La Révérencieuse is a Parisian brand that strives to turn champagne or caviar tastings into unique moments. Sébastien Woirin, its founder, has imagined a sphere dedicated to wines, spirits, and the noblest of products. A true work of art, this sphere offers a protocol for shared moments, to continue the tradition of tasting and highlight rare delicacies. Those cases, all unique pieces, are entirely made in Paris by the greatest Parisian craftsmen. As we absolutely love when creativity devotes itself to the exceptional, we wanted to offer you, in this holiday season, this sumptuous Parisian backdrop.
Maison Sensey : How did it begin?
Sébastien Woirin : It all started one day, as I was watching a movie, more precisely the American TV show “Shameless” where a waitress dropped her serving tray. I don’t know why it hit me then, but I thought that we should find a solution to improve this object. I therefore imagined a new serving tray. And as I kept drawing, I ended up with a sphere. Simply to protect the glasses, to be able to close the sphere and move around so that they could not fall.
At first, I wanted to make a serving tray, and I ended up designing a sphere that competes with wine coolers and highlights the delicacies it encloses. The story unfolded through opportunities and over the course of my thoughts. In the beginning, I did not design it for champagne but rather for everything linked to bar or restaurant service.
At the same time, I started thinking about the material and the production mode. When you start from scratch, you must think about everything. So that was the real start. It was an easy decision to make. We could either produce in a far-away country with some plastic or Plexiglas material to produce large volumes, which would have meant a rather cheap product with more of a financial purpose. Or we could make an exceptional case, handcrafted in Paris by artisans. That’s what I chose. It all started in December 2012.
How did you choose the materials and the manufacturing method?
At first, I did not imagine that the sphere would be made of brass, silver or bronze. I offer small series that are handcrafted in Paris. Why Paris? Because I am a Parisian, I live in Paris, I am passionate about Paris and all the craftsmen I work with are around me, so proximity plays a role. I love offering a local savoir-faire to create true interaction with clients who are not from Paris.
We need to highlight craftsmen because they are part of history and transmission. Contrary to preconceived ideas, there are many young craftsmen in workshops. I want to have a meaningful production process. The main idea is to highlight craftsmen, Paris and champagne which is loved worldwide.
La Révérencieuse can also be used for other delicacies such as caviar, which is completely different. The sphere does not include any technology, it is made of metal, with air flowing between the metallic parts. Ice cubes keep champagne or caviar cool for two hours. There is no thermal shock because the bottle does not touch the ice cubes and the glasses are not kept at room temperature. It is a logical object, full of common sense. Some wine coolers are very beautiful but functionally, they just don’t work.
Which artisans do you work with?
The first one I looked for was a metal spinner, because they’re the ones who will manufacture the hemispheres. There are very few of them in Paris. The trick is that we’re not looking for a perfect hemisphere, so I needed a very specific set of knowledge and skills. Then, I looked for a turner to make the stand and hoop, then a mechanical workshop to make the pivots. The pivot is a critical part because it will hold all the other parts together.
One day, I met a bronzesmith who loved the project. He first thought it was a bit of a crazy idea, but he followed me, and he already knew the craftsmen I work with. He was of great help regarding feasibility and carvings, too, as we’ve got a thickness constraint, there isn’t much material. There are many details we had to pay attention to. Our first prototype was made by an artist, not by craftsmen. It did not work but we had found the DNA of the product we wanted to create.
You do not originally come from the world of arts and crafts. Were you easily accepted by the artisans?
Yes, the artisans accepted me straight away. I already knew the human side of their world. In my previous job, I sold artistic locks and I visited the workshops very often. It’s actually what I loved most; the smell of metal, talking with the artisans… They are passionate, authentic people. With them, everything is simple.
They were the first ones to support me with this project. Because aesthetically, they like the product, especially with such high level of requirements for production, and they are convinced that there is a market for it. In the end, it became a team effort.
Could the sphere be produced with other materials?
Yes, absolutely. For now, we’re only working metal. The only metal that could cause problems is solid gold. It can only be worked in 18 carats because it is a very malleable material. The champagne set weighs 18 kg, so the sphere must not be deformed by its weight. The slightest bump could be disastrous.
But I’m currently working on another material: carbon. It is very often used in ships and it has interesting features, such as sturdiness and weight. With dazzling mirror-polished brass, we can get a glazing, satin-smooth finish that has a smoother feel. After two hours, the bottom sphere condensates, so we’ve got to keep this in mind. Depending on the material, we won’t get the same finish.
What is the first impression of your clients when they discover the sphere for the first time ?
At first, they are attracted by the sphere. But it is mostly about how they react when we open it! They are taken aback because they have no clue about the champagne set inside. The first ones who understood the idea behind our product were sommeliers and butlers. And it makes me very happy because these people devote themselves heart and soul to service. People who like to serve are often generous people because they care to offer perfect service to make people happy.
But I have other projects in mind! One of them is in the world of shoes, it is a polishing carousel. I picture it with a made-to-measure bronze bench and a carousel containing all the different cloths and shoe polishes. There’s also a very large lancet-shaped cabinet with three openings: in the middle, a whisky cellar, on the left a cigar cellar, and on the right, the world of games with silver chips, hand-drawn card games… It will be made of bronze and hammered with wood. It is a significant and beautiful project!
Where does the name “Révérencieuse” come from?
It means “reverential” in French. It is a very feminine name, barely ever used, I love the word “révérence” which means both “a bow” and “deference”. “Reverential” conveys the notion of respect for work, social status, time, and it recalls the bow. When one opens the sphere, there is a similar gesture as one is forced to bend over to open it.