, I created enlargements of details that I have seen on a small scale on the links of Piaget watches. It is the same process for my three works on show at Art Dubai: Le Sun Piaget, Les Colonnes de Watches and Le Golden Mirage.


Were you inspired by the history and craft of this legendary jewellery house?

I was very impressed and inspired when I visited the Piaget workshops. I had a chance to see the production of solid gold engraving and the creation of solid gold parts made both mechanically and manually. I also had the opportunity to see a jeweller engrave recessed motifs inside a bracelet and I found it absolutely incredible how he was able to create such a beautiful relief on such a fine and delicate piece. I was particularly inspired by the gold chips from the turning process: where the raw gold material rotates and leaves behind a residue of gold flakes.


Your recent work has been about giving your viewers a meditative experience, do you hope that this piece will have a similar effect? 

No, these creations have a completely opposite destiny to my previous work, Meditation Room. The Meditation Room is an immersive installation which proposes a sensorial space conducive to meditation with walls consisting of bronze paintings.

With the works for Piaget, it’s the opposite. Through the work I express the power and radiance of the materiality of gold in a transformed state. The idea is more to amaze than to encourage a meditative state. The aim is to bring out a sort of direct emotion in reaction to the power and emotion of the sun, its radiance and density.

Gold Manchette, 2019, Art of gold, Piaget

What does it mean to you personally to be participating in Art Dubai?

Piaget’s invitation to collaborate for Art Dubai was an opportunity to enter into a conversation about the spirit of the name of Piaget and to capture this unique and sublime character through monumental creations. It is also the chance to take a look at the emotion involved in the creation of jewellery, something that was clear during my immersion in the world of Piaget and especially in the workshops with the discovery of their incredible process of gold transformation.

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