Nouvel Studio Factory Tour

written by:
November 23, 2010

If you've been following my tweets, you'll know that I've been in Mexico City for the last several days taking the lay of the design landscape. It's fertile down here, let me tell you. Though I'll offer a few more thorough posts later this week, I did want to get a slideshow up on the site showing what I saw at the Nouvel Studio glass factory. It's actually just outside of Mexico City, though considering how unrelentingly urban this sprawling 585 square mile city is, you'd never know you left town. Have a look at my Nouvel Studio factory tour to see how this glassmaker has a hand in everything from high-design one-offs to your favorite bottle of mass-market tequila.

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  Our first stop in the tour was the conference room, which hosted loads of shelves filled with wonderfully colorful drinking glasses. They were  marvelous to see and one of Nouvel Studio's strong focuses is on vibrant colors.
    Our first stop in the tour was the conference room, which hosted loads of shelves filled with wonderfully colorful drinking glasses. They were marvelous to see and one of Nouvel Studio's strong focuses is on vibrant colors.
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  Though you might also recognize a tequila bottle or two from the scads that Nouvel Studio has done for various producers.
    Though you might also recognize a tequila bottle or two from the scads that Nouvel Studio has done for various producers.
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  Once we'd had our introductions we suited up in safety glasses for a glimpse of the factory. Fetching, no?
    Once we'd had our introductions we suited up in safety glasses for a glimpse of the factory. Fetching, no?
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  Nouvel Studio has been around for 15 years. In addtion to their own line of products they do packaging for liquor companies and perfumes as well.
    Nouvel Studio has been around for 15 years. In addtion to their own line of products they do packaging for liquor companies and perfumes as well.
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  It was quite hot in the factory, and very very noisy. Workmen and all manner of machines were at a fever pitch getting Nouvel Studio's products just right.
    It was quite hot in the factory, and very very noisy. Workmen and all manner of machines were at a fever pitch getting Nouvel Studio's products just right.
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  Here one of the glass artisans takes a blown piece of glass and shapes it and works it using a pedal-operated torch. He rolled the piece on the wooden bench to get it into the right shape.
    Here one of the glass artisans takes a blown piece of glass and shapes it and works it using a pedal-operated torch. He rolled the piece on the wooden bench to get it into the right shape.
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  I couldn't tell you what this machine was for--we weren't let in to see it but from a distance--but like much of the factory it was quite impressive.
    I couldn't tell you what this machine was for--we weren't let in to see it but from a distance--but like much of the factory it was quite impressive.
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  In keeping with that commitment to color, our tour guide Michael Kramer showed us these rods of pure colored glass that the artisans use to give various hues to their work.
    In keeping with that commitment to color, our tour guide Michael Kramer showed us these rods of pure colored glass that the artisans use to give various hues to their work.
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  The factory was full of all manner of objects in all stages of production. I loved these massive bulbs, though I don't know what precisely they were for.
    The factory was full of all manner of objects in all stages of production. I loved these massive bulbs, though I don't know what precisely they were for.
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  Here's a big box of Patron tequila bottles ready for the next phase of their lives.
    Here's a big box of Patron tequila bottles ready for the next phase of their lives.
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  Here's another view of a single Patron bottle. I don't drink much tequila (though that's changed in the last days) but I was able to spot this bottle right away. It's funny how certain forms, which on the face of them aren't that immediately iconic, are recognizable still.
    Here's another view of a single Patron bottle. I don't drink much tequila (though that's changed in the last days) but I was able to spot this bottle right away. It's funny how certain forms, which on the face of them aren't that immediately iconic, are recognizable still.
  • 
  Later in the process the workers clean and wet the bottles once they're in the shape they need to be. This man was working with what looked like a spar of wood over two big buckets.
    Later in the process the workers clean and wet the bottles once they're in the shape they need to be. This man was working with what looked like a spar of wood over two big buckets.
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  Utterly by chance we ran into Jeremy Pyles of Niche Modern, a lamp company based out of Beacon, New York. Pyles was down to work on a bit of development on new products for Niche. These are some of their results.
    Utterly by chance we ran into Jeremy Pyles of Niche Modern, a lamp company based out of Beacon, New York. Pyles was down to work on a bit of development on new products for Niche. These are some of their results.
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  Here's a closer look at what we might be seeing from Niche soon. Pyles told me, "Studio Nouvel is a design paradise. What we can design and prototype here in Mexico City is so much more than we can back in New York. If my team could see this place they'd fall in love."
    Here's a closer look at what we might be seeing from Niche soon. Pyles told me, "Studio Nouvel is a design paradise. What we can design and prototype here in Mexico City is so much more than we can back in New York. If my team could see this place they'd fall in love."
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  Back outside I could not resist taking a photo of this recycling bin. All the glass that must find its way in here.
    Back outside I could not resist taking a photo of this recycling bin. All the glass that must find its way in here.
  • 
  Michael Kramer is Swiss and has been a partner at Studio Nouvel for ten years. "There's a really good vibe in Mexico City," he said. "High design and high craft are starting to be accepted more. There's a big change I've felt here. I love it."
    Michael Kramer is Swiss and has been a partner at Studio Nouvel for ten years. "There's a really good vibe in Mexico City," he said. "High design and high craft are starting to be accepted more. There's a big change I've felt here. I love it."
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  The Populonia vase is a lovely piece from Nouvel's High Design line. Though you can get them in clear, colored glass, I prefer the opaque.
    The Populonia vase is a lovely piece from Nouvel's High Design line. Though you can get them in clear, colored glass, I prefer the opaque.

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