The annual award goes to a graduate of the ECAL’s “Master of Advanced Studies in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship” program in recognition for their art, work and passion. The “De Bethune Award” comprises a cash prize and mentoring to support the recipient’s journey.
The award was presented for the first time on 28 June 2019 in Lausanne.
De Bethune ultimately selected the work presented by Clara Martin and for which Denis Flageollet, Founder and Master Watchmaker of De Bethune, devised the title (based on a quote from Pierre Soulages): “The Authority of Black” – according to Clara.
This prompted Denis Flageollet to wonder: “Have I gone as far as I can go into my research in black reflects?”
According to the French painter Pierre Soulages, “Black is the most vehement means of creating light.” Clara's objective is to make this quotation tangible through three entirely black objects, each one made of a different material (leather, marble and lacquer). Each piece is dedicated to drawing out light with its surface finish, which was achieved by respective specialists in the fields of fashion, stone cutting and metalworking.
Switzerland is a privileged country in terms of craftsmanship, sensibility and know-how in the fields of art, design and luxury. Addressing sectors of excellence as varied as fine watchmaking, tableware and exploring the uses of noble materials through specific techniques is made possible thanks to the Master of Advanced Studies in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship of the ECAL/Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne (Lausanne School of Art and Design), which encourages experimentation at all stages of a product's development, from design to manufacture.
True to this spirit, and in keeping with the tradition art mechanics for which the Swiss Jura is known and of which he is a fervent advocate, Denis Flageollet, Founder and Master Watchmaker of De Bethune, has initiated a dialogue with ECAL Director Alexis Georgacopoulos, to find a way of encouraging a graduate in his or her research as it passes the milestone of the Master’s Degree.
Among the impressive entries submitted for this first year by the students enrolled in the ECAL’s “Master of Advanced Studies in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship,” the work of 22-year-old Clara Martin clearly stood out. During the year leading up to her graduation in 2019, she worked on Black as a theme, quoting Pierre Soulages in her presentation:
“I love the authority of Black, its gravity, its obviousness, its radicality, its mighty power of contrasts that gives an intense presence to all colors, and how, when it illuminates the darkest, it confers upon them a dark splendor.”
Thoughts that resonates directly with Denis Flageollet's research in watchmaking. Even though he had already been working for a long time on the reflections of this color in watchmaking, Clara’s presentation prompted him to wonder: “Have I gone as far as I can go into my research in black reflects?”
It has to be said that Denis Flageollet – in his research work on natural colors – has long sought to truly grasp and render black, by modulating its different finishes, with black bringing out the materials in ways that are often incredible and unprecedented.
The DB28 Tourbillon Noir, the tests with black dials and blue exteriors, the black DB27, the work on the black bronze of the Maestri'Art which transcends the color of gold, the black Dream Watch 5 with different textures and materials... De Bethune's years-long research on the subject is dense.
De Bethune looks forward to finding answers to this quest together with Clara, and is pleased to present her with a grant of CHF 8,000 in support of her work and her journey.