Living Heritage Companies in tune with the time | Hermès
Living Heritage Companies in tune with the time
They master crystal and silver, discipline leather, enhance fabrics, and print on ceramics. A dozen Hermès companies are certified Entreprises du Patrimoine Vivant (EPVs, or living heritage companies). This label is reserved for exceptional techniques, outstanding patents and archives, and long-established geographical roots. It is above all a breeding ground for innovation.
In the Hermès family of Living Heritage Companies, the Cristallerie Saint-Louis wins the title of oldest member hands down. Its story of sand and fire has unfolded there for aeons, since the Müntzthal Glassworks was founded in 1586. Given the title of “royal” and renamed by Louis XV in honour of his illustrious ancestor, it prides itself on having been the first in Europe to discover the secret of crystal, in 1871 to be precise.
Ever since, its master glassmakers have never ceased to blow, engrave and cut tableware, decorative objects and lighting. Its EPV certification, initially obtained in 2011 and renewed in 2016, pays tribute to the 200 artisans who work there today. In collaboration with contemporary designers, they innovate and reinterpret the house’s emblematic skills, such as coloured crystal and the paperweight technique that the Cristallerie Saint-Louis is now alone in mastering.
Montbron, from Charentaise slippers to Hermès bags
Montbron, in its picture postcard landscape, was sliding into oblivion. The opening of the Hermès leather workshop created over 250 jobs that contributed to the regeneration of this town in the Charentes area of southwestern France.
Silk with a generous quality
A Hermès carré is more than just a scarf, particularly when it is socially responsible. Limited editions are regularly produced in support of actions by local non-profit organisations. The square takes sides when it comes to women’s and children’s rights, preserving the environment, protecting endangered species, and supporting art.
Saint-Junien, fitting like a glove
Competition and changes in consumption patterns have caused a number of setbacks for the French glove-making industry, born in the Middle Ages in the heart of livestock-rearing regions. Almost a century old, the Ganterie de Saint-Junien, situated on the banks of the River Vienne, is the oldest glove factory in France. Acquired by Hermès in 1998, it has been given a new lease of life.