In Sèvres, the secrets of an exceptional craft

The end of the year is always a great opportunity to honor gastronomy and table arts. Today we take you to discover an extraordinary place where, for nearly 300 years, an exceptional craft has been brought to life, first for royal tables and then for those of the world's great and good, a place that today is a unique, living laboratory and an important player in the artistic, design and decorative arts scene.

A Royal Manufacture

The Manufacture de Sèvres was born in 1740 in ...Vincennes. The Manufacture de Vincennes is founded in the enclosure of château thanks to the support of Louis XV and his favorite Madame de Pompadour, in order to compete with the productions of the Germanic manufactures, in particular that of Meissen.

Initially dedicated to the production of soft porcelain, the Manufacture de Vincennes quickly earned a reputation for excellence in France and gradually in all the courts of Europe, where its porcelain flowers, its cookie sculptures and its inimitable colors such as the celestial blue created especially for the king's service were highly prized.

From the 1750s, the premises in Vincennes became too small. In 1756, the Manufacture was transferred to Sèvres in a building built on the initiative of Madame de Pompadour, near her château de Bellevue. The Manufacture de Sèvres was attached to the crown in 1759 and became the Royal Manufacture.

In 1768, two researchers from the Manufacture discovered the first French deposit of kaolin near Limoges, an essential element for the manufacture of real porcelain, known as hard porcelain. It was marketed in 1770. In the wake of this, around 1778, the famous Sèvres blue was developed, a special, deep blue which, when combined with 24-carat gold, became a true signature of the Sèvres Manufactory.
From 1800 to 1847, the Manufacture took off and acquired its international reputation under the direction of Alexandre Brongniart, a mineralogist and geologist, son of the architect of the Paris Stock Exchange.

In 1876, the Manufacture was moved to buildings specially constructed by the French government on a four-hectare site on the edge of the Saint-Cloud park, and it is still in these venues, classified as a historical monument, that production continues. It was also at this time that the six historic furnaces were built, two of which are still in operation in the workshops.

A unique place for dialogue between heritage and creation

The Manufacture de Sèvres today

Since the 18th century, the greatest artists, from François Boucher to Rodin, via Jean Arp, Alechinsky, Ettore Sottsass, Louise Bourgeois or Giuseppe Penone, have succeeded one another in creating new forms and decorations. Today, with one hundred and twenty ceramists working there and mastering some thirty different trades, the Manufacture is a major player in the artistic, design and decorative arts scene. Each year, several thousand pieces are produced and marketed in its galleries in Sèvres and Paris and in art fairs. The rest are awarded to major government bodies, including the Élysée Palace and the Matignon Hotel.
The Manufacture's site includes 25 workshops: the material transformation workshops where the different types of porcelain paste are made, the shaping workshops where the objects take shape and finally the decoration workshops where enameling, gilding or the application of colored backgrounds among which the most famous is the Sèvres blue.

The National Museum of Ceramics

The museum was created in 1824 on the initiative of Alexandre Brogniart. Wishing to give this establishment a technical, scientific and educational vocation, this brilliant scientist brought together the most varied examples of ceramic creation, throughout the ages and the world, in order to inspire the craftsmen and artists of the Manufacture as well as to satisfy researchers, industrialists and scientists.

In 1876, when the Manufacture moved, the museum was installed in a vast building with the appearance of a classical palace, specially built on the new site.

Today, the National Ceramics Museum houses a reference collection of almost 50,000 works, combining masterpieces from all eras and countries with contemporary works and creations from the Manufacture.

Atypical reception areas

Organizing an event at Sèvres means offering your guests an amazing industrial setting but also the privilege of discovering the know-how that has perpetuated excellence for almost 300 years! Meetings with the Manufacture's craftsmen and discovery workshops during which your guests can try their hand at porcelain painting or the historic pastillage technique are memorable additions to any event on this exceptional site.

The mussels' canopy
This perfectly preserved glass room is typical of 19th century industrial architecture. It houses a stock of historical molds used for the production of Sèvres porcelain pieces. Located in the heart of the Manufacture, it offers a unique atmosphere with its zenithal lighting and its raw and industrial aspect. Ideal for cocktail parties, sit-down dinners, concerts and dance parties, the glass roof can accommodate 300 people standing or 250 seated.

The kiln gallery
In the heart of the production building, two majestic galleries distribute the various porcelain manufacturing and decoration workshops in a remakable perspective. They are surrounded by the magnificent wood-fired kilns of the Manufacture, still living witnesses of porcelain firing since 1876. They can accommodate seated dinners and cocktail parties for 250 people standing or 150 people seated.

Within the museum, the Eiffel and Marmottan rooms
On the third floor of the museum, above the magnificent collections of ceramics and glass from all over the world, the Eiffel and Marmottan rooms allow, outside of the temporary exhibition periods, the organization of various events, dinners, cocktails or conferences in an entirely modular space.

The Pompadour Pavilion and its gardens
It is a charming 19th century Private Mansion , originally built to house the director of the Manufacture. Cocktails, lunches, dinners, team building, seminars can be organized in its rooms and its park, for 100 people standing or 60 people seated.

The Orangery of the Manufacture
A little set back from the site, on the edge of the Domaine national de Saint-Cloud, the Orangerie de la Manufacture welcomes you for all types of professional events. This magnificent Baltard-inspired structure offers a bright and original setting and can accommodate up to 700 people.

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